Low HDL Cholesterol

A new association with hair loss

Are low levels of "good" cholesterol "bad" for the hair ?

We've long known that men and women with genetic hair loss (male balding and female thinning) have an increased risk of having:

  • high cholesterol levels,
  • high blood pressure,
  • obesity and
  • insulin resistance.

Not everyone who has hair thinning has these features, however the overall risk to develop these features is greater.

A new study researched cholesterol levels in a population of 323 middle aged women. It found that women with low HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) were more likely to have hair loss than women with normal HDL levels.


Low HDL levels are associated with hair loss in women. We don't yet know if efforts to increase HDL levels will benefit hair but there certainly are many well know ways to do that, including food based means.

Noordman et al. Both low circulating insulin-like growth factor and high-density lipoprotein are associated with hair loss in middle-aged women. Br J Dermatol 2016

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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