We all know by now the damage tobacco causes to our lung, heart and brain function but does smoking cause hair loss? Stress, age and genetics are factors for male pattern baldness but are your regular cigarette breaks causing premature hair loss?
Damage and Health Risks
Smoking cigarettes causes significant side effects to a person’s body and the chemicals found in tobacco (nicotine and carbon monoxide in particular), restrict blood flow and circulation to, of all places, our hair follicles.
Who would have thought?
You see, when the liver and/or lungs are in jeopardy, our super smart bodies prioritise them by sending oxygen and vital nutrients to those organ first. Often as a result, our hair and skin lack the vitamins and minerals which are necessary for healthy hair growth. As well as that, when we smoke our hair becomes brittle, dry and often holds the nasty smell of cigarettes. And on top of all this, there is more bad news, inhaling nicotine can also lead to premature greying.
Smoking and Hair Loss in Males
Although there isn’t a huge amount of medical evidence that suggests smoking is the sole cause of hair loss, studies do show that the amount you smoke may impact how severe your hair loss is.
A study was conducted in Taiwan by The Department of Dermatology on 740 men between the ages of 40-91. All the men smoked and all had some level of hair loss. The results showed some correlation between the severity of their hair loss and the number of cigarettes smoked. Dr. Su noted there was “significant positive associations between moderate or severe Androgenic Alopecia and smoking status, current smoking 20 cigarettes or more per day and smoking status.”[i][i]
For healthy hair growth, our skin needs collagen, Vitamin A and Vitamin C and when we smoke our body is deprived of these nutrients. The damage smoking causes cannot be reversed however giving up the bad habit will improve your overall health and the wellness of your hair. Once nicotine leaves our body our heart rates reduces back to normal, our body circulates blood to our hair follicles better and the oil imbalance in our hair improves.
Another thing to consider is your level of stress, even though this is inevitable in this day and age often people who smoke cigarettes use smoking as a stress relief. Both smoking and stress have a damaging effect on hormones and hair cycles and if you are concerned about your hair loss and wellbeing speak to your local GP for solutions.
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