Smoking & Hair Loss: Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
The negative impacts of smoking on one’s health are countless. Some impacts we often hear of, and some are surprisingly yet to be discussed further. Observational studies on smoking’s effect on hair loss gained more attention in early 2000. Therefore, given the psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia, and the loss of hair in both men and women, raising public knowledge of the link between smoking and hair loss provides a great learning opportunity for health education200. This is what we intend to do in this article
What do Researchers Tell us?
Salem et al. (2021)201 found that the prevalence of androgenic alopecia was significantly higher among smokers than among nonsmokers, although the severity of androgenic alopecia was unrelated to smoking intensity.
Babadjouni et al. (2021)202 explain that smoking influences the follicular development cycle and fiber color, as well as being a preventable cause of serious systemic disease. Nicotine accumulates in hair follicles and the hair shaft as a result of exposure to cigarette smoke in the environment.
Kavadya and Mysore (2022)203 list the potential impacts of smoking on hair loss. They conclude that smoking can cause hair loss by:
- Vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels, resulting in a rise in blood pressure)
- DNA adduct formation, leading to damage in DNA and regression in hair follicle
- Senescence (loss of a cell's ability to divide and grow)
- And hormonal impacts (Because smoking can raise androgen levels, the probability of androgenic alopecia can be linked to higher testosterone levels)
They concluded that there is a significant link between smoking and androgenic alopecia, according to the current data.
How does smoking cause hair loss?
Tobacco use can harm hair follicles and lead to hair loss. Some of the most evident ways that smoking causes hair loss are through:
- Oxidative stress: Cells in hair follicles are vulnerable to oxidative stress204.
- Blood Flow: Plaque builds up in your blood vessels as a result of smoking205. Hair loss can be caused by the poor blood supply to the scalp.
- According to a study from 2013, there is a link between the start of gray hair before the age of 30 and smoking cigarettes206.
What Do All These Pieces of Evidence Imply?
To sum up, the evidence reveals that smoking may negatively impact your hair growth and lead to hair loss by worsening the hair follicle’s condition207. Thus, smoking
- Reduces the blood flow to the follicles of your hair
- Causes damage to your DNA
- And makes your hair more brittle and drier.
Is smoking-caused hair loss reversible?
When you stop smoking, you can reverse some of the damage that smoking has done to your body. However, it remains unclear whether hair loss induced by smoking can be reversed208.
In conclusion, chemicals can flow from your lungs into your bloodstream when you inhale cigarette smoke. These molecules travel via your bloodstream to other parts of your body, where they can have a harmful impact on a variety of elements of your health. Smoking is thought to promote hair loss by lowering blood flow to the scalp and damaging the DNA of your hair follicles, among other things. Quitting smoking can help you regain a small quantity of hair and improve your health in a variety of other ways209.
Also, checkout the 8 side effects of smoking on your body, here.
- 200 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12673073
- 201 Salem, A. S., Ibrahim, H. S., Abdelaziz, H. H., & Elsaie, M. L. (2021). Implications of cigarette smoking on early‐onset androgenetic alopecia: A cross‐sectional Study. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(4), 1318-1324.
- 202 Babadjouni, A., Foulad, D. P., Hedayati, B., Evron, E., & Mesinkovska, N. (2021). The Effects of Smoking on Hair Health: A Systematic Review. Skin Appendage Disorders, 7(4), 251-264.
- 203 Kavadya, Y., & Mysore, V. (2022). Role of smoking in androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review. International Journal of Trichology, 14(2), 41.
- 204 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6369642
- 205 https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/health-effects-tobacco-use/how-smoking-affects-heart-health
- 206 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673399
- 207 https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/tips
- 208 https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/does-smoking-cause-hair-loss#is-hair-loss-from-smoking-reversible
- 209 https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/does-smoking-cause-hair-loss#summary