Smoking is associated with multiple life-threatening conditions, like cardiovascular issues, lung cancer, oral cancer, yellowing nails, teeth, etc. But there are also lesser-known side-effects of smoking that some people might be unaware of. One such side effect is hair loss.
Smoking has long been linked to accelerated hair loss. The connection is mainly a result of toxins in the smoke that damage hair follicles and disturbs hormones. Additionally, factors like a family history of baldness can significantly amplify the risk of hair loss for a smoker.
So how does smoking affect hair loss, and what can you do to prevent it? Keep reading to find out.
Smoking and Hair Loss: What’s The Link?
There are possible connections between smoking and an increase in hair fall. Here’s how smoking can trigger hair fall.
- It May Cause DNA Damage:
According to various studies, tobacco contains genotoxic components that can damage the hair follicle’s DNA that can trigger hair loss. However, this area of study requires more research.
- It May Lead to Heavy Metal Toxicity:
Smoking may result in cadmium toxicity and interrupt the hair cycle. It causes telogen effluvium, oxidative stress to the hair, disrupts the hair shaft formation, and thus triggers hair loss.
- It May Aggravate Alopecia:
Although the effect of smoking on alopecia needs further research, a study shows that smoking (status and intensity) is one of the key factors responsible for aggravating androgenic alopecia.
- Damaged Hair Follicles:
Some of the main tobacco elements are nicotine, caffeine, acetone, aluminium, ammonia/ammonia, arsenic, benzene, butane, cadmium, tellurium, carbon monoxide, goroside, and cyanide/cyanide. Amid these ingredients, nicotine and caffeine majorly impact the hair. It is proven that nicotine damages hair follicles. The nicotine consumed during smoking also affects blood circulation, disturbs the hormones, increases the secretion of androgen, and results in hair loss.
- Poor Blood Circulation:
Oxygen, nutrients, and minerals are required to produce healthy hair. The various harmful ingredients present in cigarettes, especially nicotine, shrink the blood vessels and thus causes blood circulation disorders. Therefore, the hair follicles do not get enough nourishment and go into the resting stage and fall out increasingly.
- Increased Head Oil Secretion:
Nicotine in tobacco stimulates the body’s dopamine system, a neurotransmitter that promotes adrenaline secretion in humans, which causes excitement. As the secretion of adrenaline rises, it also increases the secretion of oil in the scalp. This results in the severe blockage of the hair follicle, making the hair follicle unable to breathe. It affects your metabolism and disrupts the environment in which your hair grows, thus causing hair loss.
- Damaged Scalp Environment:
Harmful substances such as smoke and soot produced during smoking are alkaline. However, our scalp s acidic. Smoking regularly leads to your scalp being covered with smoke dust, which can destroy your scalp’s PH level and affect your hair growth.
Smoking has a damaging effect on your body, both internally and externally. Therefore, it could be either directly or indirectly a cause of your hair loss.
Other Factors Triggering Hair Loss
Other factors combined with smoking can also increase hair loss. Some of these factors include:
- Psychological stress
- Hormonal imbalances (like thyroid)
- Nutritional deficiencies
So, smoking, along with certain underlying factors, can trigger hair loss as well. Smoking is hazardous for health, and you must contact a doctor to understand the underlying reasons and seek any assistance for quitting smoking and improving your health.
Can My Hair Grow Back If I Quit Smoking?
The answer depends on various factors that are subjective to your health. If smoking was the reason behind your hair loss, then by quitting to smoke, you can improve your hair and your overall health. By quitting smoking, you would no longer be exposing yourself to toxins released by tobacco which will be very beneficial.
However, if an underlying condition is a reason for your hair loss, quitting smoking would help. You should consult a doctor and get a diagnosis to improve completely.
Common Hair Loss Treatments for Smokers And Ex-Smokers
- Low-Level Laser Therapy:
Low-level laser therapy is a popular non-invasive treatment for stimulating hair growth. But the long-term effect of LLLT is still not clear and needs more empirical banking.
- Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery is a highly sought-after method of achieving a natural appearance amid hair loss. To get this surgery, you need to contact your dermatologist for a detailed analysis of your scalp that would determine if the surgery will have a required effect on your scalp or not.
- Prescription Medications
Your doctor may prescribe you medicines like topical minoxidil and finasteride or a combined dose of both to treat your hair loss. These medications help improve hair growth as they block DHT (a type of androgen) known to trigger hair loss.
Studies majorly show a possible connection between smoking and hair loss. Although some medications and treatments could help you treat hair loss, the damage smoking has on your health internally can only improve if you quit smoking. Just like smoking risk damage to your DNA, cardiovascular risks, and reduced blood flow, your hair follicles are no exception to this damage.