Should You Be Worried about Smoking Causing Hair Loss?

While many people are concerned about hair loss, has anyone considered the potential cause? Is smoking the secret cause of those receding hairlines and thinning of hair? Examining the scientific data and mechanisms that link smoking with hair loss, this article explores the intricate relationship between the two. 

1. Correlation between Smoking and Hair Loss

1.1 What do Studies Say?

In 2020, a study found a significant connection between early-onset androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male or female-pattern baldness, and hair loss affecting both men and women. Of the 500 smokers involved in the study, 425 exhibited various levels of hair loss, as per the research. In contrast, among the 500 nonsmokers in the study, only 200 experienced hair loss.

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
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In addition, compared to the non-smokers, smokers in the study had hair loss at a high severity rate:47% of smokers had grade 3 hair loss (a deep recession along the hairline) or grade 4 hair loss (hairline recession with vertex balding), compared to 10% of non-smokers.

1.2 How Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Find out how smoking can affect your hair here!

1. Blood Flow Problems for Hair Follicles

Vital blood arteries beneath the scalp’s surface supply nutrients and oxygen to promote hair growth and eliminate waste. Toxins from smoking can damage these vessels, impairing their functionality and damaging their structure. 

These pollutants eventually lead to atherosclerosis, which narrows the arteries by accumulating plaque. This damage highlights the negative effects of smoking on hair health by obstructing the vital flow of nutrients and oxygen needed to form healthy follicles.

2. Smoking Tobacco Could Impact the Immune System

Although the link between tobacco smoke and several diseases is well established, the effect it has on the immune system is less well understood. In addition to lowering immunity and causing inflammation, cigarette smoke also releases chemokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines. This negatively impacts important immunological components like T-cells, T-helper cells, and B-cells. Notably, smoking is associated not just with androgenetic alopecia but also with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

3. Oxidative Stress Can Result From Smoking

The possibility of oxidative stress in the hair is one factor that adds to smoking’s negative public image. When there’s an imbalance between unstable atoms known as free radicals, which can damage cells- and your body’s defence system of antioxidants, it leads to oxidative stress.

Stressed person
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Lipid peroxidation is a potentially dangerous side effect of smoking-induced oxidative stress because lipids are the fundamental constituents of all living cells, including hair cells. Hair cells may perish due to lipid peroxidation, which happens when free radicals assault lipids.

4. Endocrine Disorders Associated With Smoking

The endocrine system, a sophisticated network of glands regulating body functions, can face disruptions from external factors such as tobacco smoke. 

Grave’s hyperthyroidism, a condition affecting the thyroid gland within the endocrine system, involves the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Smoking cigarettes may trigger this illness. Hair loss may result from this illness. Diabetes, a known cause of hair loss, and other endocrine disorders are also associated with smoking.

5. Smoking Raises the Level of Cortisol Hormone

Your body creates the hormone cortisol to assist you in dealing with the stress of managing work deadlines, everyday traffic, or just those days when everything seems too much to handle. This hormone helps manage stressors but is also necessary for hair follicle function and regulation. 

If you smoke often, nicotine may eventually raise your cortisol levels. The accumulation in question could potentially break down Hyaluronan and Proteoglycan, two substances for the growth of hair follicles. This may result in androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium, two types of stress-related hair loss.

1.3 Treat Smoking-Related Hair Loss Problems

Smoking has the potential to trigger significant hair loss conditions like androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. The following can be utilized to manage its effects:

1. Minoxidil

Minoxidil, available in either liquid or foam form, is a topical remedy for treating hair loss. It increases blood circulation to promote hair growth by acting as a vasodilator, which widens blood vessels when administered. 

Minoxidil stimulates hair to move from its resting phase into the growing phase early and prevents premature shedding. Plus, it prolongs the growth phase, which helps the longer-term development of thicker and more plentiful hair.

Hair care
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2. Finasteride

This medication stimulates hair growth by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). The hormone DHT causes hair follicles to undergo miniaturization, which is known to cause hair loss. This could ultimately stop them from developing. The oral medication finasteride is authorized for use. Consistent use is necessary to observe hair growth results.

3. Corticosteroids

You will recall that tobacco smoke causes pro-inflammatory reactions that can lead to hair loss. The steroid hormones known as corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory qualities. Strong corticosteroids may even promote hair development, and they may aid in hair loss. It is possible to apply corticosteroids topically areata; oral corticosteroids are also an option and just as successful. 

2. Impact on Health 

A man smoking
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There is more than simple anecdotal evidence linking smoking to hair loss. Smoking may damage blood arteries essential for providing hair follicle oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, it might disrupt the immune system, leading to some forms of hair loss. This is just another strong argument for people who are worried about their general health and the health of their hair to think about giving up smoking.

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by