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Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Unveiling the Connection

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Unveiling the Connection

Posted by Superhairpieces on 2023 Jun 9th

‘Hair loss is a sign of aging.’ We're sure you've heard, thought, or said these words before. While growing up, one of the many things that we take for granted is our healthy, luscious hair. Hair thinning, balding in the crown area, bald spots, etc., were issues associated with aging, but the sad truth about hair in today’s age is that it is ‘hair today, gone tomorrow.’

Progressive hair loss is a real issue that significantly impacts today's men and women. Courtesy of our lifestyle choices and environmental stressors, age is no bar when it comes to your tresses waving you goodbye. Hair loss occurs as early as your teens, so don't be surprised when you see younger people losing hair and trying to cover balding scalps.

Smoking is one of the many reasons leading to hair loss at an early age. That smoking is bad for you is no big secret, but if you thought that the adverse health effects of smoking were just restricted to your lungs, it's time to think again.

Are you a smoker who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning?

smoker experiencing hair loss or hair thinning

We know the answer already. It's a definite ‘Yes.’ So it's a no-brainer that smoking and hair loss have a connection. In fact, smoking is a common cause of hair fall. Smoking increases the risk of lung diseases while harming our skin, teeth, and hair. Don’t take our word for it. Several studies prove the correlation and causation between smoking and hair loss.

A National Library of Medicines 2018 survey showed that hair follicle cells in balding scalps are more vulnerable to oxidative damage. If you’re prone to hair fall or already experiencing thinning, regular smoking will worsen your hair loss and speed up the balding process.

A 2020 study examined the difference in the amount of balding between male smokers and non-smokers aged 20 to 35. The study revealed that 85 percent of smokers experienced some form of hair loss, with 47 percent of those having grade 3 hair loss and 24 percent having grade 4. In comparison, only 10 percent of non-smokers had grades 3 or 4 hair loss, according to the Hamilton-Norwood hair loss scale. The researchers determined that nicotine and other chemicals might be causing premature hair loss.

In July 2020, a review of the literature using PubMed/MEDLINE and CINAHL databases identified 32 studies investigating the relationship between smoking, PHG (premature hair graying), and alopecia (androgenetic alopecia and frontal fibrosing alopecia). It found that hair loss and PHG are more prevalent in smokers than nonsmokers.

If these studies have yet to convince you, let's delve deeper into the science of smoking and hair loss, shedding light on the potential mechanisms behind this connection.

Understanding Hair Loss

Understanding Hair Loss

Hair loss can stem from multiple factors, such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and certain medical conditions. Both men and women experience hair loss in the form of male pattern baldness, female pattern hair loss, receding hairlines, and autoimmune hair loss.

Can smoking cause hair loss?

The link between smoking and hair loss can’t be ignored. Nicotine in cigarette smoke has been linked to several types of hair loss in the following ways:

Impaired blood circulation: Hair follicles require a robust blood supply to receive essential nutrients and oxygen for healthy hair growth. But, smoking harms the cardiovascular system, leading to constricted blood vessels and reduced blood flow. It compromises the follicles' health, weakening hair growth and eventually causing hair loss.

Hormonal imbalances: Smoking can disturb the delicate balance of hormones. Smokers see an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, an androgen that plays a significant role in male and female pattern hair loss. Elevated levels of DHT lead to stunting hair follicles, thereby giving rise to thinner and weaker hair strands over time. Smoking also lowers estrogen levels, impacting the hair growth cycle.

Scarring of hair follicles: Smoking can lead to increased inflammation, which can cause damage to the hair follicles, resulting in scarring. This is due to the release of cytokines, a specific type of protein triggered by smoking. The body's inflammatory response can disrupt the natural growth of hair, weakening the follicles and leading to a decline in the amount and quality of hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage, leaving the individual with thin, dull, and lifeless hair.

Grey hair: Smoking can lead to premature greying of hair and make it more prone to dryness, increasing the likelihood of thinning or hair loss.

Oxidative Stress: Smoking releases free radicals that are harmful to the body in more ways than one. One significant impact of this is oxidative stress. In this condition, the free radicals damage cells and tissues throughout the body, including the hair follicles, disrupting the normal hair growth cycle and leading to premature hair loss and thinning.

Telogen Effluvium: Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss characterized by excessive hair shedding due to a sudden shock or stress on the body. Smoking is considered a stressor for the body, and prolonged exposure to nicotine and other harmful substances can trigger telogen effluvium, causing temporary hair loss.

Does Vaping Trigger Hair Loss?

Does Vaping Trigger Hair Loss?

Most e-cigarettes (vapes) contain nicotine, which is the main component of a regular cigarette, making them as harmful as their counterparts. Besides the effects mentioned above of nicotine or smoking in general, it is also known to interfere with the hair's pH balance leading to hair loss due to the scalp becoming acidic. This definitely doesn't sound good. So if you are concerned about your rapid hair loss, maybe you should reconsider cutting down on those toxic buds.

Is smoking-caused hair loss reversible?

It's not likely, but you may notice a slight change in your hair regrowth. Once your hair goes, it often goes forever. Then the only feasible option you will be left with is a hairpiece.

While more research is needed to establish a definitive causal relationship, the existing evidence suggests that smoking can contribute to hair loss. The harmful effects of smoking are many. So, to everyone who smokes, make a wise decision today!

If you have already reached an advanced level of hair loss with male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, and are looking for easy-to-use, affordable, and realistic-looking hairpieces for women and hair systems for men, check out Superhairpieces for the best quality hair units in town. Our non-surgical hair replacement systems are class apart. No side effects or risk factors are involved, so you can get great hair instantly.

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