Hair Loss and Smoking: What's the Connection?

Hair Loss and Smoking: What's the Connection?

The negative impacts of Hair loss and smoking are largely associated with cancer in various forms. However, the smoking habit is not limited to impacting your lungs and oral cavity. As per studies, cigarettes & other forms of tobacco smoke contain over 7000 chemicals. Nearly 70 of these chemical compounds cause diverse forms of cancer to the human body. 

Hair loss from Smoking cigarettes allows these chemicals to enter your body from lungs to the main bloodstream. Once they enter the bloodstream, these chemicals start developing nuisance for the human body. Among several issues, one of the key issues reported among chain smokers is hair loss. In this article, we dig deeper into several ways smoking cigarettes may cause hair loss.

How Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? 

There are several studies which suggest smoking tobacco harms the hairline or leads to hair loss. 

As per a study smoking cigarettes leads to an early-onset androgenetic alopecia in male smokers and nonsmokers. These patterns were noted among people in the age group of  20 to 35 years old. Androgenetic alopecia is basically male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness.

Here are some of the key findings of this research

  • 425 out of 500 smokers faced some form of hair loss issues.
  • 200 out of 500 non smokers suffered from some form of hair loss.
  • 47% of smokers suffered from grade 3 hair-loss of Hamilton-Norwood scale. Grade 3 indicates hairline suffering from deep recession in the entire hairline.
  • 24% of smokers suffered from grade 4 hair-loss of Hamilton-Norwood scale. Grade 4 indicates the hairline is suffering from balding at the vertex. 

Although the research failed to establish a groundbreaking direct relation between hair loss and smoking, it offers satisfactory insights between the two.

Smoking is largely associated with developing oxidative stress and also impacts the blood flow to the hair follicles. Let's examine these two factors in detail.

Oxidative Stress - Due to Abundance of Free Radicals

Hair loss from Smoking directly enhances the body’s free radical production, which harms the existing DNA of the body cells. Excessive exposure to the tobacco smoke, pollution, radiation, UV rays, etc. leads to the state of oxidative stress.

Damage done to the DNA of human cells impacts the hairline growth. As per a research, oxidative stress has a very sensitive relationship with the cells in the hair follicles of the balding scalps.

Reduces Blood Flow - Directly Affecting the Hair Growth

Tobacco chemicals entering the body via smoke affects the blood circulation and the cardiovascular health of the body. As per scientific research, these chemicals develop plaque in the blood vessels leading to issues like blood clots, stroke, and even heart attack. Restricted blood flow to the scalp of the head leads to poor nutrition flow and can potentially cause hair damage and hair loss. 

Some Other Ways Smoking May Contribute to Hair Loss

There are several ways that smoking may lead to hair fall. Some of these are:

  • Influencing the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which scars hair follicles
  • Affecting the enzyme levels responsible for hair growth
  • Lowering estrogen levels

Hair loss or hair fall is not the only hair issue associated with smoking habits. There are other issues also closely related to hair loss.  

Various Hair Problems Reported Among Smokers

  • Research indicates a close relationship between the onset of gray hair before turning 30 years old & smoking tobacco via cigarettes.
  • Research shows smokers have a higher probability of developing complications with hair transplants.
  • Reduces collagen production affecting  hair quality and making them brittle.
  • Potentially speeds up the hair aging process and leads to dry hair at a younger age.

Is the Hair Loss Caused with Smoking Reversible?

Once you stop smoking the positive impacts are visible in the human body. However, the results differ for each person and depend upon how long you have been smoking and how many years have passed since you have quit smoking. 

For example, a person who has stopped smoking for more than decade has much lesser chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. In most cases, the chances are as negligible as those who do not smoke.

How to Quit Smoking?

Quitting smoking is a dedicated process and requires you to implement several life-changing steps. Some of the standard strategies involved in quitting smoking are:

  • Nicotine Replacement Strategy: Various people find it helpful to quit smoking by using nicotine based chewing gums, patches, etc. Find effective nicotine replacement options such as herbal cigarettes.
  • Prescribed Medicines: Under the guidance of trained medical professionals, you can take medicines that help in quitting smoking. 
  • Avoiding Smoking Environments: Avoiding people who smoke cigarettes is one of the standard strategies deployed when trying to quit cigarettes. 
  • Cold-Turkey Method - Under this method, you stop smoking cigarettes completely all at once.

Wrapping Up

Once you quit smoking, the body is able to regain health in various ways. However, the positive impacts of quitting smoking is visible in different ways to different individuals. If you are suffering from hair loss, it's essential to consult a doctor and find the major reason behind the issue. 

Quitting smoking may help you regain a healthy hairline as it helps you get rid of toxins affecting the body. Trying herbal cigarettes also helps in quitting smoking. Many people use herbal cigarettes as it does not harm the body and helps in ditching the habit of smoking.

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