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How Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Is There Really An Association?

In Hair Loss, Men's Health by Alpha Now Team

Does smoking cause hair loss? We investigate the connection and present tips on what you can do to kick the habit and regain your hair.

RELATED: Seasonal Hair Loss Might Be The Reason You’re Losing Hair In Fall, Summer

In this article:

  1. Can Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
  2. What Is the Connection Between Smoking and Hair Loss?
  3. How Do You Quit Smoking for Hair Recovery?
  4. What Can I Do to Boost Hair Growth After Quitting?
  5. Does Quitting Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Straight Answers: Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Can Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Certain studies like the one performed by Dr. Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen and Dr. Lin-Hui Su of the National Taiwan University and the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital surfaces a link between smoking and hair loss. Around 740 men, aged 40-91 from Tainan County in Taiwan participated in a community survey about their habits, and the researchers traced a connection between baldness and smoking.

Other researchers claim it’s possible aging had a hand in the survey population’s baldness and other factors like genetics.

So far, landmark studies have yet to be made linking baldness and tobacco after the 2005 Taiwanese study.

What Is the Connection Between Smoking and Hair Loss?

Although researchers have yet to make strides on this topic, certain adverse effects caused by long-term smoking may connect the habit to baldness:

1. Smoking Causes Poor Circulation

The carbon monoxide and nicotine from cigarettes can restrict blood flow moving through your veins. When this happens, blood flow slows, and so does its delivery of essential nutrients to different parts of the body, including the scalp.

The hair follicles starve when blood flows restrict, and hair loss ensues.

2. Smoking Hastens Aging

Smoking can cause hair loss because it dries and wrinkles the skin, quickening the aging process. Dry and old skin can induce hair loss since hair needs moisture to remain strong and supple.

3. Smoking Causes the Body to Produce DHT

Cotinine and nicotine, both found in cigarettes, may affect the supply of testosterone in the body by accumulating a hormone called DHT, which reduces the available testosterone in the body.

Considering how testosterone promotes hair growth, the resulting hormone imbalance may lead to baldness.

4. Smoking Damages Hair Follicles

Long-term smoking may affect the follicles by starving them out of nutrition for a long period. When this happens for a prolonged period, these follicles may stop growing together and close.

5. Smoking Causes Stress

Smoking can cause stress, which, in turn, can cause hair to fall. Stress pushes hair to move to the last stage of the hair growth cycle called telogen effluvium, resulting in hair death.

How Do You Quit Smoking for Hair Recovery?

man trying to quit smoking | How Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Is There Really An Association? | can smoking cause hair loss

Quitting smoking helps the hair grow.

1. Using Nicotine Patches to Quit Smoking

Nicotine patches deliver nicotine through the skin, which keeps away withdrawal symptoms. They allow you to manage how fast or slow you eliminate your smoking habit without any major blowback.

2. Seeking Counseling for Smoking Addiction

Therapists can help you quit smoking through behavior modification therapy. They advise you on how to manage your thinking and your reactions regarding smoking.

3. Attending Support Groups

Quitting smoking can be a difficult undertaking, but a supportive community can make the burden lighter. If you’re quitting smoking, there are a lot of support groups that can accommodate you and share techniques on how you can beat the habit.

4. Taking Medication

In case you need medical help to quit your smoking addiction, you just need to approach your doctor. They may treat you with Varenicline, a drug that halts withdrawal symptoms and makes smoking less enjoyable by blocking receptors in your brain.

5. Seeking Family Intervention

Your family can play a part in your road back to non-smoking. They can help you and support you when you hit roadblocks as you give up cigarettes.

6. Go Cold Turkey

All the other tips promote staggering the quitting process into stages because going cold turkey involves withdrawal symptoms. If you withstand the pangs that come quitting, you can reset yourself and leave the habit entirely.

7. Take On a Hobby or a Craft

Your smoking habit also involves your hands, and it may have become second nature for them to hold a cigarette or flick open a lighter. If smoking has subliminal ties to your hands, you’ll need to reprogram them by taking on another habit like crocheting or sculpting—anything to keep your mind and hands off a cigarette.

RELATED: How To Manage Hair Loss From Stress (Causes + Treatment)

What Can I Do to Boost Hair Growth After Quitting?

1. Take Hair Supplements

You can take supplements to boost the nutrients your scalp needs to produce more hair. Biotin should earn a spot on your supplement shelf since it’s the type of protein your hair is made of.

What is biotin? It is also known as vitamin H and is part of the B-vitamin family and is water-soluble. It helps with metabolic processes that relate to the usage of amino acids, fats, and carbs.

Vitamin E takes the next spot since it’s the vitamin responsible for healthy nails, skin, and hair. Vitamin B-complex also performs this function while promoting nerve health.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Aside from supplementation, you can receive these nutrients by eating. Eat egg yolks, avocado, and liver for biotin intake.

You can source vitamin B-complex from food like salmon and leafy greens. On the other hand, you can also find vitamin E in avocado and salmon and almonds.

3. Massage Your Scalp with Essential Oils

The scents in essential oils may also aid in hair growth if you believe the claims of a study. According to the perfume study, sandalwood encourages your hair to grow better.

4. Use Finasteride or Minoxidil

Minoxidil and Finasteride block DHT, the hormone which signals the body to reduce bioavailable testosterone. By allowing the testosterone to stay in circulation, these DHT blockers ensure more of the hormone becomes available to promote hair growth.

5. Take a Cold Shower

When you take a cold shower, you can stimulate the cells in your pate. These nerve cells feed your hair follicles to promote hair growth.

Does Quitting Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

What can potentially cause hair loss while you’re quitting smoking is the stress connected to the withdrawal symptoms. You’re bound to encounter stress during the withdrawal period, and stress can make you lose your hair.

The best way to deal with this is to find ways to mitigate any stress and frustration you might encounter while quitting smoking.

The medical research community still has to prove how smoking causes hair loss through more landmark studies on this question. Based on the health benefits you’ll get from quitting the nicotine habit, there’s no harm and only more to gain if you do decide to give up smoking.

Did you quit smoking? What kind of benefits did you notice? Did it involve hair growth? Give us your answers in the comments section below.

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