Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Dermatologist Answers

smoking and hair loss Verified by Doctors Verified by Doctors
Updated On - January 4, 2021 Chaitra K
Read Time : 4 Mins

You lose hair as you age! Though the primary cause of hair loss is ageing, lifestyle has a significant impact on how your hair grows. If you’re noticing excessive hair loss that leaves behind bald spots, it might be the time to revisit your daily habits. Studies suggest that if you’re a smoker and experience excess hair loss, the culprit is your cigarette. 

Smoking doesn’t just lead to lung disease, premature skin ageing, and heart disease but can trigger excessive hair loss too. Let’s find out how.

Smoking & Hair Loss

Hair loss can have many reasons – including stress, hereditary, hormonal imbalance and many more. Cigarettes can be just as damaging to your hair. 

What happens when you smoke?

Your hair follicle (pores on your scalp that produce hair) needs good blood flow for healthy growth.  Smoking constricts your blood vessels, reducing blood flow throughout the body. This makes it difficult for your hair follicles to receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients for a healthy growth cycle.

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Can smoking cause hair loss?

Every time you smoke, your hair pays the price.

  • Your hair gets dehydrated and the natural oils in your hair get stripped off.
  • It causes buildup on your scalp, making your hair roots greasy.
  • Smoking affects your hormonal glands creating an imbalance with your healthy hormones.
  • Vitamins A and C, which is vital for your hair growth depletes.
  • Smoking affects your immunity, making you prone to illness which is again connected to your hair’s health.
  • Premature greying is also an effect of continuous smoking.

How Does Smoking Affect your Hair?

1. Improper Blood Circulation

Your hair needs a good supply of minerals, nutrients and oxygen to stay healthy. You know that your blood carries all these essentials into your hair follicle. Smoking shrinks your blood vessels, restricting the blood flow to your hair. Hence, your hair doesn’t get the nutrition it needs.

Without enough nutrition, your hair becomes stressed, slowing down the growth of new hair. Even if your hair continues to fall as before, the follicles cannot replace them.

The result, insufficient blood flow due to smoking results in hair loss.

2. Weakens Your Immunity

Smoking affects your body’s immune response negatively, making you susceptible to infections and diseases. Bacterias or fungus can easily rest on your scalp, preventing your follicles from producing new, healthy hair. 

3. Stress

Studies suggest that stress causes hair loss. Smoking increases stress in your body and causes a rise in BP, heart rate, and creates tension in muscles. All these factors are driving causes for hair loss.

4. Hormonal Imbalance

Smoking can trigger the hormone in charge of male pattern baldness

Certain hormones can make your hair follicle shrink until they stop producing hair. They can also cause your hair follicles to produce weak hair, causing hair thinning.

Is Hair Loss From Smoking Reversible?

If the primary cause of your hair loss is smoking, then quitting helps reduce hair loss,  stops premature greying of hair and drying of your scalp.

Once you quit smoking, your body gets toxin-free, your overall health improves and hair loss caused due to smoking becomes treatable. Healthy hair grows back as your body recovers to its normal state.

If you’ve been smoking for a long time now, get the right hair treatment to help your hair regenerate. Also, it takes time for your body to restore itself and return to its health conditions. So have patience! Have vitamin C rich foods to improve your immune system.

If hair loss continues even after you’ve quit for long, talk to your doctor about it. There might be some other cause for your hair loss.

Find out the problems and solution to your hair loss from Dermatologists

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I Underwent Hair Transplant, Will Smoking Still Cause Hair Loss?

For best results, don’t smoke for at least 2 weeks after transplanting your hair. Wounds caused by the transplant procedure takes time to heal. Smoking might give ways to infections on such wounds, resulting in scars, causing a threat to a successful hair transplant.

To Conclude

Smoking and Hair loss might be interrelated. But, hair loss, bald patches, hair thinning, or premature greying might have other reasons too. However, it is always best for you to make healthier lifestyle choices and quit smoking. Consult your doctor if hair loss doesn’t stop even after giving a healthier lifestyle a try once.

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About Author

Chaitra K
I’m a Skin Care Enthusiast from Bangalore, a writer here @CureSkin teamed up with Expert Dermatologists to spread awareness on the right kind of skin and hair care for men and women. Inspiring people to explore the skin and hair care that suits their need and help them look and feel beautiful is my full-time job. Skin & hair problems affect every person's self-esteem and confidence. Hence I love helping people by giving them the best information about skin and hair health with my writing, driven by the BEST Dermatologists.