Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss? Dermatologist Answers

smoking and hair loss

We lose hair as we age, and that’s nothing unusual. However, apart from ageing, your lifestyle also significantly impacts your hair growth and health. If you’re noticing excessive hair loss that leaves behind bald spots, it might be time to revisit your daily habits. Studies suggest that if you’re a smoker and experience excess hair loss, the culprit could be your cigarette. It 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, such as stress, genetics, hormonal imbalance. Cigarettes can be just as damaging to your hair. 

How Does Smoking Affect Your Hair?

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.

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. 

Stress Could Lead to Hair Loss

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

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.

Other After-Effects of Smoking On Hair Health

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 build up 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 that is related to your hair health.
  • Premature greying is also an effect of continuous smoking.

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 due to smoking becomes treatable. Healthy hair grows back as your body recovers to its normal state.

Those who have been smoking for a long time can get the right hair treatment to help regenerate your hair. 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 causes of your hair loss.

Can Smoking Cause Hair Loss Even After Hair Transplant?

For best results, don’t smoke for at least 2 weeks after hair transplant as wounds due to the transplant procedure can take some time to heal. Smoking might give way to infections on such wounds, resulting in scars and also causing a threat to a successful hair transplant.

Summing Up

Smoking and Hair loss might be interrelated, but hair loss, bald patches, hair thinning, or premature greying could be because of various other reasons. Hence, it is best to make healthier lifestyle choices and quit smoking. Consult your doctor if hair loss doesn’t stop even after opting for a healthier lifestyle.


1. Is hair loss due to smoking a myth?

According to some studies, smoking could potentially cause hair loss. As you inhale tobacco smoke, various chemicals travel from your lungs and get into your blood. It negatively impacts your health, along with causing hair loss. Smoking damages your hair follicles and restricts blood flow to the scalp. 

2. Will my hair grow back by quitting smoking?

When you stop smoking, you can notice changes in your hair health and growth. As the blood circulation to your scalp increases, your hair gets more oxygen and the required nutrients to grow faster and healthier. Though, all of this is possible only if the hair loss is because of smoking and not any other reason. 

3. What are the best hair loss treatment options?

Before starting your treatment, the doctor will examine and identify the exact cause of your hair loss. The treatment option will depend on the reason and what’s suitable for you. 

customized hair treatment kit



Picture of Chaitra K

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.