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Does smoking cause hair loss?

Does smoking cause hair loss?
14 November 2022
2-minute read

Does smoking cause hair loss?

Most people are aware that smoking increases your risk of developing cancer and has a range of negative impacts on your overall health. It can affect your teeth, skin, and even your hair. So, we take a closer look at whether smoking causes hair loss and explain what you can do to improve the health of your hair.

So, does smoking cause hair loss?

Smoking cigarettes is not good for your hair and can affect the health of your hair follicles. For instance, a 2020 study looked into the prevalence of androgenetic alopecia in male smokers and non-smokers between the ages of 20 and 35. They found that 425 out of the 500 smokers had some form of hair loss, while only 200 of the 500 non-smokers showed early signs of male pattern hair loss. The researchers posited that nicotine and other chemicals within cigarettes could be a cause of the increased incidence of hair loss in the smokers’ group, but further study is required to say conclusively.

Another suggestion is that smoking cigarettes can increase oxidative stress, which can limit the blood flow to the hair follicles on your head. This is caused by the fact that cigarette smoke increases the prevalence of free radicals within the body, which is a direct cause of oxidative stress. Backing this suggestion up, a review of research in 2018 found that cells within the hair follicles of people with male pattern hair loss are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress. 

The bottom line is that smoking might not directly cause hair loss, but it certainly could exacerbate it. This is because male pattern hair loss is primarily a genetic condition. But the fact that cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals and may increase oxidative stress highlights the fact that it is harmful to the general health of your hair and may worsen male pattern hair loss.

How to combat male pattern hair loss 

Naturally, your first step should be to stop smoking. Although this is easier said than done, there are many products that can help you, such as nicotine patches. You can also join support groups that are specifically set up to help people kick cigarettes. As well as quitting cigarettes, you should consider your diet and ensure that you’re eating wholesome, nutritious foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and legumes. The nutrients in your diet contribute to your hair growth, so it’s important that your diet is balanced. You should also make sure that you exercise regularly, as there’s a positive relationship between exercise and hair growth. 

If you’re worried about the structure and strength of your hair, you might also consider a Biotin supplement. Biotin - also known as vitamin B7 - is integral in the development of keratin, which is a protein that contributes to the strength of your nails, skin, and hair. Also, if you’re suffering from male pattern hair loss, it’s a good idea to consider the range of available treatments that you can turn to. Finasteride and Minoxidil are clinically-proven medications that can treat male pattern hair loss in the long term and can help you achieve a thriving head of hair once more. 

Ultimately, smoking is bad for all aspects of your health, and your hair is no exception. So, we recommend quitting your habit and starting one of our hair loss treatments to ensure that your hair has the best possible chance of recovery. 

All of our blog articles are reviewed by our Medical Director before publication.