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smoking hair loss

Can Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Smoking is bad, m’kay. But can smoking cause hair loss?

The jury seems to largely still be out. But there are several ingredients in cigarettes that are as bad for your hair as they are for every other part of your body. So, while it hasn’t been definitely proved that baldness and smoking are directly linked, there are a whole lot of causal links that have been suggested.

There are studies being undertaken pretty much constantly to see what and why these might be…

Why might smoking cause hair loss?

Although the link between smoking and hair loss hasn’t been directly confirmed, there are several theories as to why there seems to be “positive correlation” between people in both groups. That is to say, on average more smokers tend to have thinner or receding hair than non-smokers. These theories include:

  1. Cigarettes contain nicotine and carbon monoxide: these two harmful substances restrict blood flow to the body’s extremities. It’s thought that when this happens to hair follicles they start to become dormant due to a lack of nourishment, eventually falling out.
  2. Smoking damages the DNA of hair follicles: causing them to fall out.
  3. Premature ageing: many smokers see signs of premature ageing such as wrinkles. It’s been conjectured that hair loss – often a side-effect of ageing – could be one of those signs.

Nicotine, the highly addictive substance found in all branches of the smoking family – cigarettes, cigars, pipes and even e-cigarettes – in particular, has been cited as being bad for your hair and your body in general. No matter how you’re taking it into your body, either through traditional hand-rolls, tar-laden cigarettes or the newest funky vaping tool, nicotine is not good for you.

If you’re looking for a reason to give up smoking, this should be enough!

If it’s not smoking, why am I losing my hair?

A positive smoking hair loss link may come to be proved in time. But outside of this, there are many reasons why you might be losing your hair. In fact, even if a link is proved, there’s a good chance that the reason behind your hair loss might be completely unrelated.

There are many hereditary conditions and genetic factors which do have a proven link to hair loss. So if any directly related members of your family have gone bald, there’s a chance that you might too.

You might also be experiencing thinning or loss of hair due to a medical condition. It’s always worth consulting your doctor if you have no family history of baldness.

Will quitting smoking improve my hair?

The consensus among all healthcare professionals is that if smoking does cause hair loss, its effects are linked to the general detrimental effects that smoking has on your health as a whole. All of the following are things which a regular smoker will have to contend with:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased oxygen levels
  • Premature ageing
  • Lowered immunity levels

In general, if you want to nourish your hair and give it the best chance of growing strong, make your body a place hair wants to grow. This means vitamins and nutrients and not inhaling toxins directly into your lungs.

In particular, will quitting smoking improve my hair? It certainly couldn’t hurt!