Can smoking cause hair loss?

The negative effects smoking can have on a person’s health are well known throughout the globe. Although lung issues are the biggest perceived threat from smoking, the habit can also lead to gum disease, an increased risk of strokes, heart disease and many other issues. 

But does smoking cause hair loss? Carry on reading to find out everything there is to know about smoking and hair loss.

So, can smoking lead to hair loss?

The short answer is, yes, smoking can lead to hair loss. There are a variety of studies that suggest smoking can be a contributing factor towards hair loss, and that smokers are more likely to lose their hair than non-smokers

This suggests that any tobacco smokers conscious about losing their natural hairline should consider kicking the habit before any permanent hair loss takes place.

How does smoking cause hair loss?

Reduced blood flow to hair follicles

One way in which smoking can lead to hair loss is by restricting blood flow throughout the body. 

The damage that smoking causes to the heart and connecting vessels can reduce blood flow, including blood flow to hair follicles. Less blood making its way to the scalp means less nutrients, causing hair growth to suffer as a result.

Oxidative stress

Smoking can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to hair loss. This happens because smoking increases the production of ‘free radicals’ in the body. These are molecules that react with other molecules in your system and can potentially cause damage to the DNA of your cells.

Cells that are particularly sensitive to this kind of stress can be found in the scalp of those suffering from balding, meaning smoking can cause hair loss to increase in speed for those who are naturally losing their hair. 

Damage to existing hair 

Another way smoking can contribute to hair loss is by promoting the release of proteins that can cause inflammation. This can make hair brittle, causing it to fall out and cause noticeable bald spots on certain people’s scalps, impacting future hair growth.

Other hair issues caused by smoking

  • Grey hair: Certain studies have found a correlation between smokers and hair greying at a younger age than usual. Hair may not only be lost due to the habit, but any hair that remains may look more aged than it should.
  • Brittle hair: Inflammation of the scalp and decreased blood flow can also make hair brittle. This can contribute to balding in some people, and in others can cause issues with hair being unable to be styled in certain ways, or appearing lifeless.
  • Dry hair: Dry hair can also be a symptom brought on by smoking, creating another way that hair can look lifeless. This again can cause restrictions with how hair can be styled. 

Solutions to smoking induced hair loss

Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether hair loss caused by smoking can be undone by quitting. Despite this, if smoking is in fact the root cause of your hair loss, the best option is to quit as soon as possible to slow down and hopefully stop any further damage. 

After you quit smoking and the toxins have left your body, any hair that remains should begin to grow back thicker and stronger, giving you another reason to stop.

Hair loss solutions with Crown Clinic

Whether you have permanent hair loss due to smoking, male pattern baldness, or any other root cause, you can solve your problems with Crown Clinic. We offer a variety of treatments, from FUE and FUT hair transplant to scalp micropigmentation, all of which can be a lifeline to those looking for a solution to their baldness. 

Get in touch with our friendly team on 0345 2 100 300 or by visiting our contact page to arrange a consultation with our world-renowned expert, Dr Shahmalak.