If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: smoking is bad for you. It prematurely ages your skin, causes lung, mouth, and throat cancer, decreases your appetite, and stains your teeth. On top of that, smoking carries with it an odor that lingers long after the cigarette is gone. If all of the above is not enough to deter you from puffing away, how about this: smoking has also been linked to accelerated hair loss and premature greying.
Hair follicles are organs like any other in the body, and are therefore affected by both internal factors, like hormonal changes, disease, and medications, as well as external factors like cosmetic products and environmental toxins. The health and growth of your hair is directly dependent on the care and nutrients with which you nourish your body. So how does that connect to what happens in your body when you smoke cigarettes?
- Consistent smoking decreases your body’s immunity, which leads to accelerated signs of aging and increased risk of developing illnesses and diseases. When the body ages faster it has a damaging effect on hair follicles, and can cause you to lose hair more quickly.
- Nicotine and carbon monoxide are dangerous toxins which restrict blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. Worsening circulation causes hair follicles to receive an insufficient supply of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are crucial for hair growth and strength.
- Smoking depletes the body’s supplies of collagen, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, all of which contribute to hair growth and strength. We receive most of our Vitamins A and C through a balanced diet, which can be difficult to maintain when smoking affects the sense of appetite. Click here to learn about how important good nutrition is for hair growth.
- The toxins in cigarettes affect the body’s endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for secreting healthy hormones throughout the body – hormonal fluctuations and imbalances have been linked to increased hair loss.
In 2007, a study was conducted in Taiwan among 740 Asian men between the ages of 41 and 90. People of Asian ethnicity have consistently lower rates of hair loss than people of other ethnicity. The study found that men who smoked 20 plus cigarettes a day had increased hair thinning, even if the men had no prior family history of male pattern baldness. And even worse, the risk of accelerated hair loss increased as the number of cigarettes and amount of time spent smoking increased. The study was published in the journal Archives of Dermatology and theorized that smoking damaged the vessels at the bottom of hair follicles, or possibly damaged the DNA in the hair follicles themselves.
Another study, published in the British Medical Journal, surveyed 600 men and women, half of them smokers. When other variables were controlled, there remained a consistent link between the smokers and faster hair loss and premature greying.
There is still debate over smoking’s effects on hair loss: do cigarette toxins directly impact the scalp and cause hair to fall out, or does smoking cause premature aging that has a harmful effect on hair follicles? While studies are still searching for an answer to this question, there is evidence that even if smoking does not directly cause hair loss, it can speed up thinning and cause hair to fall out faster.
If you are experiencing thinning or balding, don’t wait until it’s too late – contact Florida Hair Restoration and schedule a free consultation to discuss your hair loss diagnosis and treatment options. Call 949-424-7362 today.