Going, going, gone – that’s the reality about hair loss as you grow. Your once lush hair may start to thin progressively, until one day you will notice bald spots. If you are a smoker and your hair is becoming thin, the two can be connected.
As you may be aware, smoking causes vascular disease, premature ageing of the skin, lung cancer, and heart disease. But were you aware that smoking can also cause hair loss?
Keep reading to learn how smoking is connected to hair loss and premature greying.
Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
Several factors are responsible for hair loss, such as stress, genetics, and hormones such as DHT, lifestyle habits like nicotine consumption can be damaging to your hair’s health.
Blood flow is vital to the hair follicle (tiny holes or pores on your skin that create hair) for healthy growth. Also, nicotine has shown to decrease blood flow all over the body while constricting your blood vessels.
Limited blood flow across the scalp can negatively affect hair growth as the follicles don’t get sufficient oxygen and nutrients to maintain a healthy growth cycle.
Effects of Smoking on Your Hair
These are some ways in which smoking affects your hair:
- Smoking decreases collagen, robbing the hair of oils, making it dehydrated
- It causes build-up on the scalp, which makes oily roots
- It causes premature graying
- Smoking brings changes in the endocrine system which hampers the gland’s capacity to create healthy hormones
- It lessens vitamins A and C in the body that is required for collagen production
- Smoking makes your immunity weak which makes you susceptible to illnesses
How does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
Poor blood circulation
Your follicles require a rich supply of minerals, nutrients, and oxygen to grow healthy hair. The toxins found in a cigarette affect your circulation, shrink blood vessels, and impede blood flow.
Your hair’s growth cycle has four phases – the growth phase, the transitional phase, the resting phase, and the shedding phase.
Without adequate nutrition, your follicle becomes stressed and goes a prolonged or permanent resting phase. The results being the strands consistently falling at a similar rate, but the follicles cannot replace them.
An interruption to the hair growth cycle due to inadequate blood for nourishment causes hair loss.
Weakened immune system
Smoking decreases the body’s immune response, making you vulnerable to infections. That cold, you cannot seem to shake off may linger around because of your smoking habit.
Your immune system shields you from infections and diseases like the common flu or cancer. When you smoke, the white blood cells are continually active to fight the damage that tobacco brings.
So, when your immune system is weak, the chances of bacterial or fungal infections on the scalp become higher. This stops your follicles from creating new, healthy hair.
You may have heard that stress causes hair loss, and that’s true. Smoking raises stress, and it also causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and tensed muscles.
Cravings for nicotine feel stressful as your body starts to go through withdrawal.
Disrupts the endocrine system
Smoking takes a toll on the body’s endocrine system, which results in higher DHT levels, the hormone in charge of male pattern baldness.
DHT makes the follicles shrink until they stop creating hair. It can cause follicles to produce hair that’s weak and brittle, making your hair appear thin.
Will my hair grow back if I Quit Smoking?
When you quit smoking, your overall health, your hair will enhance. If smoking was the primary cause of your hair loss, then stopping will avoid premature ageing and drying of your scalp. It will reduce the likelihood of fallout.
You cannot reverse the damage caused because of smoking. Quitting is one method you can help your body come back to a state where there is a chance to regrow healthy hair.
It requires time for hair to restore itself and come back to its healthy state. Be patient, especially if you are a long-term smoker.
If you still have hair loss after you’ve quit for long, it’s significant to look into other possibilities and address them. A certified professional will guide you in the correct direction.
Can I start Smoking after a Hair Transplant?
If you are planning to go for a hair transplant surgery, you need a 100% chance of success. Do not smoke at least a week before the surgery and two weeks after transplanting your hair.
Open wounds are susceptible to infections, and the longer it requires for them to heal, the higher infection chances.
Infections can be a threat to a successful hair transplant as there is a possibility of scabs and crusts left on the skin for longer than necessary, resulting in scar tissue formation.
There are many reasons for hair loss, and they may be interrelated. If you have hair loss, thinning, or premature greying, you must include healthy habits in your daily routines like regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. Do not punctuate your life by smoking.