Does smoking cause hair loss? -

Does smoking cause hair loss?

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Last updated: Feb 19, 2020
  • Smoking is not a significant cause of hair loss
  • It’s unlikely that smoking will have any noticeable effect on your hair growth
  • There are people who smoke their entire lives and don’t lose their hair. Equally there are people who never smoke and lose their hair at a young age
  • It’s possible that if you already have hair loss caused by a far more significant cause (such as DHT), smoking could worsen the hair loss
  • Smoking reduces blood circulation in the body’s extremeties. That means less blood flows to your hair.
  • Your hair needs a supply of blood, otherwise it won’t grow
  • The hair loss treatment, Minoxidil, works by increasing blood supply to your hair
  • Therefore, by quitting smoking, you might notice improved hair growth
  • However, quitting smoking won’t stop hair loss.
  • If you’re losing your hair the cause is almost certainly related to the hormone DHT and/or stress
  • DHT and stress have so much mor eimpact on your hair than smoking, by comparison, smoking will have no noticeable effect

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss
I’ll start by saying I smoke. In fact I’m smoking right now. I know people who have smoked for years and have no signs of hair loss. I also know people who have never smoked and are none the less totally bald. That said…
Yes, smoking does cause hair loss.
Smoking causes hair loss in two ways:

It may also have some minor clogging effect on the scalps pores when combined with sebum.
You should quit smoking. But not because it causes hair loss. The impact smoking has on hair loss is almost insignificant in comparison to the impact DHT and stress have. So if you’re looking for the primary cause of your hair loss, smoking is almost certainly not the one.
Recently a study found that people living in highly polluted areas experience a greater rate of hair loss. This is likely to do with the same reasons as smoking – so the impact of polluting the lungs with chemicals and smoke is measurable in terms of hair loss.
You should try to quit as it will benefit your health greatly, especially your long term health. But don’t expect your hair to grow back when you quit. You’ll need to do more than that. For example, you’ll need to re-activate your dormant hair follicles if you have already experienced some hair loss.
If you’d like to see some horrifying pictures check out this page on smoking and circulation.
Once again, thanks for your question and feel free to comment on my blog posts.

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  1. Thanks for linking to our article at WhyQuit. We appreciate it. And yes, according to the CDC, smoking presents a 50% risk that female adult smokers will lose 100% of their hair 14 years early, while males lose 100% of theirs 13 years early, as that’s each gender’s expected loss of life expectancy. While still alive, while scores of tobacco toxins clearly fail to promote healthy hair growth, the primary hair loss culprit may be the super toxin nicotine, a vasoconstrictor proven to promote vessel hardening through angiogenesis.

    1. Stress is a far more significant cause of hair loss than smoking. For more information on stress and hair loss see: How to end stress related hair loss.
      If you suffer badly from stress I highly recommend doing something about it — something big. Stress can have a massive impact on physical health and appearance but it can be dealt with, if you have the right advice and tools. And in doing so you can improve your life greatly.

  2. I just 25 and started losing hair, none of my parents have that trend. Recently I had some stress and started smoking.
    Now I am trying to do away with those but is my hair going to come back again.

    1. Hi Jay,
      Thanks for your comment. I wasn’t aware that smoking caused an increase in DHT. Do you have any idea which chemicals cause the increase?

  3. I’m sad to say that I expierence the opposite. I smoked for 20 years. I quit for about 8 months and my hair started falling out in scary amounts. My husband still smokes and me being the weak person that I am started again. I hate to admit it… but my hair loss stopped right in its tracks. I’m going to quit again but its just unfortunate. I’m not looking forward to more hair loss. But I’d rather be balding than die of a horrible lung or heart disease.

  4. Hey, I’m turning 18 next month and its been a year i guess since I have started experiencing hair fall. No one in my family has gone through this so I’m just worried. Is there a why to stop hair fall?
    I smoke too.

  5. Hi my age is 23 I am losing my hair from 2 years… I donno watt to do?
    So,please guide me what to do?

  6. Smoking directly or indirectly is related to hair loss. when we inhale the smoke, CO present in it restricts the oxygen supply to the follicles. As such, the follicles cannot grow properly. Moreover, it also induces some serious health diseases which indirectly affect the health of the hair and causes shedding too.

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