No, smoking does not cause hair loss alone. However, smoking can contribute to hair loss by making the scalp dry and causing premature graying of the hair. This habit also affects blood circulation in the scalp, which can further promote hair loss. A person who smokes is more likely to suffer from severe hair fall than a non-smoker is. If you are obsessed with nicotine, seek helpful quit smoking treatment to put off obstacles.
Smoking is a well-known factor that can increase the risk of heart diseases and lung cancer. In addition, nicotine also contributes to thinning of hair, particularly for those who are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness.
How does smoking cause hair loss?
The harmful chemicals in cigarettes tend to block the release of certain hormones, which are needed for hair growth. Nicotine, a dominant ingredient in tobacco, can also reduce blood flow to the scalp, further promoting a loss of hair. Similarly, other chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause damage to the cells that line up the hair follicles while permanently damaging the DNA of these cells. It will eventually lead to premature graying of hair and baldness.
Smoking can also cause scalp inflammation, which will result in dryness of the scalp. With a dry scalp, the hair follicles are prone to be impacted by DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is one of the major causes of hair loss.
Overall, tobacco use contributes to hair loss in several ways. It is always a good idea to call a halt to nicotine addiction. Quitting isn’t easy. However, you can look for the most suitable quit smoking treatment for you.
How does smoking affect hair growth?
The use of tobacco can cause a reduction in blood flow to the scalp, resulting in fewer nutrients and oxygen for the hair follicles. Since hair requires high amounts of nutrition from the bloodstream, less blood circulation will mean slower hair growth. In addition, smoking also reduces the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is necessary for nourishing and moisturizing the hair. With less sebum production, the scalp becomes dry, which will result in even slower hair growth.
How tobacco use leads to male pattern baldness?
Smoking can contribute to male pattern baldness caused by testosterone deficiency. Moreover, tobacco use can also lead the hair loss condition. The testosterone deficiency can reduce the amount of protein in hair follicles. Less protein affects healthy hair growth.
What are the other effects of smoking on hair?
Besides promoting thinning of hair, smoking can also contribute to premature graying and baldness. Nicotine found in cigarette smoke reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. In addition, nicotine also damages blood vessels, reducing blood circulation to the scalp and resulting in dryness and slow hair growth.
In addition, smoking also increases the risk of having alopecia areata or patchy hair loss and cicatricial alopecia or scarring hair loss.
How can I avoid thinning of hair due to smoking?
Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent male pattern baldness and thinning of hair. Consult with your doctor for the ways you can achieve your aim. Champix is a quit smoking treatment available as tablets and helps you get over this deadly habit. Moreover, there are many other methods, such as NRT and behavioral therapy, which can help you with the same concern. You should also take steps to ensure your scalp stays moisturized. It is a significant step for managing dry scalp caused by smoking. Following steps can help-
- Applying hair conditioner on the scalp
- Keeping it moisturized with natural oil
- Avoiding harsh shampoos
- Use lukewarm water when shampooing
If you are unable to quit smoking, it would be best that you limit your intake of cigarettes. You may also want to consider using e-cigarettes as they still contain nicotine but are deemed safer than regular cigarettes.
What else causes hair fall?
Hair loss is a common problem in men and women across the world. It is the term used for excessive hair fall or thinning of hair. Hair consists of special cells called keratinocytes, which are found at the base of the skin or scalp. These cells have an active growth phase, known as anagen, followed by a resting phase, telogen. This cycle of hair growth continues throughout our lives and is responsible for replacing old or dead keratinocytes with new ones.
Several factors can lead to abnormalities in this process and cause excessive or abnormal loss of hair. These include-
- Hormonal imbalances
- Scalp infections
Men and women develop different types of hair fall.
In men, because the growth phase is longer, a greater length of time is taken for a new hair to grow in its place. It means these hairs are more stable and less fragile than those in the scalp of women. In men, male pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss. It can be caused by genetic changes passed on from either parents or grandparents, resulting in increased testosterone levels in the body. If you have a hair loss problem and you are obsessed to nicotine, seek a helpful quit smoking treatment immediately.
Male pattern baldness usually begins when men are between 30 and 50 years of age. The receding hairline starts at the temples and widens as the hair loss progresses, eventually leaving a horseshoe shape on the head.
Hair loss in women is usually diffuse or all-over thinning of hair.
In women, there are more chances of breakage because the growth phase of these cells is shorter. It leads to increased fall of hair. The most widespread kind of baldness in women is Telogen Effluvium. It occurs when the body experiences high-stress levels, causing increased production of male hormones, leading to shortening of the growth phase and increased breakage of hair strands.
Traction Alopecia is another common form of hair fall in women. It is caused by hair styling using chemicals or heat, braiding, tight ponytails, and hair extensions.
Excessive brushing of hair or combing is a major contributor to hair loss in women. Pulling hairs tightly from the roots over a long period can cause the breakage of hair strands.
In both men and women, serious cases of prolonged hair fall can lead to a medical condition known as Alopecia Areata. Here, the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles and causes smooth or patchy hair loss on the scalp.
Hormonal imbalances, malnutrition, and other health conditions can also cause severe damage to our body systems, leading to increased baldness.
Hair loss is not something we should be ashamed of or embarrassed about, as it can affect anyone, and we can do a lot to avoid it if the cause is understood.
If you are concerned about hair fall, consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you are a smoker, quitting can be the greatest favor you can do to yourself. It will not only improve your hair fall but also lead you to a healthy and prolonged life. In addition, you can also consult with your doctor for a suitable quit smoking treatment like NRT or Champix.
What medications can help treat hair fall?
Medications that can help include:
Minoxidil is one of several medications that can slow the progression of hereditary hair loss in some women. This medication can also promote hair regrowth. In addition, minoxidil may help people with alopecia areata keep their hair longer. If you use this treatment, it is significant to keep in mind that the results are not always noticeable. They may take time before any benefits become visible.
Finasteride, also called Propecia, blocks the production of a male sex hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which destroys hair follicles. This medication works for some men. However, not everyone benefits from it. You may need to take finasteride for three months or more before you see results.
Spironolactone can be used for women with androgen-related hair loss and those with alopecia areata. It reduces the levels of androgen hormones in the body, which may help slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth. Spironolactone is a diuretic that has been used for many years to treat high blood pressure. However, it can have other side effects, including-
- Menstrual irregularities
- Breast tenderness
- Cyproterone acetate
Cyproterone acetate is another medication that can treat androgen-related hair loss and some cases of alopecia areata. It works by reducing the androgen levels in the body. However, unlike Spironolactone, Cyproterone acetate is not a diuretic and does not have other side effects like that of Spironolactone.
If you have a habit of smoking, consult with your healthcare provider if you can use a quit smoking treatment along with this hair loss remedy.
- Low-level laser therapy
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) uses light in the form of low-energy, visible red light. It can help by increasing blood flow and oxygen levels in the scalp, stimulating hair growth. In addition, low-level laser therapy also seems to increase cell metabolism and make cells more receptive to topical and injected medications for hair loss. At this time, laser therapy is not a primary treatment for hair loss. It is rather used as an adjunct to other hair loss treatments.
Corticosteroid medications may be used alone or in combination with other treatments if hair loss is due to alopecia areata. These medications help slow down the overactive immune system that causes this disease by reducing inflammation. Moreover, they can also suppress the production of both male hormones and other cytokines, which are proteins that signal cells to grow. These medications are either taken by mouth or applied topically once or twice a day.
Immunotherapy is another treatment used to stop the immune system’s attack on hair follicles in people with alopecia areata. In many cases, doctors inject a weak solution of a poison called a mixed immunotherapy vaccine into the person’s skin with tiny needles. It stimulates the immune system to attack specific allergens and can help rid your body of different allergies over time. Although most people tolerate this treatment well, it is not without side effects such as itching, swelling, and redness at the injection site. Moreover, this hair loss treatment also has a risk of serious complications such as worsening asthma or triggering an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks itself.
If you are a smoker and using quit smoking treatment, tell your doctor before undergoing immunotherapy.
- Cortisone injections
Cortisone injections are another way to suppress the immune system’s attack on hair follicles in people with alopecia areata. Cortisone, a powerful anti-inflammatory steroid medication, can be injected directly into the bald patches of skin to discourage your body from attacking these areas. The injections provide almost immediate relief and promote hair regrowth in many people with this disorder. However, once treatment is stopped, hair loss resumes.
- Hair Transplants
Hair transplantation is done by removing small plugs or samples of hair, from areas that still have some hair and placing them in the area of your scalp that has lost its hair. This type of surgery takes several hours to complete and requires stitches after the procedure. Although this surgery does not treat the root cause of hair loss, it can be done in combination with other treatments to help restore some lost hair.
How can you prevent hair loss?
Here are some useful tips that might help you to slow down hair loss-
- Protect your hair from breakage from chemicals or heat from styling tools
- Avoid too tight braids or ponytails and sleep on a soft pillow instead of cotton
- Let your doctor know if you have any scalp infections or thyroid problems, which can lead to increased hair fall
- Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water to provide your body with healthy nutrients
- Try some home remedies like coconut oil massage on the head, or use trick-up herbal shampoo, which can help to control hair fall
- Smoking can lead to hair loss. Therefore, if you are using a quit smoking treatment, discuss with your doctor which home remedies will be suitable
- Keep stress at bay as much as possible as it is one of the major causes of excessive loss of hair
- It is significant to consult with a dermatologist and take proper medication if you have any hair loss condition
- Keep your scalp clean and apply antiseptic oil like coconut oil before going to bed to help reduce hair loss and breakage
- Avoid using coarse or hard brushes when washing your hair; instead, use soft ones
- Avoid using hairdryers and hot curlers for styling your hair; opt for hairbands but avoid tying them too tightly around your head
- Don’t tease or tug too hard on the ends of your hair, as this can lead to breakage of strands
- If you are losing hair in large quantities, wash your hair frequently to avoid an accumulation of dust or toxic products that may irritate you
- Make sure that you consume enough protein and zinc for the healthy growth of hair
- Avoid coloring your hair too frequently as this can cause damage to strands and lead to increased breakage
- Exercise regularly at least 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes to improve blood circulation in the head
- Massage your scalp frequently with some good quality oil if you are experiencing hair fall; try coconut or almond oil, to begin with
Using effective quit smoking treatment, home remedies, and other medications can help get rid of hair loss. However, you should always consult with your doctor before using any treatment method.