Smoking and Hair Loss: Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?


How many sticks did you have today? Imagine more than 4,000 chemicals in each stick, 43 of which are confirmed carcinogens and at least 400 more are toxins. That’s why it’s not surprising how 1 of 2 smokers are estimated to succumb to chronic diseases that have been strongly associated with this habit. You’ve always known this fact — smoking will kill you one day. Did you know that you’re also bound to get bald so much earlier than your non-smoking peers?

This October, join the National Health Service UK as it inspires smokers like you that a better life awaits you when you quit. Check out Stoptober and the many ways you can get help, that includes face-to-face or simply, downloading an app. Are you ready to see healthier hair and skin? Quit Now!

Are You Going Bald?

Cigarette Smoking Causes Baldness

Baldness is everybody’s nightmare, men and women alike. Going bald is like losing a bestfriend, and the condition lays out your scalp bare. Many smokers still ask, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” Frankly, it could be wishful thinking that perhaps, hair loss isn’t going to be yet another item on the long list of side effects already strongly associated with cigarette smoking.

So, how does smoking cause hair loss? There are two studies that attempt to explain how your hair fall problem could be the effect of smoking.

The first study, published in the Archives of Dermatology Journal, offer reasons why you may have thin hair. More specifically, the study delved into the main reasons why men go bald. Other than the already proven factors such as a family history for baldness, and marked differences in ethnicity, the study, which involved 700 Taiwanese men who were 40 years old and over, also sought to investigate the connection between smoking and hair loss.

In answering the question, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” the researchers concluded that the intensity of baldness was bound to get worse when a man considers himself a smoker.

The UK National Health Service offered a detailed breakdown of the study along with its own interpretation of the findings. Two of the highlights in its response are as follows:

  • The population studies was very limited and coming from a very specific ethnicity. As such, the findings and conclusions may not be generalized to apply to other populations, more so, those of a different ethnicity.
  • In response to the research question, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” it said that there are certainly many other thin hair reasons that the study was not able to measure and that may be linked to both smoking and baldness. Therefore, the any direct relationship between smoking and baldness cannot be proven without accounting for other factors that cause hair loss although, smoking, indeed can be a contributing factor.

    The second study investigates the connection between smoking and hair loss but also looks into the possible links between hair loss and other factors like stress, quality of intimate relationships, habits, and lifestyle. The research was facilitated by plastic surgeon, Bahman Guyuron, MD, in Ohio, where 90 male and 98 female identical twins were asked to participate. Among the study findings are as follows:

  • The female twin who has lost a spouse or, was divorced experienced hair loss more than the other who was in a happy marriage.
  • The male twin who smokes and drinks alcohol heavily was at higher risk for male pattern baldness, all things, including family history for going bald having been considered.

Related: Be Your Own Caretaker with Simple Hair Tips

More Evidence?

Seriously, you don’t need an expert to give you a professional’s guarantee that smoking habits may be causing you to lose your hair. Sure, the reasons can also include hair color mistakes or, the lack of proper food for hair growth but, that does not eliminate smoking as a highly probable cause, does it?

How does smoking cause hair loss? Here’s a quick rundown that answers that question as well as provide an explanation of how does smoking thin your hair:

  • Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic and there are several of which that are confirmed carcinogens, all of which affect essentially how your body functions, all the way to your hair follicles and hair strands.
  • Smoking speeds up the rate of aging. When your vital organs, as well as the cells that support hair growth, are aging faster than it should be, you can expect to look older and to feel older too — that includes thinning out, falling out, and greying hair.
  • So, how does nicotine cause hair loss? Nicotine and carbon monoxide, along with other toxic chemicals in smoke, constrict your blood vessels, compromising your otherwise normal and healthy circulation. In effect, this limits the amount and quality of oxygen and other nutrients that reach your scalp which also limits the amount of energy and nutrition available to grow your hair.
  • Smoking damages the dermal hair papilla which houses every strand of your hair, nutrient deprivation being one of the major causes but also, the presence of high levels of toxins in your blood.
  • The toxins contained in cigarette smoke can also alter the DNA of the hair follicle which, in effect, re-programs the growth cycle of your hair, making the mechanism perform poorer and you lose more hair in the process.

    How else does smoking cause hair loss? The toxins eventually accumulate in your liver, slowly but surely poisoning your body and showing the results all over your skin and your scalp.

Can It Get Any Worse?

Hair loss conditions do get worse if you don’t do anything about your habits and lifestyle to change it. Beyond your hair fall treatment conditioner or, your scalp massaging ritual, getting thicker hair after quitting smoking is not possible without actively making important changes to your lifestyle.

Beyond knowing how does smoking cause hair loss, here are other contributing facts that make your balding even worse:

  • Male pattern baldness, which affects two-thirds of men as they grow older, is known to be partly caused by male sex hormones.
  • Lower testosterone levels lead to hair loss in men, however, higher levels help them keep their thick crowns but, at the expense of weight gain.
  • When male hormones become overactive, it also creates and releases free radicals that attach your system, that includes your hair and scalp which results to thinning hair and hair loss.
  • Stress-related hair loss and the stress condition known as alopecia have been observed more commonly among women than men.
  • Calorie-restricted diets and nutrient deficiencies, most notably concerning zinc and selenium which are important in maintaining a high antioxidant level, as well as Vitamins A, C, and D, lead to self-destruction of cells, one of the more visible effects of which is hair loss.
  • Hair health responds to stress which affects your immune response. When your immune response is low, one of the first mechanisms to be compromised is hair growth.
  • Ethnicity is also major factor when it comes to baldness, with caucasians showing the worst manifestations and rates of hair loss.

Related: 6 Tips and Tricks How to Have Beautiful Hair

After Quitting — What’s Next?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” you must now act on the problem to keep your hair from falling out more. Listed below are several solutions that show smoking hair loss can be reversible:

1. Deal With Your Stress

Deal Your Stress With Meditation Rather Than Smoking

In the same way that smoking and acne cannot be reversed by medications alone, there is no product that can reverse your hair loss all by itself, without you taking a better grip of your thoughts and your lifestyle. Learn to maintain a positive outlook and stop worrying.

2. Address Nutritional Deficiencies

Through an in-depth literature review, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetology and Trichology in April 2017, it was highly recommended that hair loss treatments must also look into the underlying nutritional deficiencies of the condition, finding ways for the person affected to derive the nutrients required by the body in levels that are sufficient for cells to restore normal functions.

3. Stay Away From Toxic Products

Toxic Products Can Lead Hair Loss

There’s way too much toxins in your body already as a result of smoking. Pure coconut oil, argan oil, and other essential oils will make great rubs to restore the health of your scalp as these oils penetrate deeply and have natural healing properties to help you regain your thick tresses ASAP.


Toxins are a major factor identified on how does smoking cause hair loss. Help your body get rid of toxins to speed up recovery of your cells including your hair. Juice up bitter herbs mixed with citrus fruits to help cleanse your liver and kidneys.

Related: Hair Care Tips: Follow 7 Hair Care Habits to Get Long and Thick Hair


Even after becoming aware about how does smoking cause hair loss, you must know that even this vanity concern has very strong underlying health causes — all tracing back to your smoking habits. When you do notice thinning hair, don’t doubt that quitting can help reverse your condition because, really, what have you got to lose when you quit?

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