Can smoking make a difference in your hair growth? Though many people may not realize one can impact the other, this could be one of the reasons you are seeing thinning hair or hair loss overall. You may know the risks of smoking – the increased risk of conditions such as heart disease and cancer. And, those are good reasons to stop smoking on their own. Yet, for many, hair loss could be another motivator to encourage you to stop smoking. But what is the problem? Why is smoking causing you to lose your hair?
What You Are Taking in Is Causing the Damage
There are a wide range of potential reasons why hair loss – or even early graying of your hair – can happen if you are a smoker. However, studies continue to show us one significant link. Smoking introduces a wide range of toxins into the body. Those toxins – which also cause cancer – are impacting the overall health of your scalp and hair follicles. They can cause enough damage to the hair follicles to stop hair from growing properly.
Another concern is the impact that smoking has on hormones. Hormones are very much important for hair growth. If your hormone levels are not right or you have hormones that are imbalanced for long periods of time, it can impact your hair growth. Smoking can alter hormone levels and production levels, creating an increased risk of developing hair loss.
How Does It Happen?
One of the concerns with smoking is the way it impacts your skin’s overall health. The toxins within cigarettes and other tobacco-based products can cause damage to the skin’s cells. It is not uncommon for premature skin aging to occur. This is one of the things we see in many people who smoke for long periods of time. Their skin ages faster. It thins out sooner. It also is more likely to be wrinkled or have age spots. All of this comes from the impact of those toxins on the cells themselves.
Those toxins create inflammation in skin cells. Over time, this inflammation damages the skin in various ways. One of those ways is impacting the follicles themselves. By alerting the structure of the follicles, it limits the follicle’s ability to produce hair. Over time, hair cannot grow in these areas and, as a result, you have thinning hair.
Smoking also constricts the blood vessels throughout your body. The more it does this, the more potential damage it creates to those cells. When the body cannot get oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the skin cells, those cells cannot operate the way they should. That leads to further inflammation and damage. Damage like this is hard to overcome, too.
Can Smoking Cause Baldness?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to balding. Genetics is the main reason for it. However, there is evidence that balding can occur sooner in those people who smoke. Again, that is due to the damage the toxins create in the body. It is not uncommon for people who smoke and who have a predisposition for baldness to see hair loss occur sooner.
Can You Reverse the Damage Smoking Causes?
If you are just experiencing the beginning stages of hair thinning due to smoking, it may be possible to stop it from worsening. It may also be possible for you to reduce the impact smoking has on hormones. If your hair loss is due to an imbalance of hormones, you can count on seeing a significant improvement from no longer smoking and correcting those balances.
However, if your hair loss occurs as a result of damage to hair follicles, that may not be easy or even possible to reverse. If you stop smoking, you may be able to prevent additional hair loss. It may not be possible, on the other hand, to see an improvement if your skin is significantly damaged from smoking.
What should you do right now? Stop smoking. Work with your doctor about smoking cessation options. And, be sure to talk to your doctor about any skin concerns you already have. The sooner you work to treat these concerns, the more likely it is, you can stop and potentially reverse the damage.