There's no question that smoking cigarettes can have a negative impact on your overall health. Along with making you more likely to develop respiratory problems, oral cancer, and heart disease, smoking can also affect your appearance and lead to premature aging. But what effect can it have on the texture and appearance of your hair? If you're interested in the connection between smoking and hair loss, here's what you should know from the trusted hair restoration specialists at LH Hair.
Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
While there is some debate as to whether smoking directly or indirectly leads to hair loss, it's clear that smoking can make you more likely to lose your hair. This is true for both men and women.
In a study performed in 2020, researchers discovered that 425 out of 500 smokers between the ages of 20-35 had some degree of hair loss, while only 200 out of 500 non-smokers had signs of hair loss. According to the Hamilton-Norwood scale of hair loss, grade 3 is seen as a deep recession along the hairline, while grade 4 includes balding along the vortex. In the study, 47% of smokers had grade 3 hair loss and 24% had grade 4, while only 10% of non-smokers reached grade 3 or 4. Clearly, the use of tobacco and nicotine found in cigarettes contributed to these findings.
Why Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?
No one is certain why smoking causes hair loss, but there are many factors that could contribute to it. Some of these include:
- Poor blood circulation to your scalp
- A weakened immune system
- Inflammation caused by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines
- Scarred hair follicles because of too many cytokines
- Hormonal changes that alter your hair's normal growth cycle
Other Ways Smoking Affects Your Hair
Smoking doesn't only make your hair fall out. It can also negatively impact your hair in other ways, such as:
- Causing it to turn grey prematurely, for some people before they turn 30
- Making it more brittle
- Drying it out
- Giving it a yellowish color
Signs that smoking may be affecting the texture and appearance of your hair include:
- Smelling like smoke
- Your scalp is yellow and/or thicker than usual
- Dry, itchy scalp
Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking probably won't be an easy endeavor, but it will be well worth it to improve your overall health and prevent more hair loss from occurring. To help you quit smoking as quickly as possible, consider using one or more of these:
- Nicotine replacement options, such as patches or gum
- Medications prescribed by your doctor to lower your cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- Find support with a friend or support group who can encourage you and hold you accountable
- Avoid places that may make you want to smoke more, such as bars
How to Treat Hair Loss from Smoking
When it comes to regrowing your thinning hair, it's important to address the root cause of your hair loss. For this reason, it's best to quit smoking before seeking other hair growth treatments. If you'd like to achieve a thicker head of hair after you stop using tobacco, there are a variety of hair restoration options available. At LH Hair, our knowledgeable hair restoration experts can help you through your hair regrowth journey by determining the source of your hair loss, creating a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs, and styling your hair in a way that makes you feel confident. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation to take the first step in achieving the thick, beautiful hair you have in mind.