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Smoking & Hair Loss: What You Need To Know

Narrowing down the specific cause of hair loss can sometimes be tricky. There are things that we know can contribute to hair loss – making it worse or causing it to start sooner than usual. Smoking and vaping are tied to early hair loss.

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, according to the National Institutes of Health“Smoking may lead to hair loss by vasoconstriction, by forming DNA adducts, free radical damage to hair follicle, by enhancing senescence and hormonal effects.”

But what exactly does that mean?

Smoking, by itself, is unlikely to cause hair loss. But smoking contributes to a whole bunch of other things that can make you lose your hair. First and foremost, if you are already prone to genetic hair loss then smoking will likely make you start losing hair earlier and make the hair loss worse.

According to a 2020 study, smokers were almost twice as likely as non-smokers to have significant hair loss. This study focused on people in their 20s and early 30s… people younger than those with a typical onset of genetic baldness.

In addition, smoking can increase the body’s production of free radicals – the type of molecules that attach to your cells and damage your DNA. This is the same type of reaction our bodies have when exposed to pollution or radiation.

If that weren’t enough, the chemicals in cigarette smoke are also generally considered to be vasoconstrictors. This means that they tighten your blood vessels and make it harder for nutrients and proteins your hair needs to reach the hair follicle.

Does Vaping Cause Hair Loss?

While vaping was initially promoted as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, many of the chemicals – like nicotine – which enter your body from cigarettes are also entering your body when you vape.

Though there are not the breadth of studies on vaping that there are with cigarette smoking, physiologists say that initial research shows that vaping results in the same autoimmune suppression and inflammation in the nasal passages as smoking does.

The study shows “e-cigarettes are often advertised as “less harmful” than conventional cigarettes and the effects that vaping e-cigarettes may have on respiratory mucosal immune responses are completely unknown. A few animal studies suggest that inhalation of e-cigarette vapor increases susceptibility to viral and microbial infections.”

Experts conclude that, based on their initial studies, vaping has similar effects on hair loss to smoking. Even lifestyle magazines are emphasizing the harmful effects of vaping, pointing out that it can cause hair loss and premature wrinkles.

Talk to BayMed Hair and Aesthetics About Restoring Your Hair Line

The good news for smokers and vapers is that the science indicates stopping these habits can help you stop losing hair. In fact, when your hair follicles start getting proper nutrients again, some of that hair might even grow back.

But figuring out all the things that are causing your hair loss, what you can to do to stop it, and how to look your best is not a journey you need to take alone. At BayMed Hair and Aesthetics, we can help you find the causes of your hair loss and develop a plan to make it better. We can even help with hair replacement options. Call us today to discuss your hair recovery plan.

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