Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss – Smoking & Hair Connection

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss - Smoking & Hair Connection
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Most people are aware that smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer and respiratory diseases. However, smoking has harmful health effects that extend beyond your lungs.

Smoking can weaken your immune system, which can result in diseases or conditions that cause hair loss.

Continue reading as we delve deeper into the numerous ways that smoking may result in hair loss.

How Smoking Causes Hair Loss

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss - Smoking & Hair Connection

Smoking tobacco can potentially damage your hair follicles and increase your risk of developing hair loss.

A 2020 study compared the prevalence of early-onset androgenetic alopecia in male smokers and nonsmokers between 20 to 35 years old. Male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness are other names for androgenetic alopecia.

Only 200 of the 500 nonsmokers showed any signs of hair loss, the researchers discovered, compared to 425 of the 500 smokers who had some degree of hair loss.

On the Hamilton-Norwood scale of hair loss, grade 3 is identified by deep recession along the hairline. At grade 4, your vertex begins to bald.

The study’s findings revealed that 24% and 47% of smokers, respectively, had grade 3 and grade 4 hair loss, respectively. Only 10% of non-smokers completed grades three or four.

The researchers came to the conclusion that nicotine and associated chemicals may hasten hair loss, but further study is required to support this theory.

In addition to oxidative stress and decreased blood flow to your hair follicles, smoking may also cause hair loss.

Oxidative Stress

The amount of free radicals produced by your body increases when you smoke. Free radicals are molecules that readily interact with other molecules in your body and have the potential to harm the DNA of your cells.

When your body produces too many free radicals, oxidative stress develops. Exposure to the following can all potentially cause oxidative stress:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pollution
  • Radiation
  • Ultraviolet rays

In a previous study from 2003, researchers suggested that the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke might cause harm to the DNA of cells in your hair follicles. Impaired hair growth could result from damage to these cells’ DNA.

A 2018 research review found that cells in the hair follicles of balding scalps are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress.

Reduced Blood Flow to Your Hair Follicles

Your cardiovascular and blood circulation may suffer as a result of tobacco product chemicals. The FDATrusted Source says that smoking also causes a buildup of plaque in your blood vessels that raises your risk of developing conditions like:

  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke

Blood vessels nourish your hair follicles and allow the delivery of nutrientsTrusted Source and elimination of waste. Hair damage or hair loss could result from poor blood circulation to the scalp.

Other Ways Smoking May Contribute to Hair Loss

Smoking may lead to other changes in your body that contribute to hair loss. Some factors that have been proposed include:

  • promoting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, signaling proteins that promote inflammation
  • scarring of your hair follicles due to increased levels of cytokines
  • changing enzyme levels that control tissue remodeling in your hair growth cycle
  • increasing hydroxylation of the hormone estradiol and inhibition of the enzyme aromatase that leads to a state of low estrogen levels

Does Vaping Cause Hair Loss?

At this time, the health effects of vaping are still widely unknown. Researchers are still trying to understand all of the effects that vaping products have on your body because the market for them is still relatively new.

Significant proof that vaping may lead to DNA oxidative stress and damage was discovered in a 2018 report. Although more research is required to fully comprehend the effects of vaping on your hair, theoretically, oxidative stress and DNA damage may contribute to hair loss.

Is Smoking-caused Hair Loss Reversible?

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss - Smoking & Hair Connection

You can repair some of the harm that smoking has done to your body when you stop smoking. For instance, if you abstain from smoking for 15 years, your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke is the same as it would be for someone who has never smoked.

It’s unclear if smoking-related hair loss can be reversed. When a medical condition is the cause of hair loss, some people can experience noticeable hair regrowth.

You probably won’t observe a significant regrowth if you have male- or female-pattern hair loss. You might discover that using Rogaine (minoxidil) helps you achieve a modest amount of regrowth.

Smoking has been linked to serious hair loss conditions like androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. To help manage its effects, the following can be used:


Minoxidil may be able to lessen hair loss when applied topically as a liquid solution or foam formulation. It achieves this by acting as a vasodilator, or, more simply put, by widening the blood vessels in the area where it is applied. Increased blood flow to the area is made possible by doing this, which may encourage hair growth.

While its mechanism of action isn’t 100 percent understood, minoxidil is also able to somehow push your hair out of its resting (telogen) stage, right before it falls out. In order to prematurely initiate the growth or anagen phase, it does this.

Additionally, minoxidil has the ability to prolong the growth phase, enabling fuller, thicker hair growth.


By preventing testosterone from converting to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, this medication promotes hair growth.

DHT is a hormone that is known to cause hair loss by shrinking hair follicles. The eventual growth of them might be prevented by this.

The use of finasteride as an oral medication is authorized. It requires consistent use to see results for hair growth.


You’ll recall that tobacco smoke has pro-inflammatory effects that can lead to hair loss.

Corticosteroids are steroid hormones with anti-inflammatory properties. They might lessen hair loss, and extremely potent corticosteroids might even promote hair regrowth.

Using creams, gels, ointments, and foams, corticosteroids can be applied topically. Alopecia areata can also be treated with oral corticosteroids, which are equally effective.

Smoking cessation may be able to stop further hair loss, though there isn’t much evidence to suggest that it will promote hair growth.

Strategies to Quit Smoking

Although quitting smoking is challenging, it can improve many aspects of your health. Your best chance of quitting successfully can be increased with the assistance of a doctor.

Here are some tips for quitting smoking that you may find helpful.

  • Theory of nicotine replacement. Some people find it helpful to gradually reduce their nicotine intake by using nicotine patches, gum, or inhalers. They lessen withdrawal symptoms by gradually reducing nicotine consumption.
  • Prescription drugs. Your cravings and withdrawal symptoms may be reduced with the aid of Chantix, Zyban, and other prescription medications. These drugs might be combined with the nicotine replacement strategy.
  • Alternative therapies. You might be able to overcome smoking-related habits with the aid of some alternative therapies. Some options include hypnosis, acupuncture, and medications
  • Support therapies. It’s possible that therapies like counseling or support groups make it simpler for you to quit.
  • Avoid areas where people smoke. Staying away from areas where people are smoking may help you reduce temptation.
  • Quitting apps. There are numerous apps available to aid in quitting smoking.
  • Quit cold turkey. When you stop smoking cold turkey, you may experience more intense withdrawal symptoms than when you quit gradually. It might, however, make quitting your nicotine habit easier for you.
Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss - Smoking & Hair Connection


Chemistries can enter your blood from your lungs when you inhale tobacco smoke. These chemicals are transported by your blood to various body regions where they may have detrimental effects on a variety of aspects of your health.

Smoking is thought to contribute to hair loss in a number of ways, including by decreasing blood flow to your scalp and harming the DNA in your hair follicles. Quitting smoking may help you achieve a limited amount of hair regrowth and positively impact your health in many other ways.


Will My Hair Grow Back If I Quit Smoking?

The best way to reverse the effects of smoking on hair is by quitting. The good news is that hair loss brought on by smoking is reversible and treatable once all contaminants have been removed from your body. Once you quit, hair grows back, as your body starts to heal and function normally.

Does Smoking Cause Permanent Hair Loss?

Smoking is thought to contribute to hair loss in several ways, including by decreasing blood flow to the scalp and harming the DNA of your hair follicles. Quitting smoking may help you achieve a limited amount of hair regrowth and positively impact your health in many other ways.

What Happens After 1 Month of Not Smoking?

A month without cigarettes, your body is already well into the self-healing process. As your lung capacity and function improve, you’ll notice breathing is less difficult. The ability to engage in cardiovascular exercise is reestablished as circulation and athletic endurance both increase.

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