Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Does smoking cause hair loss? Many people are aware that smoking tobacco increases the risk of lung cancer and respiratory illnesses, but the harmful effects of smoking extend beyond the lungs. One of the lesser-known consequences of smoking is an increased likelihood of hair loss.

A study in 2018 revealed that tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, with at least 69 known to cause cancer. These harmful chemicals, when inhaled, can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, affecting various parts of the body, including the hair follicles.

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, smoking can cause hair loss due to reduced blood flow to hair follicles, oxidative stress, and immune system damage caused by toxic chemicals like nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco.

Smoking can damage hair follicles and increase the risk of hair loss. A 2020 study compared the prevalence of early-onset androgenetic alopecia (a common form of hair loss) in male smokers and nonsmokers aged 20 to 35. The results showed that 425 out of 500 smokers experienced some degree of hair loss, compared to only 200 out of 500 nonsmokers.

The researchers suggested that nicotine and related chemicals might accelerate hair loss, although more research is needed to confirm this theory. Additionally, smoking can cause oxidative stress and reduce blood flow to the hair follicles, both of which contribute to hair loss.

Causes of Hair Loss Due to Smoking

1- Oxidative Stress

Smoking increases the production of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage the DNA of cells, including those in hair follicles. Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an excess of free radicals, leading to potential hair growth impairment.

2- Reduced Blood Flow

Chemicals in tobacco can negatively affect circulation and cardiovascular health, leading to plaque buildup in blood vessels. This impaired blood flow can deprive hair follicles of essential nutrients and lead to hair loss or damage.

Other Ways Smoking May Contribute to Hair Loss

Smoking can promote the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that encourage inflammation and potentially scar hair follicles. It can also alter enzyme levels involved in hair growth and decrease estrogen levels, further contributing to hair loss.

Vaping and Hair Loss

The health effects of vaping are still being studied, but initial evidence suggests that vaping could cause oxidative stress and DNA damage, potentially leading to hair loss. However, more research is needed to understand vaping’s full impact on hair health.

Is Hair Loss from Smoking Reversible?

Quitting smoking can reverse some of the damage caused to the body, but it’s unclear if hair loss specifically can be fully reversed. Some individuals may experience limited hair regrowth, especially if the hair loss was due to a medical condition. Products like Rogaine (minoxidil) may help in achieving some regrowth, but results can vary.

How to Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is challenging but offers numerous health benefits, including potential improvements in hair health. Here are some strategies to help quit smoking:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Using nicotine patches, gums, or inhalers can help reduce nicotine intake gradually and minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Prescription Drugs: Medications like Chantix and Zyban can ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Alternative Therapies: Hypnosis, acupuncture, and meditation may help break smoking habits.
  • Support Therapies: Counseling or support groups can provide encouragement and strategies for quitting.
  • Avoid Smoking Environments: Staying away from areas where people smoke can reduce temptation.
  • Quitting Apps: Many apps are available to support smoking cessation.
  • Quit Cold Turkey: Stopping smoking abruptly can lead to intense withdrawal symptoms but may help overcome nicotine addiction more quickly.


Smoking has numerous adverse effects on health, including an increased risk of hair loss. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage hair follicles, cause oxidative stress, and reduce blood flow to the scalp. Quitting smoking can potentially improve hair health and offer other significant health benefits.

Feel free to contact us at Kardelen Clinic for more information on the link between smoking and hair loss.

You may be interested in: ”Causes Of Hair Loss During Pregnancy

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

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