You love your hair, and honestly, all of us love our hair – why shouldn’t we?
Your hair is your crowning glory. They play a massive role in how you look and feel. Remember how having a good hair day just makes us a little happier? Well, we know that by now you know the importance of having good and healthy hair! They enhance your confidence, make you feel amazing, and are also an indicator of your personal style!
Now what if we told you that there is something that you are doing that is very harmful for your hair? We are talking about smoking! While most people are aware of the fact that consumption of tobacco increases your chances of developing lung cancer or respiratory problems, a lot of people are unaware of the effect of smoking on hair.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals. When you breathe these chemicals. They travel from your mouth to your lungs and enter your bloodstream. They spread to each and every part of your body via the blood and leave a negative impact everywhere!
It is a lesser-known fact that smoking increases the chances of developing hair loss. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the relationship between smoking and hair loss. In the end, we will also walk you through a few steps that you can adopt to say goodbye to smoking.
How does smoking affect your hair?
According to a 2020 study that compared the prevalence of early-onset patterned baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia) in 20 to 35 years old male smokers and nonsmokers, it was found that 425 out of 500 smokers had some degree of hair loss. While only 200 out of 500 smokers showed signs of hair loss.
On the Hamilton-Norwood scale of hair loss, grade 3 is identified by deep recession along the hairline. At grade 4, there’s balding at your vertex.
The researchers found that 47 percent of the smokers had grade 3 hair loss and 24 percent had grade 4. Only 10 percent of nonsmokers reached grades 3 or 4.
The researchers concluded that nicotine and related chemicals might be responsible for accelerating hair loss, but more research is needed to back this theory.
All these studies and reports clearly establish a strong connection between smoking and hair loss. But how does it actually happen?
Oxidative stress – This is one of the major reasons for increasing hair fall. Smoking can lead to an increase in the production of free radicals in the body. These free radicals react easily with other molecules and damage the DNA of cells.
Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an excessive amount of free radical activity in your body. Exposure to the following can all potentially cause oxidative stress:
- tobacco smoke
- ultraviolet rays
In an older 2003 study, researchers proposed that toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke may lead to damage in the DNA of cells in your hair follicles. Damage to the DNA of these cells may potentially lead to impaired hair growth.
Reduced blood flow to the hair follicles
Smoking is bad for your heart, it damages the blood vessels and reduces the blood flow around your body. This means that your hair follicles in your scalp also get less amount of nutrients. This damages the hair on your head, makes them lose their luster and accelerates hair fall.
Damaging the existing hair
Smoking promotes the release of a protein called cytokines that are responsible for increasing inflammation in the body. This scars thus hair follicles, making them more brittle and prone to fall out.
Additionally, smoking also impacts the estrogen levels in the body. The low estrogen levels impact your hair growth cycle and health of your locks.
Additionally, smoking can also cause early onset of grey hair and make your hair drier, increasing the chances of hair loss.
Can quitting prevent hair loss?
Well, by logic, quitting smoking can definitely stop the smoking induced hair loss. It is definitely possible to reverse the smoking induced damage to the hair. If you are noticing that your hair is getting thinner day by day, it’s high time to say goodbye to smoking for good.
Quitting smoking will definitely have a transformative effect on your physical and mental health. When you quit smoking, the level of free radicals and cytokines will decrease gradually in your body. This will minimize the harmful impact. Your estrogen levels will grow back up and help you grow your hair back, stronger and thicker.
How to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking is not an easy journey but is definitely a fulfilling one. You can take advantage of NRT products like nicotine gums, Nicotine Tablets or nicotine patches to manage your nicotine cravings. You can make some lifestyle adjustments to manage your smoking triggers. You can also indulge in some mindful activities to manage your stress levels. The point is there is a lot that you can do to stay away from smoking. Help is available all around you, all you need to do is reach out and have a strong will power.
You can even get in touch with your healthcare provider. They will help analyze your smoking patterns and triggers. This will help you with a more planned and structured way of quitting. In the end remember that quitting, however difficult, is possible!