Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Smoking Can Cause Hair Loss

Smoking cigarettes causes damage to hair follicles that can lead to hair loss.

Research shows there is a link between smoking and hair loss. This risk factor appears to be increased when combined with other factors, such as body weight. 71

Researchers believe that some of the ways smoking causes hair loss include the following: 7172

  • Inflammatory effects that cigarette smoke has on the smallest blood vessels of dermal hair papilla.
  • Toxic damage to hair follicle DNA.
  • Imbalance in the hair follicle systems that control parts of the hair growth cycle.
  • Inflammatory effects that lead to cell damage and development of fibrotic tissue in the hair follicle.
  • Creation of a hypo-estrogenic state by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme responsible for creating the estrogenic hormone estradiol.

Evidence of Link Between Smoking and Hair Loss

Study Details Type of Hair Loss Results
Cross-sectional study involving 600 patients. 71

Common Male Balding

(Androgenetic Hair Loss)

Significant positive correlation between hair loss and smoking status in men. 71
Population study involving 740 Asian men aged 40-91 years old. 309

Common Male Balding

(Androgenetic Alopecia)

Smoking status and current amount of cigarette smoking significantly increased the risk of moderate to severe hair loss. 309
Retrospective study involving 2 groups of women with PCOS: 217 nonsmokers and 92 smokers. 310

Female Androgenetic Hair Loss

Effects of smoking on hormone levels, which can impact hair loss. 8310

Free testosterone levels were significantly higher in the group of smokers. Free testosterone can be converted to DHT, which is linked to increased hair loss. 310
Cross-sectional study involving 351 Caucasians with hair loss. 311

Androgenetic Alopecia

Smoking cigarettes combined with a BMI of 25 or more increases the risk of moderate to severe hair loss by 6 times. 311
Cross-sectional study involving 398 males age 17-72 years old. 312

Common Male Balding and Grey Hair

Smoking significantly increased the risk of smoking, but did not increase the risk of grey hair. 312

However, it should be noted 2 other studies found a significant link between smoking and grey hair. Smoking may also be a risk factor for premature (onset before age 30) of grey hair. 313314

Medical Treatment

Smoking cessation should be the first treatment option, given the many health benefits in addition to stopping any hair loss. 71

Herbal and Supplement Treatment Options

Animal studies suggest that oral supplements of L-cystine (oxidized form of L-cysteine) and vitamin B6 could help prevent hair loss caused by smoking. 233

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Medical term for hair loss.
Located at the base of the hair follicle, this structure is fed by tiny blood vessels that carry nutrients necessary to grow hair, contains androgen receptors, and controls the hair growth cycle. 68