Androgenic alopecia, more commonly known as male or female pattern hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss. But it’s not the only thing that can trigger thinning hair. Conditions such as skin infections, autoimmune disorders, and even emotional stress can cause you to lose your hair. In recent years, researchers have been looking into possible links between hair loss and a habit long known to be hazardous to your health: smoking. At RHRLI, we’re committed to helping our patients have a healthy head of hair. So we want you to understand the research linking smoking and hair loss and how fue transplants can help.
Connecting Hair Loss to Smoking
In 2003, a report by a Swiss dermatologist looked into the effects that smoking has on the skin. The research cited earlier studies that have found a connection between premature aging and smoking. Dr. Ralph M. Trueb wrote that heavy and long-term smoking causes small blood vessels in the scalp to narrow. Research also shows smoking can also damage the DNA of hair follicles and that evidence of nicotine has been found in smokers’ hair. The study said there was a “significant relationship” between smoking and hair loss. Dr. Trueb recommended that increasing public awareness of the links between smoking and hair loss can be another tool in educating the public about the dangers of tobacco.
Heavy Smoking and Thinning Hair
Another study published in the Archives of Dermatology which looked into the implications of smoking on hair loss was conducted in Taiwan in 2007. The researchers studied a group of 740 Taiwanese men between the ages of 40 and 91 over a span of a little more than two months. They were chosen because Asian men generally have low rates of hereditary hair loss, according to the New York Times. Controls were put in place to account for age and family history.
The results showed a clear link between smoking and hair loss. It was particularly strong for those who smoked 20 cigarettes or more a day. They were more than twice as likely than non-smokers to have moderate to severe hair loss, according to the British newspaper the Daily Mail. The risk of hair loss also increased even among those who had quit smoking. As a general rule, the study found that Asian men were still less likely than Caucasian men to develop hair loss. The research does not definitively establish that smoking can cause hair loss, but it does establish a link between cigarettes and thinning hair.
Women and Hair Loss
There is less research on the connection between smoking and hair loss for women, but a 2011 study of identical twins by Dr. Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon at Case Western Reserve University, found that if one of the female twins was a smoker, they’d be more likely to have hair loss, according to Time.com.