While it’s common knowledge that smoking can lead to a lot of different health issues, it has never been fully explored whether or not hair loss is directly related. Of course, smoking has a lot of more obvious negative impacts on your lungs, circulatory system, kidney, liver, and the like. And there are a lot of factors that could cause fallout including stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, medications, genetic predisposition, and so on. Because of this, the relation between smoking and fallout is at the very least possible, but not determinate.
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Does Smoking Really Cause It?
It can contribute to a person’s hair quality, no doubt about that. When more vital organs like the liver and kidney are put in jeopardy, the body will automatically put nourishing them as a priority, often at the cost of the quality of a person’s skin and hair. It also affects your body’s general circulation, reducing blood flow to your scalp, thus impairing the flow to your follicles, making them weak and brittle which can cause fallout.
While some men and women are genetically predisposed to go bald as they grow older, it can exacerbate and help speed up the process. Some former smokers have also claimed thicker growth after they quit, but no scientific evidence has been able to back those claims up yet.
As a matter of fact, even passive smokers’ hairs have a chance of becoming affected by just the fumes coming from a smoker’s cigarette. Just by mere exposure, hair can become dry, dull, and lifeless. However, this type of effect does not affect everyone as each individual person has a general state of health that can either protect them from the fumes of the cigarette or contribute further to its detrimental effects.
Will Quitting Stop Fallout?
Your overall health will improve once you quit, and included in that is your hair’s state of wellness. If it was speeding up the balding process, then quitting will help prevent any premature aging and drying of your scalp, thus reducing the chance of fallout. Of course as mentioned previously, a lot of other factors may still be in play but quitting will surely help increase the likelihood of stopping or slowing down fallout.
Quitting may sound appealing due to the health benefits, but you must note that quitting can also expose you to more factors that can cause fallout. The withdrawal that comes from quitting can cause stress, anxiety, frustration, and irritability which are all possible contributors to fallout.
Even a person who doesn’t smoke but is stressed can have a massive amount of fallout, so people trying to quit are not exempted from this possibility. That shouldn’t stop you from quitting though, and you can choose from quitting cold turkey or gradually, so long as you have it set in your mind that you will properly address the possible withdrawal symptoms.
Find alternatives (like learning how to knit to keep your hands occupied or chewing gum to address your oral fixation) so that you will not be tempted to fall off the wagon, and set your mind to improving your lifestyle. Exercising can also help give you something to be preoccupied with and also helps improve the circulation of your blood that was most likely affected when you were smoking.
Will It Grow Back?
While quitting will not reverse the damages that it has already done to your body, it’s a good start to bringing your body back to a level of health where regrowing healthier hair is possible. Apart from staying away from cigarettes, you could try improving your diet so that your body gets the nutrients that it needs to replenish and restore your damaged cells and follicles in order for your hair to start growing again. Apart from restoring your scalp health, you can also look into further strengthening your follicles so that you are less prone to thinning and falling.
Vitamin C can get depleted when you smoke, so getting enough Vitamin C once you quit is vital to helping your body get back on track. It also makes you less susceptible to infections, so your hair won’t be the only thing benefiting from getting the proper dose of Vitamin C. Food like cayenne peppers, garlic, sunflower seeds, and ginger can all help restore good circulation to your body, thus improving the state of your skin, scalp. These also help strengthen and moisturize the new hairs that grow back. Exposure to Vitamin D will also help you ease your withdrawal symptoms and also aid in restoring your follicles to better health.
Your hair is most likely dry and brittle from smoking, so you can try to moisturize and strengthen it with a scalp massage. You can use coconut oil for this as it has a lot of benefits for your skin and scalp. The massage will also increase the blood flow to your scalp, thus strengthening your follicles once more.
Finishing off your shower with the coldest stream of water that you can stand also helps increase blood flow to your hair follicles. It also helps reduce the sallow complexion that smoking can give to you.
If your hair loss still continues after you stop, remember to look into other possible causes that may be causing it and start addressing those as well. Just don’t make it an excuse to start smoking again just because ‘it’s not working as you expect it to.’ Don’t expect immediate results, especially if you have been smoking for a long time as the damages will take longer to heal and be replenished.