Smoking and Hair Loss

By now, it’s common knowledge that smoking is one of the worst habits you can have. It can increase your risk of cancer and heart disease and hurt your teeth and gums. Did you know that it may also have an effect on your hair? Here are some of the different ways smoking leads to hair loss.

Weaker Immune System

Cigarettes are filled with tar and other harmful chemicals, which can weaken your immune system and make it harder for you to fight off illnesses. If you smoke regularly, you won’t just find yourself sick with the flu or cold more frequently. You may also notice that you’re losing more hair every day. With a weakened immune system, you have a bigger risk of developing a fungal or bacterial infection on your scalp, preventing your hair follicles from producing hair.

Poor Blood Circulation

The chemicals in cigarettes can also shrink your blood vessels and negatively affect blood flow. This means that your blood vessels will have a difficult time delivering oxygen and nutrients to different parts of your body, including your scalp. Your hair follicles depend on these nutrients to produce hair. Without them, your hair growth cycle can get interrupted. 

How Do You Quit Smoking?

Now that you know how smoking can lead to hair loss, you may have more motivation to quit. Quitting this harmful habit isn’t easy, but not impossible. Here are some different methods to quitting.

  • Medications: There are several medications available on the market that may be able to help you quit smoking. Nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges and nicotine patches are well-known medications for quitting smoking and available over-the-counter. 
  • Behavioral Therapy: This involves working with a mental health counselor to find ways to quit smoking. He or she may help you find what triggers you to smoke and help you work around them.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Many people smoke to relieve stress. Instead of smoking, try relaxation techniques, like meditation, deep breathing or yoga.
  • Exercise: Exercising can have a lot of positive effects, including distracting you from tobacco cravings. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, do something physical, like jogging or riding your bike. If you can’t get outside, do some squats, jumping jacks or run in place.
  • Join a Support Group: Believe it or not, there are support groups out there for people who want to quit smoking. Being around others with similar goals can help you finally break the habit. They may be able to share how they’ve stopped their tobacco cravings.

Dealing with Permanent Hair Loss?

If your hair still hasn’t grown back even after you have quit smoking, you may want to think about getting a hair transplant. This surgical procedure involves removing hair from one part of your body and then implanting it into your scalp. The results are very natural looking and can help restore your self-confidence. Schedule a consultation with a hair transplant surgeon, like Dr. Robin Unger, today to find out more. 


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