Hair loss? Are you a smoker?

April 03, 2009

I can’t stand cigar smoke, can you? My nostrils started burning after a trip to Las Vegas because I was a victim to passive smoking the whole of the time I walked through the casinos.  And I was glad to be in a non-smoking zone for two minutes as I felt I had taken in more smoke in 3 days than I had in my entire life.

We all know the harmful effects of smoking. Recent researches in the National Taiwan University point at smoking as a triggering factor for premature hair loss or alopecia. Chain smokers or those who burnt 20 or more cigars a day are a greater risk than others, according to this study.

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of baldness found in men. It is a type of progressive thinning of hair, more or less genetic, also supported by other environmental factors. Medicines, hormonal changes, stress, infection, or any underlying disease can contribute to hair loss. In women, the use of pigtails. cornrows, the use of tight hair rollers or the use of anything that pulls on hair and be harsh to it can cause the miserable things to fall out. Hormonal changes during pregnancy also lead to hair loss in some women. But hair grows back without hesitation once they are out of all the ordeal. Female-pattern baldness in women is not uncommon.

What happens with smokers?

It is funny that no one has so far been able to establish a direct relation between loss of hair and smoking. Yet, there are many theories on how they can be related. But all the theories point out the same thing that smoking does have a negative impact on blood circulation.

1.    It is through blood that the cells get their oxygen, nutrients and minerals.  Smoking is found to be interfering with the smooth circulation of blood. Hair follicles do not receive their due hormones and nutrients which stimulate hair growth and will let the hair fall!

2.    Smoking can damage the hair follicles by destroying the papilla that circulates the blood.

3.    The carbon monoxide from the smoke reduces the capacity of the blood to carry around oxygen especially to the top!

4.     Smoking can also get you aging rapidly and let your aging symptoms appear faster!

If you have been growing bald and are an earnest smoker, you will have to quit smoking to prevent your increasing baldness. Cardio exercises work well to enhance your blood circulation to the hair follicles and would help to reduce hair loss. You can also consult your doctor or try out some medication or cream to get over your nicotine addiction.

-Aparna K V

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