Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss in Women?

smoke and hairloss

These days, it’s pretty common knowledge that cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens. These can wreak tremendous havoc on your body, especially if you’re a long-term smoker who indulges in large quantities of cigarettes daily. Aside from the obvious lung cancer, smoking can lead to a whole host of other physical illnesses, ailments, and severe side effects—particularly for female smokers. While smoking doesn’t have a direct connection to hair loss in women, and not all women who smoke are guaranteed to lose their hair as a result of their bad habit, smoking certainly appears to increase their chances of going bald a lot faster. 


smoke and hairloss

The Cycle of Hair Production


Hair follicles all over your body go through a continuous and repetitive hair production cycle. It begins with the anagen phase, during which new hair is produced. Then, it transitions into the catagen phase, during which the fully grown hair strands become detached from their blood vessels. Lastly, each hair follicle enters into the telogen effluvium phase, otherwise known as the resting phase during which they cease to produce any new hair strands. Like all other tissues in your body, hair follicles rely on receiving a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals that are delivered through the bloodstream in order to thrive.


How Smoking Indirectly Causes Hair Loss


Unfortunately, the carcinogens and toxins produced by cigarette smoke enter the bloodstream and effectively obstruct the organs and bodily tissues from receiving the important nutrients that keep them alive and functioning normally. This includes hair follicles, which means that there’s actually a slight connection between smoking and hair loss in women. Numerous scientific studies have shown how the chemicals in cigarettes can have adverse effects on the hair regeneration cycle. Without adequate nutrition, the hair follicles become stressed and prematurely enter either a permanent or prolonged resting phase. During this time, hair strands continue to fall out at a normal pace. The difference is that the hair follicles aren’t working towards replacing the fallen strands, which is how smoking can indirectly cause hair loss in women.


Another important factor that often comes into play is emotional stress. People tend to either start smoking or smoke more cigarettes when they’re feeling pressured, stressed, or anxious due to life’s circumstances. It’s like a vicious cycle in the sense that the more stressed out you feel, the more you feel the urge to smoke. Unfortunately, smoking only provides temporary relief with long-term consequences, without actually solving any of the problems that are responsible for the stress in the first place.


Reversing Hair Loss After Quitting Smoking


The good news is that the hair loss women experience due to smoking is totally reversible and treatable once all of the nicotine and other harmful contaminants have been completely expelled from the body. After you quit smoking, your body will slowly begin to recuperate and return to its normal functions. However, if you’re a long-term smoker, you might need some additional treatment like a hair transplant or graft to help regenerate the hair that you lost.


Hair Loss Treatments for Smokers and Ex-Smokers


The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists has been helping both women and men regain their youthful looks and confidence through our extensive experience in recommending and administering the most effective and modern hair loss treatments. Patients from all over the world visit our renowned clinic because, for over 30 years, we’ve guaranteed spectacular results. If you’re interested in learning more about our clinic, or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our hair restorative experts, please contact us at 905-272-0190 or toll-free at 1-800-563-3836 .

by Ken Robson

In business since August 1, 1986, I am the president and also a client at The Canadian Institute of Hair & Scalp Specialists. Having worked with a team of Doctors and Chemists over the years I have compiled a great deal of knowledge in this area, originally involved with a Pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins for the hair loss industry. Years ago I was fascinated by the new developments in this area as my own hair was beginning to thin. Studying Trichology at the Toronto clinic I then opened my own office and have enjoyed it ever since.