Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss | Reasons It’s Harmful, How To Control It

Does smoking cause hair loss? How exactly does smoking affect your hair health? And what can you do to prevent this hair loss? Read on to know more about it in this article!

It is not news that smoking is bad for your health. Everyone knows that smoking has numerous short-term and long-term implications that could even prove to be fatal. 

It also affects your appearance and makes you look dull and leads to the early onset of aging. 

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Since smoking can prove to be very addictive, it is difficult to cut it down once you get into the habit of it. Most people tend to ignore the side effects of this toxic habit for a long time. 

It makes you age faster and causes the formation of wrinkles on your face. Since it affects every organ of your body, it is no surprise that it can lead to hair loss. 

Let us look at why tobacco is so harmful to the body.

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss 2021

Smoking leads to hair loss and thinning in mainly three different ways given below. A lot of studies confirm the link between smoking and hair loss. This can be easily avoided if you cut back on the habit but there are other ways to tackle this issue. 

Poor blood circulation on the scalp

does smoking cause hair loss

The numerous toxic chemicals that are present in the cigarette can enter your body and even your blood. 

This shrinks your blood vessels and slows down your circulation. This can even lead to serious conditions like heart attacks, blood clots, and stroke. 

Your scalp needs proper blood circulation to create a healthy environment for hair growth. When this stops, it interrupts the natural hair growth cycle and leads to thinning and hair fall. 

Weakens the immune system

We all know how damaging cigarettes are to every organ of your body. It also takes a toll on your immunity and makes you vulnerable to a lot of health concerns.

A compromised immune system can also lead to a lot of bacterial or fungal infections on your scalp including dandruff and eczema. 

This makes your scalp extremely unhealthy and damages your scalp which in turn causes hair fall. 

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Environmental pollution

Cigarettes can not only affect you internally, but they can also damage your body externally. This type of hair fall can also be seen in passive smokers who spend a lot of time around people who smoke. 

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The smoke that you release after smoking a cigarette contains many toxins that can come into contact with your hair follicle. The air also contains a lot of smoke when you use cigarettes often. 

This type of hair fall is very common among people who smoke in a closed area like a car or a room. Your hair follicles get damaged when it is exposed to such an environment and leads to hair fall. 

What makes smoking harmful to the hair?

Although cigarettes are mainly composed of dried tobacco leaves, it has a lot of other substances that make it bad for your health. These substances are supposed to give you a better smoking experience. 

There are so many harmful additives in your cigarette that can affect your skin and hair. Some of these chemicals include:

Tar: Tar is an ingredient that leaves residue on your lungs and creates a sticky coating on it. It is produced when the combined substances in the cigarette are burned. 

It causes a lot of damage to your lungs which could probably lead to emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer. 

The level of tar in your lungs can increase when you smoke more cigarettes. It also has the ability to mix with your bloodstream and reach other organs in the body. 

When you are smoking indoors in a place with little ventilation, your body is exposed more to tar so it is recommended to take your smoke breaks outdoors.

hair before and after quitting smoking

Nicotine: Nicotine is the main component in your cigarette that has a direct and visible impact on your hair. It is added to a cigarette to give you that kick of dopamine when you smoke. 

It is associated with so many health risks including gum disease, decreased fertility, compromised immunity, headaches, migraines and other respiratory diseases. 

Hair loss due to increased nicotine use is also one of the most common side effects of this substance. 

Carbon Monoxide: This is another harmful substance that is released when you smoke a cigarette and it has the ability to get into your blood and cause harm to your body. It is usually emitted when something is not fully burned. 

If you have been overexposed to carbon monoxide, you may face dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, mental confusion, and even 

How does nicotine cause hair fall?

does smoking affect hair color

There are so many ways in which nicotine causes hair loss. It can be attributed to the imbalance in the ph levels on your scalp caused by nicotine. It is also known as acidic scalp and leads to major hair loss. 

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When you consume orally, in the form of chewing tobacco and chewing cigarettes, it can irritate the gum and block blood circulation. This hinders hair growth and could even lead to balding!

Nicotine can also affect you externally and lead to hair fall. This can also occur in nonsmokers who are subjected to passive smoking. 

When the smoke comes in contact with your hair, it damages the follicles and leads to hair fall.

It also makes the hair follicles secrete excess androgen which could lead to a lot of hair fall and balding. 

Nicotine can also have other harmful side effects when it is combined with other materials that are used while making a cigarette. This also leads to adverse reactions on your hair

How do I reverse hair fall caused by nicotine?

The most obvious way to reverse this type of hair fall, of course, is by quitting smoking altogether. 

But if you think this is too difficult, there are other ways in which your can reverse or at least bring down the extent of hair fall caused by nicotine. 

But you shouldn’t be too late in doing this. You have to recognize the signs of nicotine hair fall at the earliest and act fast. 

Remember that nicotine is also a major additive in other products like vapes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc so you will have to cut down their usage as well. 

Some of the ways in which you can reverse hair fall caused due to nicotine are:

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a very popular ingredient in hair products because it is rich in antioxidants. 

It also helps in tackling a lot of hair issues like frizz, damage and makes your hair more manageable.

Some of the benefits of using vitamin e include balancing the oil levels on your scalp, making your hair shiny and strong. 

It also makes your scalp healthy by preserving your top layer. It creates a protective layer around your hair to seal moisture and improve shine. 

If you want to fix hair fall caused by nicotine, switch to products with vitamin E in it. 

You can use shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and serums with Vitamin E infused in them. 

Vitamin E is an essential oil so it can be infused with a carrier oil to make a hair pack or a hair treatment. You can easily buy Vitamin E in the form of capsules. 

does vaping cause hair loss

Essential oils

These are some of my favorite ingredients for healthy hair growth. There are so many varieties of essential oils available in the market that caters to various hair types and needs. 

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Some of the essential oils that help in growing your hair are:

Lavender essential oil: This is a great essential oil for accelerating your hair growth. It has a soothing smell that is great for relieving stress and promotes the growth of new cells in your scalp. This oil is also very helpful if you are struggling with scalp issues like itching, flaking, dryness, dandruff, etc. 

Rosemary essential oil- Rosemary oil is great for making your hair thick and long. It is also known for its ability to perform cell regeneration. You can mix a few drops of rosemary oil into coconut or almond oil before applying it to your hair to get the best results. 

Peppermint essential oil– Peppermint essential has antimicrobial properties. It contains an important vasodilator, which is menthols. Vasodilators help in improving the blood circulation on your scalp. It gives a cool tingly feeling when you apply it and it smells so refreshing. 


Iron is one of the most important nutrients for healthy hair. When you have an iron deficiency, you will experience a lot of symptoms like transitional male and female pattern hair loss.

Iron deficiency can be caused by a lot of reasons and smoking is the main catalyst for it. It is important to supply your body with an adequate form of iron daily. 

This can be done by including iron-rich foods like broccoli, strawberry, oranges, tomatoes, spinach, salmon, dry fruits, etc. 

You can consume iron supplements to fulfill your body’s nutritional needs. However, it is recommended to get a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner since too much iron intake could be harmful. 


Proteins also play a huge role in giving you healthy hair, so it is important to add this to your diet. 

They are available in plenty of foods like shrimp, tofu, eggs, nuts, etc. Supplying your hair with proteins can help in combating the hair fall caused by smoking to an extent. 

And that was how smoking and hair loss are connected! 

Even if you’re not experiencing hair fall due to smoking, there are several health risks associated with smoking. 

So it’s best if you avoid smoking in all its forms including vaping, cigarettes, sheesha, and even secondhand smoking.

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