Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

When we think about the harmful effects of smoking, the first things that typically come to mind are lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues. However, the impact of smoking extends far beyond these well-known health risks. 

One lesser-known consequence that deserves attention is its association with hair loss. Yes, you read that correctly. Smoking can contribute to hair loss, and in this article, we will delve into the question, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” to uncover the surprising link between tobacco use and the health of your hair.

How Smoking Causes Hair Fall?

Smoking and hair loss may not seem connected at first glance, but a deeper dive into the effects of smoking on the body reveals how smoking can contribute to hair loss:

  • Blood Circulation: Smoking has a detrimental impact on blood circulation throughout the body. This includes the circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. Hair follicles require a steady flow of nutrient-rich blood to support hair growth. When circulation is compromised due to smoking, the hair follicles may receive fewer essential nutrients, leading to weaker, thinner hair.
  • Hormonal Changes: Smoking can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in the body. This hormonal imbalance can contribute to hair loss, particularly in women. For example, smoking has been linked to an increase in androgens (male hormones) in women. This leads to hair thinning and a condition called female pattern hair loss.
  • Oxidative Stress: Smoking introduces a host of harmful chemicals and free radicals into the body. These free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which can damage cells, including those in the hair follicles. Over time, this damage can make hair brittle and more prone to breakage.
  • Inflammation: Smoking is known to promote inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can affect hair follicles, disrupting their normal function and inhibiting hair growth. Inflammation in the scalp can also contribute to conditions like dandruff and psoriasis, which can further exacerbate hair loss.
  • Reduced Collagen Production: Collagen is a protein that plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the skin and hair. Smoking has been shown to reduce collagen production, resulting in weaker hair shafts and an increased risk of hair loss.
  • Premature Aging: Smoking accelerates the aging process, both internally and externally. Premature aging of the skin can lead to a dry and flaky scalp, which can hinder hair growth. Additionally, smoking can cause premature graying of the hair, which may make hair loss more noticeable and distressing.
  • Vasoconstriction: Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to various body parts, including the scalp. This vasoconstriction can deprive hair follicles of the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive, leading to hair thinning and loss.
  • Telogen Effluvium: Smoking can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, where many hair follicles enter the resting (telogen) phase of the hair growth cycle simultaneously. This can result in a sudden and noticeable shedding of hair.

Can smoking cause hair loss — Research-Based Evidence 

Scientific research supports the notion that smoking and hair loss are linked:

  • A study found that smoking is a significant risk factor for male pattern baldness in young men. 
  • Another study identified that smoking leads to oxidative stress, affecting hair growth and scalp health. 

Quitting Smoking: Is It a Solution?

If you’re concerned that smoking causes hair fall and currently smoke, quitting can be a step in the right direction. 

  • The health benefits of quitting smoking extend to all aspects of your well-being, including your hair. 
  • Once you quit smoking, the adverse effects on blood circulation, hormones, oxidative stress, inflammation, and collagen production gradually diminish. 
  • Quitting can help slow down or even partially reverse the hair loss process.

Remember that quitting smoking should be part of a broader strategy to address hair loss, including a healthy diet, stress management, and, if necessary, consultation with a healthcare professional or dermatologist.


In summary, the answer to the question, “Does smoking cause hair loss?” is a resounding yes! Smoking causes hair fall. However, quitting smoking is a crucial step toward mitigating these effects and improving the condition of your hair. If you’re concerned about hair loss or looking to protect your overall health, kicking the smoking habit may be one of the most impactful decisions you can make.


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