Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss?
Nicotine gums and lozenges are quite popular among ex-smokers or among those who want to quit smoking. They rely on it to get rid of their past smoking habit. While cigarette smoke is conclusively linked to cancer, nicotine on the other hand is not carcinogenic by itself but is highly addictive and easily gets people addicted. For those using nicotine gums to quit smoking, it is a great temporary solution; for those using it to get its benefits they must be aware that its excessive use can be dangerous. Fortunately, nicotine will provide plenty of clear side effects that are near impossible to ignore when you are on your way to “too much”, namely intense nausea and profuse sweating. Surprisingly they vanish within 15-30 minutes and a lesson can be learned. While the benefits of nicotine are great, many wonder if nicotine can cause hair loss?
What Is Nicotine Hair Loss?
Unlike the health risks of smoking on blood pressure, heart disease or cancer, the effects of nicotine on hair health through smoking or e cigarettes, as widely and deeply studied and not understood. Nonetheless some studies have been done and some correlation has been found in some studies with high levels of nicotine in the human body. It contributes to hair loss through the following ways:
Inhibition of Blood Flow
Blood flow, as the name suggests is the flow of blood across the body. It’s the movement of blood throughout the circulatory system.
As shown in a previous article about nicotine’s ability to improve circulatory health, the reverse is true with smoking and in certain cases with e-cigarettes. The prolonged use of smoking leads to the shrinkage of blood vessels. What this really means is that the delivery of nutrients and oxygen received to some non-vital parts of the body like the hair. It becomes very difficult for the blood to reach hair follicles. This eventually results in the damage of follicles and they stop producing hair. While this rarely impacts every hair follicle, if left untreated each follicular unit will eventually add up and create a permanent balding area; hair restoration through laser treatments, a hair transplant or other topical treatments may be required. In addition to affecting the blood flow, smoking causes damage to the hair follicles by an increase of secretion of androgen which leads to androgenetic alopecia and ultimately leads to hair loss.
The secretion of head oil is increased by nicotine. Although a healthy scalp and hair require some oil but too much oil cause the clogging of follicles and this stops the air from reaching them. This leads to harming hair vesicles and they no longer produce hair.
Increase in DHT
It is an androgen partially responsible for a lot of male traits. It can also cause hair loss in men if its level exceeds a certain limit. The production of DHT is increased by nicotine which then increases the chance of hair loss and baldness, especially in men.
The pH balance of the hair scalp can be destroyed due to the various harmful substances present in nicotine. The growth of hair is affected negatively because of this.
The decrease in Oxygen Level
The role of Oxygen in the health of hair is important. When the path is blocked and oxygen cannot reach the roots of the hair, hair loss increases manifolds and worsen badly.
Reduction in Immunity
Nicotine is known to cause a reduction in the production of T-cell. These T-cells are one of the main defenses against invading microbes like bacteria and fungus. Lower Immunity makes it easier for bacterial and fungal infections to cause harm to the human body and these including dandruff may result in hair loss.
Can vaping cause hair loss?
Vaping has become a popular trend these days. The reason being it’s much safer as compared to cigarettes. But is this belief true? Unfortunately No! It’s a complete misconception as it is not as safe as companies claim it to be. This belief is true up to some extent only as a lot of harmful substances are absent in vaping but there is something present in both of them. It is Nicotine. The purpose of not removing Nicotine is its addictive nature.
Nicotine results in vasoconstriction which is clamping down of blood vessels in the body including the intricate and massive network of arteries and veins that supply blood to hair. This eventually leads to hair loss. Researches have proved that this type of hair loss is very difficult to treat and could be permanent.
Is nicotine hair loss reversible?
This is an important question especially for those who are facing hair loss because of nicotine. The answer to this question is yes! Fortunately, hair loss of this kind is not possibly permanent. In most of the cases, the loss and can be reversed simply by quitting the intake of nicotine. While in others, additional measures have to be taken. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for hair regrowth. Hair needs certain nutrients. These include Vitamin A, D, B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, C, Zinc, Protein, and Iron. Among these nutrients, most are present in vegetables, fruits, and animal products. So all that needs to be done is eating a healthy diet rich in these nutrients. If these nutrients are not present in the daily diet of someone, they can be substituted by supplements.
Another method that leads to hair regrowth is the use of hair growth products including shampoos, conditioners, hair serums, hair oils, etc. There are various types and variants of these available in the market which are made for different issues. So, choose the one suitable for your hair. Moreover, the process of hair regrowth is time-consuming and a lot of patience is needed. That’s why keep using these products regularly and wait for a few weeks or even months before shifting to some other. When we talk about hair regrowth, no two scalps are created equal. One thing may prove to be beneficial for one person and not for the other. So, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best product for your unique situation.
How long does nicotine stay in your system’s hair?
The presence of nicotine in the body can be detected with the help of blood tests but it’s usually hard to detect in the blood within two to three days and within four days in urine. So, most people do not really care about the presence of nicotine. The thing that they look for in the body is cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine. The liver converts nicotine into cotinine which can be detected in the body for about three weeks. Both nicotine and cotinine can be detected accurately through blood tests. But the time of cotinine in the body depends on gender, medication and thus it varies in men and women.
As far as the hair follicle is concerned, nicotine can be detected in it for about three months and it can be a year too.
Nicotine does not only affect the growth of hair but is harmful to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other body parts too. It’s always a good choice to quit using it. And the correct time to take this important decision and make your life easy is now!