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Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Loss


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Hair loss can be a cause of concern and distress for many, and there are a variety of factors that can contribute to it. One of the most controversial is the role of alcohol in causing hair loss. While some studies have found a correlation between drinking alcohol and hair loss, the evidence is far from conclusive. This article looks at the scientific evidence behind the question of whether drinking alcohol causes hair loss. It examines the research that has been done, the results of those studies, and the conclusions that can be drawn from the available data. By looking at the science, we can better understand the potential connection between alcohol and hair loss and determine how much of a role it plays in this condition.

What Is Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a broad term that can refer to the partial or complete loss of hair on the scalp or other parts of the body. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, certain medications, hormonal imbalances, and external factors, such as the environment or lifestyle choices. While anyone can experience hair loss at some point, it is a common symptom of certain medical conditions, including hormonal imbalances, iron deficiency, and autoimmune diseases. Hair loss can occur as a result of a number of conditions, including some medications, nutritional deficiencies, certain diseases, and genetics. There are many types of hair loss, and the type you experience will depend on the underlying cause. There are three major types of hair loss: 

Androgenic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss and is caused by genetics, diet, and lifestyle. Androgenic alopecia is responsible for 90% of all hair loss cases and usually affects people over the age of 30. 

Telogen effluvium is the second most common type of hair loss and is caused by a sudden change in your body. Finally, alopecia areata is a rare form of hair loss and accounts for 2% of all hair loss cases.

In all three types, hair loss occurs when your hair follicles become damaged, slowing or stopping hair growth.

What Causes Hair Loss?

There are many potential causes of hair loss, and each person's hair loss will be influenced by their individual risk factors. Some of the most common causes of hair loss include 

  • Genetics: Genetics plays a prominent role in hair loss, and research has shown that male pattern baldness is passed down through families. Hereditary baldness is typically identified by its pattern and a family history of a comparable form of hair loss.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Abnormalities in hormone levels can trigger hair loss, especially in people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
  • Iron Deficiency: Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional cause of hair loss and is particularly common among women who are pregnant. 
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Some autoimmune disorders are accompanied by hair loss, particularly psoriasis and alopecia areata. This happens when hair cells work against the body and attack the hair follicles, weakening the roots and hair thinning
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause hair loss as a side effect, particularly chemotherapy drugs. Speak to your doctor to see if you can find an alternative. 
  • Environment: Extreme temperatures and high levels of UV radiation are known to cause hair loss in some cases. Pollution can cause build-up, especially in winter, and lead to the clogging of follicles. 
  • Stress: Stress can play an essential role in hair loss and other health issues. The effects of oxidative stress, which are detrimental to the health of the hair and scalp, are strongly linked to androgenic alopecia and dermatological scalp conditions, both of which can significantly accelerate the ageing process of the scalp and hair. 

Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

Alcohol is known to have a wide range of adverse health effects, and while it may not cause hair loss directly, there is evidence that it can lead to hair thinning.

In fact, drinking too much alcohol is associated with a variety of health issues, including iron deficiency and certain types of hair loss. Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss because it can prevent hair from growing properly, causing it to break off or fall out.

Alcohol can also cause telogen effluvium, which is a form of hair loss that is typically temporary. However, if you are drinking heavily and experiencing regular hair loss, you may be suffering from iron deficiency instead. 

There is also some evidence that alcohol can contribute to androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. This is particularly true of alcohol that is fermented, such as wine or beer, as fermentation produces ethyl esters that have been shown to have anti-androgenic effects. 

However, while alcohol may contribute to hair loss, it is vital to note that it is not the only cause. Genetics, heredity, and other lifestyle choices can also contribute to hair loss.

Science Behind Alcohol Consumption And Hair Loss

While alcohol may cause hair loss in some people, the exact mechanism by which it does so is unclear. There are a number of ways in which alcohol may lead to hair loss, and researchers have suggested that the exact mechanism will vary depending on the type of hair loss. In general, researchers believe that alcohol can contribute to hair loss by 

Disrupting Your Diet

Alcohol consumption can lead to imbalanced nutrition and deprive your body of essential nutrients. Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients, so it can easily cause a deficiency if consumed in large quantities. Alcohol abuse can also lead to an increased calorie intake, which can disrupt your diet and lead to nutritional deficiencies. 

Causing Stress And Hormonal Imbalances

Stress and anxiety can have wide-ranging effects on the body, including disruption of hormone levels. This can cause hair loss in some people, particularly those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss. However, alcohol itself has been shown to cause hormonal imbalances in some people as well. 

Damaging Your Scalp And Hair Follicles 

Studies have shown that extremely high levels of alcohol consumption can damage hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss. This may occur due to alcohol's effect on your liver, as the liver plays a significant role in regulating your hormones and metabolizing certain substances.

The Effects Of Alcohol On Hair Growth

Studies exploring the effects of alcohol on hair growth have produced mixed results. While some have found that drinking alcohol actually promotes hair growth, others have found that it inhibits hair growth. 

This might seem contradictory, but it is actually prevalent for seemingly unrelated factors to influence hair growth and loss. For example, genetics can affect hair growth, but a poor diet can also contribute to hair loss. Therefore, the effects of alcohol on hair growth will likely vary based on the person and other factors in their life. 

Studies have found that drinking alcohol may promote hair growth in some people as a result of its effect on the liver. The liver plays a role in regulating certain hormones, such as testosterone, that are important for hair growth. Therefore, drinking alcohol may promote hair growth by lowering testosterone levels and promoting hair growth. 

However, it is also possible that this effect is limited to the consumption of fermented alcohol, such as wine, as opposed to non-fermented alcohol. Other studies have found that non-fermented alcohol has no effect on hair growth, which suggests that the effects of fermented alcohol may be limited to reducing testosterone levels.

Studies Examining The Relationship Between Alcohol And Hair Loss

There have been multiple studies exploring the relationship between alcohol consumption and hair loss. However, these studies have produced conflicting results and have not been able to provide a definitive answer to the question of whether alcohol causes hair loss. 

One study found that consuming alcohol reduces the risk of hair loss. This study followed 4,000 Spanish men and women over a period of 9 years and found that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial against hair loss. However, the results of this study were limited to Spanish people and may not apply to other populations. 

Another study found that moderate alcohol consumption increases the risk of hair loss, particularly in women. This study followed 3,467 women over a period of 6 years and found that an increased alcohol intake is associated with more effective hair loss. 

The results of these two studies suggest that the relationship between alcohol and hair loss is complex and may vary among the different populations studied.

The Results Of These Studies

The studies mentioned above found different results, and the overall evidence linking alcohol to hair loss is limited and inconsistent. While these studies provide some insight into the relationship between alcohol and hair loss, they also have significant limitations. 

For example, only a small number of people were studied, and the participants were not representative of the general population or all types of hair loss. Therefore, it isn't easy to draw firm conclusions from these studies, and the results may not be applicable to everyone. 

There are several reasons why these studies produced conflicting results. First, the studies differed in terms of the type of hair loss they examined, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the length of the study. 

The type of hair loss examined also influenced the results, as some types of hair loss are more sensitive to alcohol than others. The amount of alcohol consumed can also significantly affect the results of the study, as this can indicate how long the person drank and how much. 

Takeaway

Hair loss can be a devastating experience for anyone, leading to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and frustration. One of the questions people often ask is whether or not drinking alcohol can cause hair loss. As discussed in the blog, the answer is not a simple yes or no, mainly because there are a lot of other factors that contribute to it. 

While there is still ambiguity on the said topic, if your hair fall and your concern are increasing day by day, consider taking a hair test at Traya Health. It will only take minutes, and you will soon be sent a detailed summary from our doctors. Remember, unlike other tests, there are no right or wrong answers here. Traya Health and the team are here whenever you want to begin your healthy hair journey! 

FAQs

Q1 - Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Thinning?

Ans - There is no definite answer, as there is no direct link between alcohol and hair loss. Although excessive drinking can thin out your hair, it can also lead to conditions like hormonal imbalances or nutritional deficiencies. It's important to discuss your type of hair condition and any potential causes with your doctor because there are various types of hair loss. Smoking and other habits that are frequently linked to drinking can make hair loss worse and lead to more aesthetic problems. 

Q2 - Is Hair Loss From Alcohol Reversible?

Ans - There are some chances of jump-starting your hair growth if you are facing hair loss issues with underlying conditions like alcohol consumption. However, to address the root cause, you might have to self-analyze and understand how much alcohol you consume.

Experts advise limiting alcohol consumption to moderate amounts. This means that most women should only have one drink per day, and most men should only have two. There is no safe amount of alcohol. It is always best to cut down on alcohol altogether, change your lifestyle, and consult your doctor. 

Q3 - How Does Alcohol Affect Your Hair?

Ans - In one line, "Excessive alcohol consumption can dry out hair and make it brittle." Hair and alcohol do not mix well. Alcohol abuse can result in excessive hair loss as well as dry, brittle, and breaking hair over time. It's challenging for your body to repair your hair and perform at its best when you're dehydrated and undernourished.

Q4 - How Does Alcohol Affect Your Hair?

Ans - Alcohol dehydrates you, which is probably pretty consistent with everything you've ever learned about alcohol. Water can therefore alleviate the symptoms of a hangover. 

When you're undernourished and dehydrated, it's hard for your body to repair your hair and function at its best. 

References

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm

https://jkms.org/DOIx.php?id=10.3346/jkms.2013.28.6.934

https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2818%2931571-X

files/Zahra-Hair-Coach_300x_92286839-0a5a-4eb2-9f4b-59e262a77eee.webp

Zahra Lokhandwala

Hair Coach

Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

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