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Alcohol: Can Heavy Drinking Cause Hair Loss?

does heavy drinking lead to hair lossHaving the odd glass of wine or pint of beer is something that many of us enjoy, and as Brits, we’re also famous for overdoing the drink on occasion. However, the latest statistics show that in 2011/2012 there were an estimated 1,220,300 UK hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis.

Based on these statistics, it’s safe to assume that a significant number of us regularly overdo it with the booze. So, can alcohol have an effect on hair loss?  Whilst there is no direct link between hair loss and exceeding your recommended weekly limit of alcohol units, there are several related conditions that may have an impact.

Minimal Minerals

Firstly, the depletion of two key minerals for healthy hair, zinc and iron, can occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Zinc, which is important for hair health and also helps the body to absorb a host of other key nutrients,  needs to be consumed on a daily basis, though alcohol can prevent it from being absorbed properly. Iron deficiency can also lead to the hair loss condition telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium causes hairs to rapidly and prematurely enter the resting phase of their cycle, where they remain for three months before shedding. Hair should grow back by itself within around six months of shedding, although if the cause of the hair loss is not dealt with, it can be ongoing.

Another way in which heavy drinking can lead to hair loss is via dehydration. As the body tries to cleanse itself of the alcohol, we urinate more frequently, and the body’s ability to process nutrients that are essential for hair growth is impaired. Dehydration can also lead the hair to become dry and brittle, which may lead to breakage of the hair shaft and subsequent hair thinning.

A Long Term Problem

Hair loss from heavy drinking should be temporary, so alcohol awareness and reigning in your drinking habits will benefit your hair as well as your health. If you struggle to do so, we would recommend visiting your doctor to establish what forms of support are available to you.

If you find that your hair is struggling to return to its previous condition and thickness, it may be that you’re experiencing hair loss that requires treatment to halt thinning and to regrow hair. A hair loss specialist would be able to diagnose your hair loss condition, and establish whether a medically proven hair loss treatment plan could help.

Belgravia build our plans around each individual patient. Whether you’re looking to halt hair loss from male pattern hair loss, or speed up regrowth after telogen effluvium, a plan including at least one of the two proven for hair loss medications can help.

The first medication, Propecia, works by blocking the hair loss causing androgen DHT, allowing hair follicles atop the head to recover. The second medication, minoxidil, can then stimulate regrowth. Minoxidil is dose dependent, and Belgravia offers a number of formulations of high strength minoxidil for especially stubborn hair loss. Alongside regular check-ups and treatment boosters to enhance the hair’s condition, the medications form a comprehensive approach to dealing with hair loss.

Related Articles

Drinking, smoking and divorce: the cause of women’s hair loss?

Propecia may decrease drinking in men

Can soft drinks cause hair loss?


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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