Bad news for pub landlords, but good news for hair loss: according to new figures almost a third of Brits have reduced their alcohol intake in the past 12 months.
While drinking doesn’t directly lead to a bald head, it can play a part in certain conditions, and the latest findings from market research company Mintel suggest that the drinking habits of Britons could be leading to a reduction in the number of hairs clogging up the shower.
Mintel’s report found that 32 per cent of British adults had reduced or limited their alcohol intake over the past 12 months, with almost half of the people who had done so influenced by economic factors.
Alcohol limits being ignored
Unfortunately, the report also found that weekly alcohol limits are something of a fuzzy area for most Brits. New guidelines introduced in January 2017 recommend that men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis. When asked about this, however, respondents to Mintel’s survey hardly ever knew the correct guidelines. In fact, only one in 10 adults correctly stated the 14 units a week recommendation. Previous studies had found similar levels of ignorance.
While no credible research has yet shown exactly how much hair health is affected by alcohol intake, the effects of too much drink on the body are well documented. In turn, this can lead to hair loss in some cases, and it can make existing conditions worse.
Alcohol-related hair loss is caused by several things, including the depletion of the body’s supplies of zinc and iron. An iron deficiency – especially in women – can be a contributing factor in Telogen Effluvium, a condition which leads to a generalised all-over thinning on the scalp. One famous study in 1998 found that more than two thirds of women with Telogen Effluvium could link their thinning hair to a lack of iron.
Zinc, meanwhile, needs to be topped up in the body in order to encourage healthy hair growth; its absorption can be affected by alcohol, meaning that too many drinks can stop the body getting enough. An excess of alcohol can also deplete several other nutrients that are associated with cell production and hormone regulation, meaning that the overall health of a serial drinker will suffer, along with the chances that their hair thinning will increase.
Treatable hair loss conditions
Luckily Telogen Effluvium treatment at a specialist hair loss clinic is often very effective, as is the treatment for the genetic conditions Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, which may also be exacerbated by too much alcohol. A diagnosis from a hairloss professional can help explain what is going on and what steps can be taken to remedy the situation.
One unfortunate result of Britons’ more sober approach to alcohol is that they often seem to be turning to soft drinks instead: in fact, the Mintel report states that soft drinks are more popular than low-alcohol, alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drinks.
Sadly, soft drinks can be bad for hair health, too. Laden with sugar, they can all-too-easily form the backbone of an unhealthy, high-sugar diet that leads to diabetes (which can also cause hair loss), and some experts even believe that sugar spikes themselves can lead to hair falling out.
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.