Stoptober – the annual NHS initiative to help people quit smoking during the month of October – is in full swing, with over 250,000 people estimated to be taking part.
According to the NHS, by successfully completing Stoptober, you’re five times more likely to quit smoking for good. The benefits both to your overall health and wallet of going smoke-free are well documented, but did you know that it could also reduce the likelihood of experiencing lifestyle-related hair loss?
The link between smoking and hair loss
It’s thought there are a number of reasons for this link: One is that the nicotine and carbon monoxide in the cigarette restricts the flow of blood to the body’s extremities, including the hair follicles; another is that the free radicals in smoke cause cell damage. As a result the hair lacks nourishment, which leads to it gradually shrinking and falling away from the scalp.
Mike Phillpott, Researcher at the School of Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, explained:
“Any pollutant that can get into the bloodstream or into the skin and into the hair follicle could cause some stress to it and impair the ability of hair to make a fibre, if you stop smoking or live in an area with less air pollution, you may be less predisposed to hair loss.”
It is important to note that giving up smoking will only assist in avoiding lifestyle-related hair loss. Many cases of hair loss are caused by a genetic predisposition, and although continuing to smoke may exacerbate the problem, quitting smoking will not prevent genetic hair loss from taking place.
Studies on smoking and male hair loss
A number of studies have shown a correlation between smoking and male hair loss. A study of identical twins found that men who smoked were twice as likely to experience hair loss as non-smokers. Furthermore, the men who smoked had thinner hair with premature grey streaks.
The largest study on smoking and hair loss was published in the Archives of Dermatology in 2007. The study of men in Taiwan found that there was a statistically significant association between male pattern baldness and smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day.
Whether these findings also apply to women is not yet certain, but all human hair is susceptible to pollutants and stress. Therefore both men and women are advised to quit smoking in order to improve the health of their hair – and what better time to quit than during Stoptober?
The 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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