Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss? (5 Facts You Need To Know)

Nicotine can be found in cigarettes, cigars, and even e-cigarettes. In this article, we discuss whether nicotine causes hair loss and what you can do to prevent it.

hair loss

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Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss?

Prolonged use of nicotine may cause hair loss, and this includes hair thinning and balding as well as other side effects to your overall health. This can be attributed to the toxins in smoke that harm your hair follicles and damage hormones resulting in hair loss.

Some of the damaging factors of nicotin are:

Nicotine Gum

Nicotine gum has been known to cause blockages to your blood circulation and will ultimately cause hair damage in the form of premature balding.

Balding can be curable if appropriate measures are taken, but the effects are long-lasting and not easy to reverse. 

External Exposure

External exposure to nicotine in smoking can cause severe damage to your hair follicles causing your hair to fall out and shed. 

Excessive Oil Secretion

Nicotine plays a large role in causing excessive oil secretion, particularly when chewing nicotine gum. This can also occur when you chew tobacco which can lead to damaged hair. 

Disturbed pH Levels

Nicotine disturbs the pH balance of your hair and plays a factor in causing acidic scalp conditions. This could potentially be a reason for hair loss.

DHT Secretion

DHT is an androgen hormone that could potentially make you lose your hair faster. You can find androgen primary in hair follicles and is excessively secreted due to nicotine consumption.

This can lead to your hair falling out or in some severe cases permanent balding.

Harmful Chemicals

Nicotine releases a lot of harmful chemicals that may also contribute to hair loss.

Damage to the Hair Follicle’s DNA

Smoking produces genotoxicants that are powerful enough to completely damage the DNA of your hair follicles.

When the DNA is damaged, natural hair growth becomes impossible. This in turn will lead to the thinning of your hair and possible balding. 

Also Read: The Truth About Energy Drinks And Hair Loss

Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss – Look Out for These Tell-Tale Signs:

Nicotine can result in hair loss because it is one of the leading causes of permanent balding.

The harmful chemicals that are released from nicotine can cause diseases of the hair which ultimately stunts new growth.

Nicotine is also known to reduce the blood pressure across your scalp and causing damage to the blood vessels causing clots in your hair.  

Other signs of nicotine damage to your hair include:

  • Thinning hair
  • Irregular, bald patches of hair
  • A dry or itching scalp
  • Visible dandruff with gray flakes
  • Hair feels straw-like or brittle 
  • Yellowing hair may be caused by constant exposure to nicotine
  • Inflammation of the scalp with frequent fungal infections

The Health Risks of Nicotine

Nicotine does cause hair loss in some cases but there are also a host of damaging side effects and associated risks caused to your health from smoking. 

Here is a closer look at the health risks of nicotine use and how they relate to potential hair loss:

It Increases Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is essentially the pressure level of your body’s blood as it travels throughout the circulatory system.

Your GP can use this data to determine whether you’re at risk for medical conditions such as a heart attack.

A risk of using nicotine is that it increases your blood pressure levels and your blood vessels become constricted.

This, in turn, decreases the delivery of important nutrients and oxygen to your body.

It Ages Your Skin

While aging is a normal process, smoking can accelerate the appearance of aging. This means that excessive intake of nicotine into your body can cause your skin to wrinkle. 

It Lowers Your Body’s Immunity

The use of nicotine can play a role in lowering your immunity level rising the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. These infections could even include dandruff and ringworm.

Other Health Risks Include:

• Possibility of gum diseases

• Heart disease

• Disabilities in newborn children

• Women may experience decreased fertility

• You may get headaches and migraines from vaping/nicotine 

• Respiratory diseases

• A reduced immune system

Also Read: Can Gel Cause Hair Loss? Everything You Need To Know!

Other Noticeable Side Effects of Nicotine on Your Health

Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause hair loss, but does it include other side effects to your overall health and wellbeing?

We reveal some of the many side-effects you may experience below:

  • A persistent cough
  • Yellowing of your fingers
  • Bad breath
  • Yellow teeth
  • Shortness of breath
  • Any chest pains
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • The occurrence of gum disease
  • Possible weight loss

Other Causes of Hair Loss include:

If you’re looking to regrow your hairline and promote the growth of healthy, strong hair it’s important to determine the root of the problem.

Nicotine does play a role in hair loss but other factors that cause your hair to thin include:

  • Excessive stress– stress has been known to stunt hair growth
  • Medical treatments – chemotherapy or radiation therapy has been known to cause hair loss. 
  • Lacking iron and folic acid in your diet– as this is proven to help produce hair follicles naturally.
  • Natural aging – many people suffer from hair loss when getting older
  • Hormonal changes in your body
  • Scalp infections
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis or folliculitis
  • Rapid or significant weight loss
  • Pattern baldness due to genetic and hormonal factors

Also Read: 5 Ways Ashwagandha Can Help With Hair Loss

What About Vaping?

Vaping has become a popular trend and has been well received with the youth as a cheaper alternative to smoking cigarettes. 

Unfortunately, vaping is not as safe as some of the e-cigarette companies that promote them would have you believe.

In fact, there is a possibility vaping can lead to hair loss as well as ultimately nicotine is harmful to your hair and body.

It can cause the same kind of damage that smoking regular cigarettes can do. The smoke from vaping causes damage to your hair follicles resulting in hair loss. 

How to Combat Nicotine-Related Hair Loss

While perhaps the best course of action would be to give up smoking entirely, there are other steps you could put into place to reverse the nicotine’s side effects on your hair. 

A Healthy Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for hair regrowth and has amazing benefits for your overall health and wellbeing.

Your hair needs certain nutrients to maintain and promote growth and these include Vitamin A, D, B-Vitamins, C, Zinc, Protein, and Iron.

The good news is that most of these nutrients are present in everyday fruit and vegetables and in a few animal products. 

Vitamin E is a common material found in hair care products. You could therefore invest in a Vitamin E oil to help combat hair loss caused by nicotine as this does encourage new hair strands to form and stimulate growth.

Invest In Quality Hair Products

Another great method that leads to hair regrowth is the use of hair growth products including shampoos, conditioners, hair serums and hair oils, etc. 

A hair growth serum will effectively promote blood circulation and works by increasing the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles. This helps to strengthen existing hairs and encourage growth.

One preliminary study showed that receiving a scalp massage for four minutes every day for six months improved hair loss symptoms.

At the end of the test period, the test subjects had greater hair thickness. 

You could also try a scalp massager kit. This is a great hair tool to have as it helps with blood circulation, relieves stress, and keeps your scalp clean and healthy. 

Use Essential Oils 

Another simple method to incorporate into your daily routine to encourage hair growth is by using essential oils, vitamins and supplements.

Oils such as coconut, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oils have a host of amazing benefits for your hair and are rich in regenerating properties.

Or try Monoi Oil. This also has incredible hair care benefits and is quite simple to use. You can apply it in the same way that you would use standard coconut oil.


Nicotine hair loss

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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.