alcohol and hair lossAlcohol is well known to cause various side effects such as headaches, nausea, memory loss and dehydration. It’s also known to lead to serious and potentially life threatening conditions when consumed in excess. However, as one man discovered, there is one side effect that is rarely talked about that can come as a bit of a shock to those who drink regularly and that’s hair loss.

After discovering his addiction had caused him to start losing his hair, a 26-year-old Reddit user known as Luscrib89, decided to give up alcohol.

How alcohol contributes to hair loss

There are a few things that happen when you drink alcohol which can contribute towards hair loss and hair thinning. Firstly, it can increase the Oestrogen hormone levels in the body. While women have a naturally higher concentration of Oestrogen in their bodies, it is also present in men. In low levels the hormone actually prevents hair loss. However, when the levels increase, it can lead to telogen effluvium.

As well as altering hormone levels, alcohol can impact nutrition. Too much of it can lead to trouble absorbing certain key nutrients such as iron, folic acid and zinc. If your body is low in iron, it can prevent the hair follicles from receiving the nutrients they require, as well as cause structural damage.

A lack of folic acid makes it a lot more difficult for the follicles to repair themselves if damage occurs. It can also cause the hair to go grey. Finally, a lack of zinc in the diet can cause the hair to become a lot more brittle and prone to breakage. So when you combine the change in hormone levels and nutrient deficiencies, it’s clear to see why alcohol can cause problems for the hair.

Other lifestyle factors to consider

It isn’t just alcohol that can cause problems with hair loss. Other lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, pollution, hair products and sun exposure can play an important role. Stress is a particularly strong contributor to hair problems, as like alcohol, it affects the hormone levels. Noradrenaline and cortisol are produced as a response to stress, affecting the growth cycle of the hair.

Overall, lifestyle does play a huge role in hair loss and it will be one of the things looked into when you visit a doctor to establish a cause. Many people have no idea that alcohol can lead to hair loss and hair thinning so it is something you should consider if you’ve started to notice a change in your hair.

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By Ian Watson

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