stop smokingWhilst everybody is aware of the toxic effects of tobacco smoking and its lethal carcinogenic properties you may not be aware that it could also be making you prematurely bald.

It has been known for some time now that skin is prematurely aged by smoking, leaving it dull and dry due to a lack of healthy blood circulation and the desiccative effect of smoke on the skin. It’s also been linked to more serious skin conditions, such as psoriasis, leaving unpleasant lesions and red or silver patches.

Smoking and hair loss – the link

More recently, an association between smoking and hair damage has been observed, resulting in premature greying and also rapid balding. Similarly, to the effects on the skin smoking affects healthy blood circulation, which in turn reduces the supply of nutrients that healthy hair follicles require. In addition to this, smoke toxins actively cause damage to the DNA of the hair follicle.

A Powerful Deterrent

In terms of offering effective health education on the danger of smoking it’s been suggested that drawing attention to the probability of developing rapid hair loss may be more powerful than the link between facial wrinkles or grey hair. The loss of hair (particularly in women) can be life changing and psychologically damaging.

Also, and perhaps more significantly there are procedures for dealing with premature skin ageing but the options for hair loss are very limited.

Alopecia often results in total hair loss and has no known effective permanent remedy, with patients hopefully applying creams, undergoing steroid injections or other treatments in vain attempts to stem rapid hair loss.

It might be worth remembering next time you are tempted to light up that you might be taking a very real step towards irreversible hair loss.

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By Ian Watson

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