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Millions of Americans struggle with smoking every day. Cigarettes contain a higher percentage of nicotine which is addictive and highly toxic. Apart from the common effects of smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and blood pressure, hair loss can also be a side effect of smoking.

In this article, we establish a link between nicotine and hair loss.

Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss?

While there are many reasons for hair loss, such as diseases, reactions to certain medications, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), nicotine intake can equally be detrimental to your hair. Although nicotine might not immediately cause hair loss, its effect on your health will eventually lead to hair thinning and balding. Smoking restricts blood circulation to the hair follicles, and as a result, oxygen and essential minerals for hair growth are limited.

How Does Nicotine Cause Hair Loss?

To best understand the effect of nicotine on hair loss, it is essential to know the health risks of nicotine in the body. Some of its effects include:

Decreased Oxygen Flow

When you smoke, you inhale not only nicotine but also carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that reduces oxygen levels in blood flow. Impeding oxygen flow means your hair follicles will not be healthy as they should be. Interference with the hair growth cycle eventually leads to hair loss.

Low Immunity

Nicotine affects the immunity system by slowing the cell cycle. As a result, T cell production reduces, thus exposing the body to attacks by pathogens. A compromised immune system means the body becomes an easy target of bacterial and fungal infections like ringworms, some of which directly affect the scalp, hence hair loss.

Increase In Blood Pressure

The nicotine in your cigarettes constricts your blood vessels, increases your heartbeat, and raises blood pressure. Due to your blood vessels’ narrowing, your hair follicles won’t get a sufficient supply of the essential nutrients and oxygen.


Smoking increases the stress levels of your body. A rise in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, reduced oxygen flow, poor blood circulation, and strained muscles can make your body shut down. According to the American Hair Loss Association, extreme stress can be a contributing factor in hair loss.

Since nicotine is highly addictive, withdrawal symptoms can be very stressful.


Although nicotine does not directly cause hair loss, its prolonged use gradually weakens your hair follicles, and eventually, your hair may fall off, leading to balding. It would be best for you to avoid smoking if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you’re experiencing hair loss, contact Custom Hair Tampa Bay by clicking here.

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