Substance Use

Alcohol and Hair Loss: Does It Cause Hair Loss?

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Is Alcohol Bad for Hair?

Drinking alcohol every so often is not harmful to your hair, but drinking heavily on a regular basis can lead to serious long-term side effects, which include poor hair health and hair loss.

There are no studies showing that alcohol use can directly cause hair loss.

However, various side effects of consuming alcohol could lead to slower hair growth, hair thinning, hair loss, and an overall reduction in hair health.

Here’s what you need to know.

Are you or someone you love suffering from alcohol addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our flexible and personalized treatment programs.  

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What Are the Signs of Possible Hair Damage from Alcohol?

Alcohol can lead to dehydration and dehydrated hair is easily damage.

Signs that your hair might be damaged include:

  • Split ends
  • Broken hairs
  • Hair loss
  • Dandruff
  • Greasy hair
  • Very dry hair

Can Alcoholism Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, over time regular excess alcohol consumption can negatively affect the factors that influence the health of hair follicles. This can lead to dry, brittle hair and eventual hair loss.

How Can Alcohol Affect Hair Health?

Most research on the topic of alcohol consumption and heavy drinking focuses on serious implications, like the effects on the brain, heart, and liver.

This is perhaps why we don’t have any studies linking alcohol and hair loss. However, we do know that some of the side effects of drinking alcohol could contribute to reduced hair health and, potentially, baldness.

1. Cause Nutrient Deficiencies

Heavy alcohol use has been linked to deficiencies in:

  • Iron
  • B12
  • Folic acid

Long-term alcohol consumption can also lead to reduced levels of vitamin A, C, D, E, and K.

All of these nutrients are important for critical bodily functions like managing your sleep and brain function. Of course, they also play a role in growing your hair and nails.

When you drink alcohol often, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies in the body. Anytime your body is out-of-balance, it uses all the nutrients it has available for the most important functions first.

This means you may begin to see signs of reduced hair health since your hair won’t be getting as many nutrients. Instead, any nutrients you consume may be dedicated to other processes, like bolstering your immune system.

First and foremost, alcohol inhibits nutrient breakdowns. This means, even if you’re eating a balanced diet, it will be harder for your body to extract and process the nutrients it needs.

Drinking alcohol can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which means even once it has broken down what it needs, your body might not be able to use it.

2. Cause Dehydration

Binge drinking can also impact your hair in other ways, as chronic drinking can dehydrate your body and overwhelm your system.

This dehydration impacts the moisture available for hair follicles. In turn, dryness can lead to itching scalp and dandruff along with hair thinning and shedding.

3. Elevate Stress Levels

By elevating your stress levels, alcohol can cause a condition known as telogen effluvium.

This condition is characterized by your hair being stuck in one phase of the hair growth cycle.

In other words, your hair will stop growing and you will soon experience balding as your existing hair falls out over time.

Zinnia Health knows that finding confidential, customized care is essential for overcoming addiction and staying sober. If you have questions about the treatment process, our team would be happy to help. Call us today at (855) 430-9439 for more information. 

Is Hair Loss From Alcohol Reversible?

Yes, it is possible to slow down hair loss related to alcohol. Hair shedding, thinning, and dullness can often be made healthy again by reducing your drinking, eating a better diet, and taking supplements.

In the case of chronic drinking that has led to dry hair follicles, some of the follicles may be damaged beyond repair, but it’s possible that you can restore your hair with the right care.

Likewise, the stress-induced condition known as telogen effluvium is typically temporary, meaning that you can get your hair to grow back by reducing your stress and taking proper care of your body.

How to Support Healthy Hair Growth

If you’ve noticed changes to your hair health, some of the ways that you can support healthy hair growth include:

1. Taking Supplements

Dietary supplements like biotin can help keep your body in balance, especially if you plan to continue drinking. Malnutrition is a serious condition that can harm your overall health.

2. Get Hydrated

Drink enough of water to stay hydrated, especially when recovering from a hangover.

3. Check Your Hormone Levels

Having your doctor check your estrogen levels and other hormones to make sure there isn’t a bigger underlying issue contributing to your hair problems.

4. Managing Stress Levels

Managing your stressors in a healthy way. This means avoiding using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Instead, it may be time to see a mental health professional.

5. Using Hair Supporting Shampoos

Using nutrient-rich shampoos designed to support thicker, healthier hair and regrowth.

6. Stop Drinking Alcohol

Avoiding excessive drinking and getting help with signs of alcohol use disorder.

All of these things can help your hair stay healthy, but it’s important to make sure that you address all of the underlying causes (stress, dehydration, etc.), so talk to your doctor for advice. 

Nutritional deficiencies, whether alcohol-related or not, can cause issues with your hair health, but that likely won’t be the only sign.

For instance, you may notice that your nails and skin also look less healthy and, physically, you may also feel fatigued and have less energy.

These things could be caused by a variety of health problems, so it’s important to speak with your doctor, but if you’re a heavy drinker, this could be the cause of these issues. 

Should You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol-related hair loss might be a concern for you right now, but it’s important to recognize that the effects of alcohol are more than skin-deep.

With major implications for your heart, brain, and liver health, getting excessive alcohol consumption in check is important for your overall well-being.

If you’re unsure whether or not you need help with your drinking, ask yourself:

  • Do you drink to cope or escape?
  • Do you have more than 2-3 drinks in a row?
  • Do you drink more than 3-4 drinks in a day?

You can also do the CAGE questionnaire to see if you have a drinking problem.

It can be tough to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse, especially when high-functioning alcoholics are able to carry on with successful careers and relationships for long periods of time.

But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t being impacted by the negative effects of alcohol.

How to Get Help

If you have questions, finding a trusted and confidential resource to reach out to can help you get on the path to long-term recovery.

Our caring staff at Zinnia Health can help you navigate the complexities of alcohol abuse. Our supportive inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are flexible, personalized, and research-based. When you’re ready to take the next step, reach out to our 24/7 alcohol help hotline at (855) 430-9439

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