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Smoking and Hair Loss

By HERWriter
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Need another reason to quit smoking? We all know smoking contributes to heart disease, vascular disease and lung cancer but health risks alone have not motivated some people to finally quit. Smoking has been linked to early skin aging and studies have now confirmed, it also contributes to hair loss and premature graying. So while health reasons may not be enough to push people to stop, maybe vanity will.

In 2007, researchers in Taiwan tested whether smoking contributes to hair loss in Asian men who typically are not as likely to suffer from androgenic hair loss as often as Caucasian or European men. The researchers surveyed 740 Taiwanese men between the ages of 40-91.The results confirmed what had been suspected; men who smoked had a greater amount of hair loss than those who did not, even after correcting for age and family history.

A previous epidemiological study in the BMJ, examined approximately 600 men and women, half of which were smokers, to determine if smoking contributed to premature graying and hair loss. They found a significant relationship between smoking and graying in both men and women and a link between smoking and baldness in men.

Smoking is believed to affect hair in a number of ways. The microcirculation of the hair dermal papilla (the area at the base of the hair follicle) constricts so less nourishment arrives to assist in new hair growth. The dermal papilla is where new cells are formed pushing older cells forward to become part of a new hair shaft in the follicle. The receptors for hormones or androgens are also in the dermal papilla so if they become damaged, hair growth is affected.

Androgenic hair loss affects both men and women though to men at a greater extent. In men, hair loss is typically at the hairline and they develop baldness. Women usually experience diffuse hair loss all over their scalp. During androgenic hair loss, large active follicles shrink into less active ones causing hair growth to thin and diminish with each cycle of hair growth until the hair eventually stops growing altogether.

Toxins from the smoking are also thought to damage the DNA of the hair follicle impairing growth. Smoking may also lead to an increased release of inflammatory factors leading to chronic micro-inflammation of the hair follicle.

Smoking is a difficult habit to kick. Though improving one’s health is the most logical reason to quit, people are driven by different needs. If someone you know hasn’t been able to make that very important decision, remind them that smoking not only affects the inside hidden parts of their body, but also one area that we always notice in others—our hair.

Trüeb RM, Dermatology. 2003;206(3):189-91. Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking? accessed at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12673073

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

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EmpowHER Guest

hi .. nice articles .. i know that hair loss makes everybody stress . anyway, i wanna put several things about do and dont for your hair loss :

Hair loss ‘Do’ lists
1.Use filtered water when washing your hair. Sometimes, the levels of the chlorine are very high. It’s not good for our scalp and might cause damage on it. It tends to cause hair loss .
2.Massage olive oil onto your scalp. Hair loss sometimes is caused by the dry scalp condition. Your body might lack of proteins, iron and water. Olive oil will help your scalp to keep healthy to prevent hair loss .
3.Take gingko Supplements. I already write an article about gingko biloba for hair loss problem. It will help you fixing the blood circulation in your body. Don’t forget that hair loss might be caused by poor blood circulation.
4.Treatment your hair with rosemary essential oil. Later I will give you a recipe about this rosemary essential oil remedy.
5.Use eggs. It could be either white eggs or the yolks. Eggs are very rich of protein. You could massage it into your hair and scalp, then shampooing and rinse well. It will fix the damage on your hair and promote more volume hair.
Hair loss ‘Don’t’ list
1.Don’t be stressed. Over stress only accelerates your hair loss .
2.Don’t drink too much alcohol and smoking. It affects your hair loss . These bad habits are affecting your blood circulations.
3.Don’t eat too much sweet.
4.Don’t apply too much chemical on your scalp. It will only make your hair loss to get worse.
5.Don’t rush. Hair loss treatment result might appear at least after six months.
6.So, patience is a key for your hair loss problem

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June 2, 2010 - 10:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't think that there is any question that smoking is detrimental to health. But what about the millions of people who are addicted to smoking? Should they be sentenced to an excruciating, lingering death?

In a recent press release, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan (President of the American Council on Science and Health), exposed the FDA, calling their statement "distorted, incomplete and misleading" in reference to a press conference that the FDA held to scare Americans away from electronic cigarettes. Federal and state agencies collect 26 BILLION dollars per year on tobacco taxes, and ZERO on e-cigarettes.

Basically, the FDA is strongly advising us to "Stay away from these new electronic cigarettes. Stick to the good old (tax revenue producing) tobacco cigarettes. You know, the ones that cause nearly half a million deaths each year in the US alone"

The FDA has violated its own rules of presenting policies based upon sound science. In essence the FDA is telling us we don't care whether Americans live or die. We want our tax revenues!

Tobacco cigarettes are deadly, not only due to the presence of toxins and carcinogens, but because smokers inhale huge amounts of smoke (products of combustion). The result? Millions of people die from heart disease, lung disease, cancer etc.

Smokers 'need' nicotine. By getting the nicotine without the smoke, e-cig users enjoy an enormous health benefit over tobacco smokers.

The FDA has approved other nicotine delivery systems (gums and patches) but they have been dismal failures, with a success rate of under 15%. So by only approving products that don't work, the FDA has condemned millions of smokers to a lingering death. We desperately need other alternatives. Dr. Whelan commented, "Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States today. Any alternative acceptable to addicted smokers should be taken seriously. Instead of condemning the e-cigarette, the FDA should be sponsoring studies to evaluate its safety and efficacy, leaving it on the market in the interim."

I quit smoking and suffered for two and a half years. The cravings didn't go away. Not only that, but I really missed the enjoyment of smoking. Then I found electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). But wait … it’s not that simple. Most e-cigs are a complete waste of money. Here’s what I’ve done, so that you don’t need to take the hard road.
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April 4, 2010 - 1:21am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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