Alcohol can impact everything from your liver to your heart and mental well-being. However, many people do not know that drinking booze has detrimental effects on hair growth as well. Drinking alcohol steadily for a long time can take away the proper nourishment needed for a thriving crop of hair. So, if you find your hair coming out in clumps, you may need to cut back on the booze.
In this article, we explore how drinking alcohol causes hair loss and what you can do to rectify the problem, thereby improving the quality of your hair. Keep scrolling!
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How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Hair Health?
Other than internally harming your body, alcohol also harms hair health. Generally, it is said that heavy and regular drinking can lead to your tresses falling out, breaking, and thinning.
Alcohol, as a singular ingredient, does not cause hair fall. However, the impact that heavy drinking has on the human body can lead to hair fall.
Let us see how drinking too much alcohol can cause hair loss and harm its overall health.
1. Alcohol Dehydrates Your Hair
Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes loss of water and salts from the body. Excessive drinking may lead to dehydration (1). This can make your skin and scalp dry. The dry surface of the scalp makes the hair brittle and prone to falling.
The ends can start splitting due to your hair drying out, stopping your locks from growing any further. A dry scalp also leads to itching and dandruff, thus causing your hair to break more easily.
2. Malnutrition Due To Alcohol Can Lead To Hair Loss
Not only does excessive alcohol consumption lead to dehydration, but it can result in the loss of nutrition from the body. Alcohol contains empty calories – it makes it seem like your stomach is full. But, in reality, you have not consumed anything nutritious. Rather, alcohol robs your hair and body of the nutrients essential for their health (2).
All normal bodily functions, including hair growth, depending on the health of an individual. Hair grows with the help of proteins, vitamins, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber – all micro and macronutrients.
With no new nutrients introduced into the body and existing nutrients getting flushed out, your body suffers from malnutrition, and your hair becomes weaker.
3. Alcohol Can Upset Your Estrogen Levels
Excessive alcohol consumption is known to raise estrogen levels in the body (5). The fluctuations in estrogen can cause hair loss. Estrogen exists in both men and women and is responsible for maintaining reproductive health in both genders.
In men, an imbalance in estrogen levels has a two-fold effect. It may cause either excessive hair growth or hair fall, ultimately leading to baldness. In women, hair follicles lose their grip on the scalp because of irregular estrogen production, thus causing hair fall (6).
The question of whether alcohol causes hair loss has been answered. Now the next question is, can you take any measures to prevent hair loss from heavy drinking? Let us find out.
How To Avoid Hair Loss Caused By Alcohol
You can offset your chances of hair loss caused by alcohol with the following healthy habits:
1. Eat Well
Drinking alcohol affects how the nutrients from the food you eat are absorbed by your body (2). Excessive drinking reduces the production of enzymes that aid digestion. For the same reason, eating a healthy meal can offset the nutrient loss caused by alcohol.
Consume a balanced meal of fruits, vegetables, whole grains like rice and oats, and proteins such as lentils and meats.
2. Rehydrate Yourself
Nothing can heal as well as water. The nutrients from the food need to be circulated to the various organs in your body to keep them functioning properly. Water is the vessel that carries the nutrients to their destinations. Moreover, studies show that water itself contains some vital minerals that can combat hair loss caused by alcohol consumption (7).
3. Consider Multivitamins
Heavy drinking results in the depletion of vitamins and minerals required for healthy, shiny hair. Although better eating choices can repair the deficiencies, in some cases, you may need to rely on nutritional supplements (3).
Consult a doctor to understand the right dose of vitamins and minerals to take until your hair is healthy enough to grow on its own.
Time To Stop Drinking?
There is scientific evidence that drinking alcohol can cause hair loss, and we can all agree that it is generally an unhealthy habit. But, do you need to stop boozing altogether to maintain healthy, thick hair?
On the whole, limited alcohol consumption has little effect on the health of your hair. So, an occasional glass of wine or a pint of beer will not do much damage.
But to achieve the healthy, shiny hair results you are after, you need to go beyond limiting your alcohol intake. Besides eating well and drinking adequate water, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the damage that booze does to your hair.
Pay some more attention to your hair care routine and find healthier ways to cope with stress. Implementing these vital lifestyle changes can keep your hair at its healthiest.
When To Quit Alcohol
Drinking in moderation is reasonable only in the absence of substance abuse. Since alcohol abuse can cause hair loss, quitting the bottle is the best way to reduce its harmful effects on your locks (and overall health).
You may not have a full head of hair immediately after stopping, but dealing with the root cause is the first step to nursing your mane back to health.
Since alcohol impacts the drinker physically as well as psychologically, it might be useful to ask for professional help to stop drinking for good.
Clearly, it is vital to reduce alcohol use and adopt healthy habits for shiny, happy, and thriving hair. But, anecdotal evidence suggests that topically applying beer can lead to a shinier and smoother mane. Let us see if there is any truth to this claim.
Should You Try A Beer Rinse To Increase Hair Growth?
Shampoos containing beer have become popular recently for their effectiveness in giving you strong, soft, and lustrous hair. The use of beer in shampoos has become popular due to the composition of the beverage.
Beer contains minerals like selenium, silicon, and zinc. It is important to note that only intake of these nutrients may promote hair health (3). Topical application (as is the case with beer) may not promote hair health. It is also believed that trace elements of beer can get absorbed into the scalp through topical application, though this seems highly unlikely. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that applying beer to your hair can enhance its shine.
Beer can be good for hair health. But if you are recovering from heavy alcohol use and addiction, then using beer-infused shampoo and hair care products can be detrimental for your recovery.
Moreover, the results vary across different hair types, and adding alcohol to your locks may make them duller and drier. The benefits of a beer rinse are not proven scientifically yet, so consult a doctor before using it on your hair.
You can try a beer rinse to reduce hair fall. But, it can be challenging to grow your hair out in the first place if the roots are damaged. Here are some ways to heal your hair from the roots.
How To Revive The Roots Of Your Hair
Keratin is a protein found in your hair, skin, and nails. Heavy alcohol use is said to affect the production of keratin and, in turn, damage hair follicles and hair roots. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove the same.
Usually, if the hair roots are dead, it is difficult to regrow hair, and you may need to get a hair transplant. However, before taking any drastic measures, try to heal the affected hair roots at home.
Hair massage is one of the best ways to help your scalp regrow hair (8). You can use various ingredients available at home to serve as DIY supplements for massaging the scalp. Here are a few ingredients to help stimulate follicles:
1. Coconut Oil
Nothing beats coconut oil. It is one of the best natural oils that can condition your hair and make it thick and lush. It helps lubricate the dead hair follicles in the scalp and encourage new growth. Regular use of coconut oil shows a visible difference in hair health (9).
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a medicinal plant used to treat burns, scrapes, and even small cuts and wounds. Its moisturizing properties can combat dehydration and irritation on the scalp (10). You can apply aloe vera gel to the scalp and massage it with your fingertips. However, make sure you are not allergic to it by conducting a patch test first.
3. Onion Juice
To deal with the existing damage of alcohol on your roots, try this DIY oil:
- Heat up a cup of coconut oil.
- Add half an onion, a spoonful of fenugreek seeds, curry leaves from 2 sprigs, and a handful of henna leaves.
- Allow all the ingredients to infuse in the hot oil thoroughly.
- Once cool, strain the oil into a bottle and apply a small palmful daily.
- Use the oil regularly, and you will see a visible difference in hair in just a week.
If the dryness in your hair persists, it can cause your tresses to fall out, ultimately leading to a bald patch. Learn how you can deal with baldness related to alcohol consumption in the next section.
How To Tackle Baldness Caused By Alcohol
Drinking alcohol may cause hair loss to the point of baldness. If the roots remain dead, the affected areas on the scalp remain without hair and cause small bald patches. Unfortunately, the chances of natural hair regrowth are very slim once you reach this stage.
In such cases, the best solution is to go for a hair transplant. Hair transplant treatment, when successful, can show visible hair growth within a year of the surgery. However, be warned that it is an expensive procedure that may initially cause pain and discomfort.
Excessive drinking can strip the body of the necessary nutrients and disrupt hormone levels. The resulting effect of these changes is brittle hair that breaks easily and leads to hair loss.
To tackle hair loss caused by alcohol consumption, you need to replenish your body and mane with nutrients. Eat healthily, consume plenty of water, and drink in moderation for shiny, happy locks!
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Will hair grow back after quitting alcohol?
In general, it takes about six to nine months for the hair to grow from root to tip (12). However, with excessive alcohol consumption, the affected scalp and hair need time to heal from the damage. Only once healing begins internally will you be able to see the effect externally.
Is hair loss from alcohol reversible?
Usually, if the hair roots are damaged, it is not easy to regrow hair. Using DIY solutions to stimulate hair growth might work in some cases. Consult a dermatologist and decide the right course of treatment. Certain treatments like PRP, meso injections, rollers, and certain oral and topical medications may help. If nothing works, hair transplant could be considered.
Does alcohol increase DHT?
If your hair is sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), you are likely to experience breakage, thinning, and hair fall. However, DHT-sensitive hair follicles are primarily genetic, and there is little research to show a strong link between alcohol and DHT.
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- Alcohol’s Impact on Kidney Function
- Alcohol and Nutrition
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
- Mechanisms of vitamin deficiencies in alcoholism
- Sex hormones in alcohol consumption: a systematic review of evidence
- Effects of Alcohol On Menopausal Women
- The Contribution of Drinking Water to Mineral Nutrition in Humans
- Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia: Survey Results
- A Study on Scalp Hair Health and Hair Care Practices among Malaysian Medical Students
- Aloe vera: A Potential Herb and its Medicinal Importance
- Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata
- How Long Does It Take Hair To Grow