Alcohol and Hair Loss: Is it really bad for your hair?
Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?
Alcohol has intense levels of sugar and dehydrating properties leaving us with puffy and dry skin. But, have you ever thought about the effect it could be having on your hair?
Your hair requires consistent nourishment and its quality is usually a reflection of how healthy your body is feeling. If it’s sluggish and hungover, your mane’s not going to be too perky either.
Alcohol is a toxin, so even when you drink a small amount it can have a negative effect on your body, visible in your skin and hair. Alcohol’s dehydrating abilities can actually lead to hair loss if drunk regularly in excess.
Below you’ll find 7 ways alcohol can affect your hair, so you can make more mindful choices when it comes to consuming it…
Sleep and Stress
When we’re asleep, this is when our body regenerates and repairs our cells. If you’re sleep deprived this can cause a whole host of problems, including your body’s ability to rejuvenate hair and skin cells.
Furthermore, if our sleep is disrupted this can make us more susceptible to stress which can cause neurogenic inflammation and impair our body’s ability to absorb enough oxygen. Our hair follicles need oxygen in order to function so if they don’t receive enough of it, our hair health could be compromised.
If a lack of sleep is causing you to feel stressed, this can also trigger Trichotillomania – a condition where you pull out your own hair!
Drinking alcohol can disrupt your body’s natural hormone levels. When you drink, both female and male body’s can experience a spike in oestrogen production.
When we have higher levels of oestrogen in our body, it can affect how many nutrients were able to take in. Excess oestrogen disturbs our body’s ability to absorb Vitamins A and E, Iron, and the mineral Zinc – all of which are vital nutrients our hair needs to grow and stay healthy. In particular, Zinc plays a key role in the process of keratinisation. This is the formation of the protein keratin which creates the hair follicle.
If our hair roots don’t receive enough of these vitamins and minerals, this can kill off the follicle completely which in turn causes hair loss.
Alcohol causes dehydration. It’s a diuretic meaning it makes you want to go to the toilet more so the body loses liquid at a much quicker rate when you’re consuming it.
If you’ve been out on the town, the next day you tend to wake up groggy and thirsty. That headache is from being dehydrated too! The body is alerting you that it needs to replenish itself with water and the nutrients it lost the night before. When water makes up 55-75% of your body weight, it’s vital for keeping your body’s systems going.
When it comes to your hair, water plays an important part in hair follicle function. As alcohol dehydrates your skin, it can reduce elasticity and strength in the scalp which can lead to the follicles becoming damaged along with the hair shaft.
As the skin has dried out, you may also find yourself scratching at the scalp to try and relieve the irritation which can further damage the follicles.
Blood Toxins and Body Acidity
When we drink alcohol regularly, we can cause irreversible damage to our liver. When we’re dehydrated, our liver has to work harder to support our body. With a drop in the body’s water levels, toxins in our blood mount up and when our liver’s main job is to filter, purifying and remove toxins from our blood, we’re not making the job any easier for it when we’re consuming alcohol.
When we drink alcohol, we can cause our body’s acidic levels to peak too. When our body realises its acid levels are too high, it tries to reduce them by using protein stored in the body. One of the proteins it utilises is keratin.
Keratin is a key protein used to build hair follicles and promote hair strength. The more alcohol we consume causes the body to use up the store of keratin, so it will no longer use it on your hair. This could cause your tresses to feel damaged or brittle, and cause it to break or even cause hair loss.
When we drink alcohol, this can lead us to make really poor dietary choices. Alongside alcohol providing us with little to no nutrients, we don’t help matters when we stumble to the fast-food shack after an evening of martinis!
Alcohol also contains a lot of preservatives. We tend to avoid foods with added preservatives as we know they don’t contain substantial nutritional value as other, more natural foods you can purchase. When we digest foods and liquids with preservatives in them this can lead to killing off good bacteria. Not having the right bacteria in your gut can cause a host of health issues, some of which can eventually lead to hair loss.
Having a balanced diet and proper nutritional intake is important for your overall health.
If you're suffering from hair loss, dryness, or damage be wise when it comes to consuming alcohol. Alcohol is an inflammatory and when our hair follicles are inflamed this promotes the thinning of the hair and eventually can cause total hair loss. Drink alcohol in moderation, always. It will benefit your overall health as well as the look of your locks.
Whilst the world battles a pandemic, take care of yourself during self-isolation, because good health is undeniably important in these uncertain times. The health effects of alcohol could be more damaging than you think, so be cautious.