Is Smoking Bad for Your Hair?

by Michelle Miley ; Updated July 18, 2017

An older woman smokes a cigarette.

nicolas holzapfel/iStock/Getty Images

Cigarette smoke enters the bloodstream through the lungs and is carried by the circulatory system to every part of the body. The result is that the cells of the smoker’s body are bathed in the more than 4,000 chemicals and gasses found in cigarette smoke. No part of the body is truly exempt from the toxins in cigarettes, and even hair follicles suffer damage.

Bad Hair Every Day

Cigarette smoke damages the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and wither. Unhealthy follicles simply cannot produce healthy hair, making smokers much more likely to have damaged and thinning hair or go bald. Even if the follicles do continue to produce hair, it is brittle and extremely susceptible to breakage. Smoke also restricts the blood flow to the follicles, prematurely aging them and causing gray hairs to appear earlier in life than they otherwise would. Cigarettes also increase the amount of the hormone DHT in the body – a hormone known to contribute to hair loss. The odor of cigarette smoke is also easily held by the hair and skin, causing even clean hair to smell like stale smoke.

Photo Credits

  • nicolas holzapfel/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.