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Can Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?: 5 Potential Connections to Poor Hair Health

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If you are noticing increased hair loss or shedding, it is normal to want to point fingers at some culprit which is within your control. For some people, this has led to looking into if alcohol can have a negative effect on hair.

While there is not currently any proof of a direct connection between drinking and hair loss, there may be a few indirect things that can take a toll on your hair.

It is important to note that many of these connections to declining hair health start developing when alcohol use is chronic and heavy. So, try to not worry too much about having a glass of your favorite wine over dinner, or a few cocktails out celebrating with friends.

Below, we will outline the potential connection between too much alcohol use and hair loss, review why moderation is important for your hair health, and give you our final thoughts on alcohol and hair loss.

5 potential connections between excessive drinking and hair loss

1. Nutritional deficiencies:

Drinking too much on a regular basis can lead to nutritional deficiencies including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, protein, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and your B-vitamins. Not hitting these targets can develop a few different ways including eating less due to more calories coming from alcohol, making less healthy food choices while drinking, and even absorption being affected through the alcohol itself.

2. Dehydration:

Alcohol is a diuretic, so if you are drinking regularly, you can quickly dehydrate your body -- your hair follicles included. Dehydrated hair follicles may not function at their best, including slowed growth or increased shedding if the issue is prolonged.

3. The smoking connection:

For some regular drinkers, having a few drinks makes it harder to resist lighting up, and these two may become connected activities. While alcohol itself is not known to lead to hair loss, the same cannot be said for smoking, which has a direct connection to declines in hair health and worsening hair loss.

4. Hormonal disruptions:

Hair health is closely linked to the delicate balance of hormones in your body, and heavy drinking may throw those hormonal balances off. Estrogen levels have been found to increase with regular alcohol use, testosterone levels can decline in men, and alcohol can negatively impact thyroid levels as well. 

5. Increased stress & poor sleep:

Chronic alcohol use can induce poor sleep and increased stress levels. For optimal hair health, you want to have adequate levels of high-quality sleep and keep your stress levels in check. 

Moderation is key

This information doesn’t mean that you have to turn into a teetotaler in order to have healthy hair -- it is all about moderation. Most of this information is directed at people who drink heavily and regularly. 

Stick to the CDC alcohol consumption guidelines when partaking and try to abide by the 2 drinks per day limit for men and the 1 drink per day limit for women.

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