Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

· 3 min read
Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss

Reviewed By Dr. Kalpesh Kumar Maheshbhai Prajapati MBBS, DNB (Dermatology,Venereology, Leprosy)

Hair loss is a common issue that affects men of all ages and backgrounds. While it’s common to shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day.

If you’ve searched for information about hair loss, you likely have plenty of theories about how and why it happens, including some that involve alcohol.
While it’s okay to drink a moderate amount of alcohol, drinking alcohol in excess can reduce the number of digestive enzymes released by your pancreas.

Right now, there isn’t any scientific evidence that shows that drinking normal amounts of alcohol — whether you opt for beer, wine, or spirits — has any effect on male pattern baldness.

However, drinking excessively can cause or contribute to certain medical issues, some of which may have an effect on the health, thickness, and strength of your hair.

Read on to learn more about how alcohol might relate to hair loss, and how other factors — whether genes, hormones, or nutritional deficiencies — can play a role in any hair thinning or hair loss you might experience.

Alcohol and Hair Loss

There are numerous types of hair loss that can potentially affect you, including male pattern baldness, telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, anagen effluvium and others.

Currently, there’s no scientific research that directly links normal alcohol consumption to any of these forms of hair loss.

Put simply, this means that you can enjoy that glass of beer, wine or cocktail without having to worry about its effect on your hairline.

That said, alcohol consumption may indirectly contribute to hair loss through its effects on certain aspects of your health, including your intake of several vital nutrients.

We’ve covered these below, along with how each factor can potentially affect your hairline and overall hair health.

Alcohol and Nutritional Deficiencies

Just like your skin, nails, muscles and internal tissue, your hair depends on a continuous supply of nutrients, many of which come from your diet.

Countless micro and macronutrients are involved in hair growth, from vitamins A, B12, C, D and E, to minerals such as zinc.

Many of these are found in food and dietary supplements, while some, such as vitamin D, are synthesized in your skin.

While it’s okay to drink a moderate amount of alcohol, drinking alcohol in excess can reduce the number of digestive enzymes released by your pancreas.

This may affect your body’s ability to break down and absorb the nutrients in food.

Because of the effects of alcohol consumption on nutrient absorption, many people with alcohol-use disorders have nutritional deficiencies.

In addition to its effects on your ability to absorb important nutrients, alcohol can affect the way you eat, causing you to choose unhealthy food over food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals.

In a study that formed part of the FinDrink project, a study on alcohol use carried out in Finland, researchers found that male heavy alcohol drinkers had lower intakes of fiber, calcium, iron and other important nutrients than non-drinkers.

Alcohol and Smoking

Many people smoke when they drink alcohol. In fact, alcohol is recognized as a common trigger for social smoking.

While alcohol doesn’t directly damage your hair, smoking does. Research has revealed that people who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to show signs of hair loss, premature hair graying and general poor hair health.

These issues are likely caused by the damaging effects of cigarette smoke on the structure and DNA of human hair.

Interestingly, smoking has similar effects on skin. Researchers have found that regular smokers show greater signs of aging than their peers, with the effects most significant in people with long smoking histories.

Of course, not everyone smokes when they drink. However, if you’re a social smoker, it’s worth considering the effects that smoking while drinking could have on the health and appearance of your hair.

Dr Kalpesh Prajapati