Does Alcohol Affect Hair Loss?
Blog by Guest Contributor, Aderans Hair Centre Trichologist Elizabeth
It’s that time of year again (well, it was), the sun is making a big comeback and the summer is starting to feel a lot closer than before. After witnessing a colleague take a deep breath of the fresh air before exhaling with an “Ah, its beer garden season”, I thought alcohol and the affect it has on the hair could be a relevant discussion, because let’s face it… for many, she is presenting what they feel to be true! Summer is in fact a time of over-indulgence.
Whether its a glass of wine with lunch or a pint down the pub with your mates, even just occasionally overdoing it, have you ever wondered if alcohol has an effect on your hair?
The good news is, there are no direct links between hair loss and exceeding the recommended units of alcohol. However, the side effects related to excessive drinking can, in turn, have an impact on your hair.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine and dehydrates the body as a result. Prolonged dehydration of the body will make your hair dry and brittle as the hair follicle needs water to produce healthy hair. You can’t grow plants in the desert! So, drink plenty of water while consuming alcohol, especially before going to sleep… that will help with the hangover also!
When drinking or suffering a hangover we make the worst choices around what food we should eat. A greasy fry up for breakfast instead of a bowl of oats and berries, for example. Good nutrition is a key building block for the creation of healthy hair, so if you are not fueling the body with the right vitamins and minerals your hair will ultimately suffer. Men and women who drink are at an even higher risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These include vitamin B12, zinc, and calcium, all of which are essential for proper hair growth.
B12, also known as cobalamin, aids the production of oxygen rich red blood cells, which feed the follicles.
Zinc plays a key role in hair growth and repair. It also has antimicrobial effects which means it can help treat bacterial skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. If bacteria enter the follicle, folliculitis and impetigo can occur.
Calcium aids hormone and enzyme secretion which is important for strong healthy hair. It also helps the absorption of iron which is vital for great hair.
Alcohol also prevents the body from functioning properly. Putting a strain on your liver can lead to a build-up of toxins and can cause inflammation in the body, miniaturizing the follicle to produce finer, shorter hair.
A nightcap may sound like a good idea for the perfect night’s sleep, but studies have shown that alcohol-induced sleep is of poor quality, making you tired and irritable the next day. This will raise your stress levels and higher stress levels have a direct effect on your hair.
Oh, your poor hair! What’s next?
While taking a dry month, as many people will have done not so long ago in January, is great for the body and hair, ultimately many fail to achieve this and end up feeling deflated. The truth is that just by improving the amount of water you drink can have a huge effect on your hair.
Each strand of hair is made up of 25% water, keeping your hair strong and preventing breakage which improves hair growth.
When we are well hydrated the hair will grow around a centimetre a month.
So, enjoy yourselves in the summer sun, but stay hydrated with water if you do. Drinking responsible will not have any lasting effects on your hair.
If you’re drinking excessively or have been affected by any of the topics discussed in this week’s blog, seek medical advice from your doctor on how to reduce or quit your drinking habit.