Smoking is a habit that seems to be as old to humans as humanity is itself.
With evidence of people burning tobacco seeds and leaves as far back as 12 and a half thousand years, it’s certainly one of the oldest habits we’ve picked up, earlier than widespread agriculture and the domestication of most of our animals.
It is also one of the deadliest habits and pastimes we have, being the leading cause of up to one in five deaths in the United States every year.
The numbers are certainly grizzly, that’s for sure, with almost half a million deaths annually.
From both inhaling cigarette smoke yourself to being a second-hand inhaler, smoking doesn’t just affect yourself, but also those around you.
The list of horrible and detrimental effects of smoking on your body is as extensive as it is deadly.
From increased risk of heart attack to its terrible effects on your appearance, especially around your head with your skin and teeth.
One of the big things that few people seem to ignore when it comes to your appearance and health with smoking, however, is what it can do to your scalp and hair.
Whilst it may not make for as eye-catching headlines as their effects on your heart and lungs (which isn’t wrong necessarily), you’ll be surprised how badly your hair suffers from your smoking habits.
In this article, we’re going to cover the effects of smoking on your hair, as well as what the benefits for it are when you o eventually decide to quit the habit.
We’ll also discuss how hard it can be to stop smoking, and why it can be so difficult for some people.
Effects Of Smoking On Your Hair
The main issue that smoking has on your hair is a similar effect that it has on many other parts of your body, mainly being that it reduces the amount of blood circulation around the various arteries and veins inside you.
With less blood bringing less oxygen to parts of your body, the signs of smoking become pretty clear for most people to see, and the same is true for your hair as well.
Not only that, but the smoke that you exhale also has a habit of sitting around you and your head unless there is a breeze, meaning that your hair is exposed to the toxic effects of smoking in two ways.
Here is a list of just some of the noted effects that smoking can have on your hair:
Altering The Smell Of Your Hair
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Being exposed to enough smoke from cigarettes in a day is bound to affect how parts of you smell, from your breath to your bodily odor.
The same is true for your hair, as it will start to smell of a foul, aged smokey smell.
This is a smell that is often very difficult to get out of your hair, as it takes a rigorous amount of washing to even start to remove it.
And considering that the awful smell is likely to return once you have another cigarette, it is ultimately a fruitless endeavor to try and remove it.
This is not a smell that is nice to be around, so you may find that the people around start behaving differently, or are less keen to spend time with you.
However, smelly hair and a diminishing social life will likely be the least of your concerns with the following effects.
Making Your Hair More Brittle
Due to the lack of blood flow and oxygen going to parts of your body, the necessary amount of nutrients that they need to be healthy will start to deteriorate.
This is especially the case for your hair.
As both your scalp and hair follicles fail to receive the oxygen they need, you’ll find that they start to become much dryer than normal, and you may find that hair strands start to feel thinner and more fragile in your hand.
In many cases, you may find that it is incredibly easy for them to snap or break away from your head in your hand.
This issue is related to the lack of blood flow to your hair that we have already mentioned.
With little to no oxygen going to your hair and keeping it healthy, you may find that your hair starts to thin, or even fall out, much earlier than you would otherwise expect.
This is especially the case for men, who seem to be at an increased risk of losing hair over women, and it seems to exacerbate any already-existing male pattern baldness that you might be experiencing.
Hair Discoloration & Graying
The natural color of your hair will also be damaged by smoking, as the follicles and hormones that give your hair their color will start to deteriorate, thanks to the chemicals found in cigarette smoke making their way into your bloodstream.
This may result in an uneven lightening, or even graying, effect on your hair.
Benefits Of Smoking For Your Hair
So, we have already talked about how bad smoking and cigarettes can be for your hair, amongst many other negative effects on the body.
So, what, if any, are the benefits of quitting smoking on your hair?
Well, because the main issue with your hair and smoking is tied to blood flow, and that will start to alleviate and lessen once you have stopped, many of the issues that we mentioned for your hair can start to improve quite quickly after stopping.
- Your hair will start to smell less of old cigarette smoke, and start to smell more like its natural odor once again. It will also be easier to clean with ordinary shampoo, and without damaging it.
- Your hair will start to look healthier again, as the blood flow going to your hair follicles start returning to a healthy amount. This means that it will be thicker, and feel healthier to touch once you have stopped smoking.
- Your hair may also start to return to its natural color again as well, as the follicles receive the right amount of nutrients to function properly.
- You may also find that some of that hair loss also starts to stop and reverse, although this isn’t a guarantee, as male pattern baldness occurs in many men naturally. If you want to avoid losing hair earlier than you think you should, the sooner your quit cigarettes, the longer it will likely last.
Will Nicotine Gum Affect My Hair?
Many people, wanting to quit cigarettes, but needing to satisfy their nicotine cravings, will use gum instead.
However, whilst this may not give your head the same pungent smell as smoking, the cutting off blood flow to your body is effect nicotine can still cause hair loss and thinning, as well as graying and discoloration.
In short, whilst it may be a tough habit to break, stopping yourself from taking nicotine, whether in cigarettes or gum, will do wonders for your hair.