Alcohol and hair loss

Can drinking alcohol cause hair loss?

I keep on writing about bad habits also in this post. This time I decided to have a closer look at the effects of consuming alcohol. Is there any relation between alcohol and hair loss?

Woman is drinking whiskey
Several medical conditions may be related to alcohol misuse. Is hair loss one them?

The short answer is yes. Keep on reading and learn more about the reasons.

I suppose we all know the two faces of drinking alcohol. It can be a special part of a wonderful meal or make you feel good going out with some friends. And it can also destroy lives. Drinking too much alcohol obviously have several negative effects. Drinking regularly makes it even more serious. But is there any relation with hair loss? Our human body is wonderful and it tries to compensate as long as it’s possible but anything that is wrong to your body may cause health issues sooner or later. Given the complexity of human body these problems can vary. Excessive alcohol use will not just make you sick the day after but may have an effect on your sleep, the vitamin levels in your body or even your blood sugar. And just one of these can be enough to face hair loss. So the answer is yes. Alcohol use can cause hair loss

The reasons why alcohol may cause hair loss:

  • Poor nutrition: Alcohol means empty calories. Usually the more you drink, the less you eat. It’s like cheating your body. You possibly don’t feel to be hungry. In the meantime you’re slowly running out of vitamins and minerals that are important for your health. It will effect your scalp and hair, too.
  • Inability to absorb the nutrients: Even if you do care about taking the necessary nutrients with a balanced diet, you may face with the lack of vitamins. The reason is in the stomach. Alcohol can make it more acidic by destroying the lining of it. In such a condition it’s more difficult to absorb nutrients in the proper way.
  • Dehydration: Not only vomiting can cause dehydration. When you consume alcohol your body will possibly lose more fluid because of the decreased amount of anti-diuretic hormone. It makes your body capable for reabsorbing water. You can do something to avoid it. Drink water along with alcohol to prevent dehydration and the hair loss, dry and brittle hair or dandruff which may come along with it.
  • Poor quality sleep: Maybe you doubt this point because drinking can make you fall asleep faster. Unfortunately it’s poor quality sleep because alcohol blocks REM sleep, which is said to be the most restorative type. Poor sleep means higher stress level very often and it can be a reason of hair loss, too.
  • The change in estrogen levels: Yes, alcohol may influence the level of the hormone that is related to hair growth (and many more). Too much of it can lead not only to hair problems but depression or putting on some weight.
    Changes in blood sugar: Depending on the amount of alcohol you consume, it can increase (less drink) or decrease (more drink) the blood sugar. Long term you run the risk of diabetes, because it can make insulin less effective. And what about hair? Your hair will possibly not get the necessary nutrients from your bloodstream.
A woman with a glass of alcohol.
Not only the adults are involved. In 2016, 23% of 15 year olds reported having been drunk in the last four weeks. (Source: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-statistics )

Why do we drink?

We all know the bad effects of drinking alcohol more or less. And we say that health is the most important. So why do we drink all the same? Normally drinking alcohol is not for a daily routine but something for special occasions or going out sometimes. But if you read a little more about the facts, you’ll find that „alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK.” (Source: Alcohol Change UK, https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-statistics , downloaded: 29.05.2019.)

I know there is not one single reason to drink alcohol in a higher volume. But I also know that in a balanced life there should be more than just work for someone else, then getting home exhausted. We all need happiness and joy but it seems that we have no time to enjoy our lives. We are struggling to meet the expectations and very often the life we live doesn’t make us happy at all. There are lucky persons for sure, who love their jobs, for example, and rather think about it just like a hobby. I also used to have a work what I loved and it was normal to still care about it after the end of the working day, or even the working week. Nevertheless, the most of us are waiting for the weekend already from Monday. Of course, work is not the most important part of our lives but definitely the one we spend the most time with. We spend more time with work than with our loved ones. That’s why it has a really huge effect on our mood and our behaviour. There can be situations when a person feels her life (together with her work) to be a trap. Longing for some change but strictly ruled by the things „she must do”, like work. When you only see tasks and problems to solve everywhere and every day, you may reach a point when you feel to be not enough to do it and you may get depressed. In such conditions it’s not seldom that people think or feel that alcohol is the only way to forget every days’ troubles. It’s really sad. It’s like escaping. It’s like searching for some moments with no stress, no expectations, no problems. Moments of ease. Easy to say, harder to make… but we all have to make some changes sometimes. Mainly if it has an effect on our health.

Instead of alcohol

It’s essential to have some rest after work or during the weekend. We all should have some time to forget problems and focus on enjoying the moment. There are several different ways to do that. Try to find yours. Some just want to spend more time with loved ones, others like to go out with friends. Maybe you prefer going on a short trip or just taking your guitar and get lost while playing your favourite songs at home. Read a new book or try a new sport. After an exhausting week it’s essential to enjoy yourself for your heart’s content and start the next week with new energy. We can agree about that. But unfortunately it’s another example for easy to say, harder to make. Most people have no time for themselves. The reason can be having too many things to arrange but sometimes a better time management could help.

Woman makes yoga on the beach.

What to do to prevent medical conditions (not limited only to hair loss) caused by alcohol?

I don’t think there could be a better advice than not to drink, or at least drink wisely. Keep an eye on how much and how often you drink and consume water as well. Have a balanced diet and nutritional supplements also, if necessary. It’s widely known that alcohol intake can damage liver. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement with a lot of benefits and easily available on the market. This is an amino acid that can be found also in foods, like chicken, cheese, seeds and more. It is takes a big part of detoxification of human body. Learn more also about alcohol units and stay in control.

   

I also have my own personal experience about a family member with such problems so I really could see how harmful can alcohol be to someone’s life and overall health. And when I say someone’s life, actually it’s the whole family’s life. That’s why I think it’s important to ask for a doctor’s advice and help as soon as possible. When I started to write this post I just wanted to know if alcohol could cause hair loss or not. Soon I knew the answer is yes. Nevertheless I had to go further a bit because of the fact that it has much more negative effects than hair loss. Something that can actually destroy lives and make future kind of impossible or at least really difficult for some. It’s never too late to make a change but we have to acknowledge sometimes that we really need some help to do that.

Writing this post I used information from following websites:

The Recovery Village: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/alcohol-abuse/alcohol-and-hair-loss/#gref (29.05.2019.) 

National Sleep Foundation  https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-alcohol-affects-quality-and-quantity-sleep (28.05.2019.)

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019966 (29.05.2019.)

Alcohol Change UK:  https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-statistics (28.05.2019.)

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