Alcohol & Hair Loss: The Facts

Alcohol and hair loss

Alcohol & Hair Loss

Find out more about alcohol and baldness.

Can Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

People who consume a lot of alcohol may notice that their hair loss seems to increase. This is likely due to the inflammation that alcohol causes throughout the body, and the stress it places on the liver.

Inflammation is an immune system response that happens when the body is injured or infected. Usually, inflammation is a short term process that ends when the body has been repaired.

Alcohol causes chronic inflammation to occur. This means that inflammation is a long-term, ongoing process. It’s thought that hair loss may be a result of this chronic condition.

Which Vitamins Does Alcohol Deplete?

The excessive drinking of alcohol can also lead to the depletion of vitamins, and malnutrition.

Alcohol may stop nutrients from fully absorbing. Many of these nutrients encourage healthy hair so when they are depleted our hair is going to suffer.

Some of the nutrients that can be depleted by alcohol include:

  • Zinc – Alcohol consumption may lead to a deficiency of zinc, which is important for hair growth.
  • Protein – Alcohol can inhibit the absorption of protein, another vital component of hair.
  • A & B Vitamins – Skin and hair require vitamin A and B vitamins to remain in good condition. Alcohol depletes the body of these key vitamins.

Alcohol hair loss

Does Alcohol Affect Hormones?

Alcohol abuse has been shown to lower both testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).*

High levels of DHT are thought to cause male pattern baldness. Therefore, by lowering levels of DHT some people have speculated that alcohol may actually help stop hair loss in men.

However, there is no evidence to support this.

Drinking alcohol generates oxidative stress within the body. It’s likely that this process is responsible for both inflammation and the decrease in male hormone levels.

Liver Disease & Hair Loss

Our liver performs a key role in maintaining good health. Nutrients are balanced, waste is detoxified, and hormones and proteins are produced.

When the liver is damaged all of this vital work is disrupted.

Too much alcohol overwhelms the liver causing damage and eventually disease. One consequence of liver damage can be hair loss.

If your hair loss is also accompanied by other symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss, and poor skin quality, then it may be a sign of liver disease.

What Does The Science Say?

There are numerous studies that reveal the negative impact alcohol has on hair:

  • Researchers analysing 30 people found that alcohol consumption may cause the early onset of androgenetic alopecia. This was likely due to the way alcohol affected nutrients in the body.**
  • 73.3% of people with a history of alcohol consumption started losing hair at an earlier age than those who did not drink alcohol.***
  • Alcohol was a significant risk factor in the development of frontal and vertex androgenetic alopecia.****

If I Stop Drinking Will My Hair Grow Back?

By stopping drinking alcohol the body should experience less inflammation. In addition, if a sensible eating plan is followed, depleted vitamins and minerals should return to normal levels. 

These factors may help your skin and hair look much more healthy and radiant.

However, there may be other factors contributing to your hair loss, such as genetics, hormonal problems, or separate medical issues

It’s a good idea to get your body healthy and assess the impact on your hair over a period of many months.

If you feel you still need help with hair loss, there are several regrowth treatments you can try.