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MHR Clinic Manchester’s consultant Ethan Denton answers the often asked question, ‘Can alcohol cause hair loss?’

One of the first things we associate with alcohol intake is a sore head. But one of the last things we consider when drinking is how bad it is for our hair.

Our consultants at MHR Clinic see many clients who ask them, ‘Can alcohol cause hair loss?’ And the stark and frank answer to their query is a simple, ‘Yes, it can’.

Lifestyle plays a huge part in the health of our bodies and the harsh effect of boozing takes its toll on us from head to toe. So, if you’re a regular drinker, facing hair loss and wondering, ‘Does alcohol cause hair loss?’ here is everything you need to know.

The more we drink, the greater our chances are of losing our locks. There are several contributing factors as to why this is so, and here they are.

Nutrient Deficiency causes hair loss
Protein displacement
Water
Sleep and hairloss

Nutrient Deficiency

Drinking alcohol causes nutrient deficiencies and imbalance in our bodies. We need vitamins and minerals for our body to function properly. The process of producing healthy hair from the follicles in our scalp is part of that. In particular, it is understood that alcohol inhibits the absorption of zinc, and zinc deficiency leads to the underdevelopment of hair follicles. Zinc is key in the keratinisation process, which is the formation of the protein keratin to create the hair follicle and healthy hair. Without it, the development of each can be stunted and in acute cases of zinc deficiency hair loss can occur.

Protein Displacement

Alcohol intake shifts the body’s pH balance towards the acidic end of the scale. While our bodies exist in this imbalance they use various proteins stored in the body to restore an optimum condition. One of those proteins is keratin which is a key element of in the production of follicles and healthy hair growth. When it is isn’t available for those processes, hair can begin to suffer. It can become damaged, brittle, easily broken and weak enough to thin or fall out. The more alcohol we consume the more keratin protein is rerouted from the maintenance of good hair growth to the balancing of the body’s pH environment. Only a reduction in alcohol intake can change this displacement.

Dehydration

Most people know that alcohol causes dehydration. It’s why we take a glass of water to bed and consume a few more when we wake up after a night on the drink. Water makes up almost 80 percent of our human weight and it’s needed to keep bodily systems working and healthy, including our hair follicles. A lack of good hydration of the skin causes a loss in its strength and elasticity. When this occurs on the scalp it leads to damage in the follicles on our head, as well as the hair shafts that grow from them. Again, hair that grows from a dehydrated scalp can become damaged, brittle, easily broken and weak enough to thin or fall out.

Sleep and Stress

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption leads to poor quality of sleep and contributes to higher stress levels. Sleep is vital because it gives our bodies time to heal and repair from any damage incurred during our daily lives. This extends to the follicles and hair on our head. Stress has long been a reason many people suffering with hair loss and more about the effect of stress on our hair can be read here. Each of these things should be regulated properly to prevent hair loss and a good way to start is by cutting back on the booze.

The good news is that hair loss caused by alcohol intake is rarely permanent. Alcohol hair loss is reversible. By reducing the units of alcohol we ingest to the recommended 14 per week, and by ensuring our diets contain good nutrition, we can reverse hair loss caused by alcohol. If you want to understand more about the causes of hair loss and how it can be reversed, please talk to MHR Clinic about the options available to you. Telephone 01565 745 344 or through this contact page.
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