Heavy Drinking and Hair Loss – Should You Be Concerned?

Heavy Drinking and Hair Loss – Should You Be Concerned?

While there is a myriad of reasons that someone might suffer from hair loss, one culprit that is frequently discussed is heavy alcohol use.  It is a myth that consuming alcohol alone causes hair loss; the reality is that heavy consumption of alcohol has many negative impacts on the body and the stress that results, can and likely will lead to receding hair lines.

Alcohol Abuse Harms Results In Poor Health and Can Lead To Hair Loss

Alcohol consumption affects the general functioning of bodily systems in everyone who drinks it; however, the impacts seen in those who regularly abuse alcohol are much greater.  To begin with, alcoholics or alcohol abusers suffer from several vitamin and mineral depletions.  These include zinc and biotin – necessary minerals in the growth of healthy hair – as well as vitamins A, B, C, and D which are key for general body health.  Folic acid levels also drop which leads to a decrease in the development of healthy cells and anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) levels drop, resulting in dehydration.  Since heavy alcohol use typically coincides with a poor diet and lack of nutrition, those vitamins and minerals are not being actively replenished – a state that places extreme stress on the body.  This stress frequently results in “telogen effluvium,” otherwise known as follicle dormancy where hair ceases to grow.  Though generally reversible, telogen effluvium is a major cause of alcohol-related hair loss.  Finally, alcohol abuse increases estrogen production in both men and women.  Increased estrogen, in turn, is a frequent culprit of hormonally-imbalanced hair loss  – a process that increases stress and further irritates the problem.

Reversal of Hair Loss Due to Alcohol Abuse is Possible

Hair loss problems exacerbated by alcohol will possibly reverse once heavy consumption ceases; however, it is best to see a doctor and allow time to tell.  In the meantime, zinc and folic acid supplements alongside an improved diet can assist in quickening hair growth and there are medications that can potentially aid the problem.  Propecia, for example, blocks the hair loss-causing androgen DHT, allowing hair follicles to recover and eventually begin producing healthy hair again.  Minoxidil is also a prescribed drug that can assist in the stimulation of regrowth.  In any case, the effects of alcohol abuse can be far reaching and medical assistance should be sought to deal with the alcohol addiction and abuse. Fortunately, the hair that has been lost from the complications present in alcoholics and binge drinkers is certainly one that can (hopefully) be treated quickly.