Many people in the UK and Worldwide take part in Dry January each year – a one-month alcohol free challenge. But did you know… taking a break from alcohol may also benefit your hair?
There are many different causes of hair loss; with some of the main causes being genetics, hormones and lifestyle factors such as diet and stress. While alcohol and hair loss are not directly related, alcohol consumption does have other effects that can trigger hair shedding and other hair health problems. It is important to note that a moderate intake of alcohol will not cause your hair to fall out, but excessive alcohol consumption may lead to other health issues that will impact the hair.
Nutrition and Diet
As mentioned previously, lifestyle factors such as nutrition and diet are one of the many common causes of hair loss. The hair is the second fastest diving cell in the body, and the hair follicles are highly active and sensitive, so it’s not surprising that nutrient deficiencies can have an impact on hair growth. Consistent excessive alcohol consumption can lead to nutrient deficiencies and poor absorption of these vital nutrients. Some of the key nutrients that can be affected are:
- Iron is vital for our health and wellbeing, as it helps with the production of red blood cells, optimises energy levels, nourishes muscles and supports your immune system. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body to all of our organs including the hair follicles. A deficiency in iron may result in your body not making enough red blood cells, and therefore, not enough oxygen is carried around your body. The hair follicle is not essential, so the body will channel oxygen to all of the vital cells first. If the hair follicle doesn’t have enough oxygen, it will not function properly causing the hair to shed, and resulting in a condition called telogen effluvium (excessive hair shedding).
- Zinc supports hair tissue growth and repair, keeps the sebaceous glands functioning and helps to moderate inflammation, which is present in common scalp conditions. Zinc also provides energy to the hair follicle to support healthy hair growth. Low or deficient Zinc levels are often seen in conditions such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also lead to dehydration. Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. This can subsequently result in damage to your hair health.
The hair strand contains water. If you are dehydrated, the hair strand cannot get enough water, and the hair will lose strength and volume. Dehydration can also lead to the hair follicles becoming very dry and brittle, making the hair much more damaged, and prone to shedding. Dehydration may also even lead to scalp issues such as dandruff.
To sum up, it is very unlikely that your alcohol intake will be the cause of hair loss, as there is no proven correlation between alcohol and hair loss. However, if you do notice your hair beginning to thin or is shedding more than normal, increasing your vitamin and mineral intake with changes to your diet, or a supplement, as well as increasing your daily water may help with this. As always, if you have concerns over your hair, we would always recommend seeking advice from a Qualified Trichologist.