Alcohol is a toxin, as most of you are aware of. Your bodily functions and health can adversely suffer if over-consumed. You can also experience hair loss as a result from excessive alcohol consumption or addiction.

The toxins in alcohol can wreak havoc on your heart, liver, skin and even your hair. In this article, we are going to specifically focus on how it affects your hair follicles. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between alcohol and hair loss.

Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

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You may be wondering how alcohol and hair loss are linked, and in this article, we are going to shed some light on this topic. You see, the potent effects of alcohol can affect the body internally. However, the external parts of the body can be equally effected.

Alcohol manages to create disfunction within your normal bodily functions and can end up having an impact on the growth and health of your hair. Here is how it all happens:

1.) Alcohol Causes Malnutrition

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Alcohol causes a loss of appetite in some cases. This is the primary cause of why heavy drinkers and alcohol addicts end up with hair loss. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol leads to poor nutrition, and if an individual does not consume the proper nutrients, their hair follicles do not get the boost they need for healthy hair growth.

Excessive alcohol consumption means drinking empty calories that do nothing good for your health. When you primarily drink liquor or beer, you are depriving your body of nutritional benefits. You drift far from maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Excessive alcohol also interferes with your digestive system, disturbing its power to absorb essential nutrients and vitamins for hair growth. It destroys the lining in your stomach and enhances acid productivity, so the body fails to absorb essential minerals, vitamins, calcium, fats, and proteins crucial for healthy hair.

With low levels of magnesium, potassium and all other nutrients due to alcohol, you cannot hold on to sustained and healthy hair growth.

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2.) Alcohol Causes Dehydration

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You may have noticed how you sometimes feel extremely thirsty when you wake up a morning after consuming a lot of alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and leads to dehydration due to increased urination.  This is one reason why you may suffer a terrible hangover the morning following a night of excessive consumption.

A large majority of the human body is made up of water, so it needs an adequate amount to keep the various systems in your body healthy.  When you are dehydrated, your body works in overtime to try and provide the necessary liquids to keep your system working properly.

Your hair follicles also largely depend on water to remain moisturized and healthy. Without adequate moisturization, your hair will become dry and brittle. This leaves the strands susceptible to breakage and damage.

3.) Alcohol Contains Preservatives

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Preservatives can be detrimental to the overall health of the human body. Unfortunately, most of our foods, body products, beverages and especially alcohol contain many harmful preservatives.

Alcohols need to have a longer shelf life, and manufacturers add preservatives to kill bacteria and maximize the life of their products for sale purposes.

Excessive alcohol consumption means you are also filling your body with these harmful preservatives. These preservatives, in turn, kill the good bacteria inside your gut that are responsible for keeping your bodily functions working properly.

Without proper bodily functions, your hair will be unable to receive the proper vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive.

4.) Alcohol Is Acidic

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Drinking a lot of alcohol disturbs the acidic level in our bodies. You may already be consuming foods that contain high acids daily, such as meats and cheese.

When your body leans heavily towards the acidic side, it works harder to decrease acidity levels, mostly by using up your body’s protein stores.

Keratin is a key protein that your hair follicles rely on to grow, but alcohol destroys that essential protein and further damages your hair. You can note the keratin is depleting in your body with signs like brittle, damaged and breaking hair.

5.) Alcohol Disrupts Sleep

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You need sufficient sleep not only to revive physically and mentally but also to allow your body to repair and heal from damages of the day. Sleep is crucial for a healthy body!

Alcohol interrupts the quality of your sleep. You may end up feeling stressed, overtired, and irritated, if not well rested.

With that being said, it is known that stress can cause hair loss. Therefore, it is just a domino effect of events. Sleep is needed in order to support a healthy head of hair.

6.) Alcohol Affects Blood Sugar Levels

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Blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day depending on your food and liquid intake. This is normal.

Your liver is largely responsible for regulating your blood sugar levels. When consuming alcohol, your liver’s functionality and ability to release glucose to your bloodstream can be altered. This can lead to abnormally high blood sugar levels.

According to Healthline, high blood sugar levels can lead to damage of the blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels can restrict blood flow to the scalp tissue. This can deprive the hair follicles from the proper vitamins, nutrients, and oxygen levels that they need to survive. The deficiency of these nutrients can have a negative effect on the hair growth cycle, leading to hair loss.

Conclusion: Can Alcohol Cause Hair Loss? Yes.

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Overconsumption of alcohol can be devastating for your body in many ways and can negatively affect the health of your hair. In recap, alcohol can cause malnutrition, dehydration, lack of sleep, and affects blood sugar levels. It is also acidic and contains preservatives that can be detrimental to your hair.

You can avoid the damage to your hair by reducing your alcohol consumption level and focusing more on a nutritious and well-balanced diet. You can also work on staying hydrated and getting enough sleep each night.


For more information on how health and hair loss are related, check out this article discussing how stress affects hair loss.


Alcohol and Hair Loss FAQs

Can alcohol cause hair loss in females?

Alcohol can cause hair loss in both males and females depending on how your body reacts to your levels of consumption.

Is alcohol bad for your hair?

Studies have shown that alcohol can have a negative affect on your overall hair health if over-consumed.

Is alcohol good for hair growth?

According to research, alcohol is not good for hair growth. It can in fact lead to hair loss.

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