Alcohol consumption on the rise
Alcohol consumption is on the rise globally, in almost every country.
Take Canada, for instance.
In 2013, almost 80 percent of the country’s population said they had consumed alcohol at some point during the previous year, and at least 3.1 million said they had drunk enough to put their health at risk.
What we drink and how much we drink matters. Alcohol consumption has a direct impact on your health. It can increase your exposure to heart disease, liver cirrhosis, and even some forms of cancer.
It can also have consequences for your appearance, which raises the the question - does alcohol cause hair loss?
Is there a link between drinking and hair loss?
A growing body of evidence suggests that the strength and fullness of your hair can be affected by your diet and lifestyle.
A recent study from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, found that twins - who share a genetic predisposition towards similar patterns of hair loss - can actually suffer from varying degrees of baldness, depending on their lifestyle choices.
“Twins are genetically destined to have the same number of hairs,” one of the researchers, Bahman Guyuron, MD, said. “What is amazing is how many of the twins [in our study] have exactly the same behaviors, the same things matching, except one or two factors that possibly may contribute to these differences.”
According to the study, the factors that contributed to the twins differing patterns of hair loss included their income levels, their marital status, and - crucially - what they ate and drank.
How does alcohol cause hair loss?
You don’t have to consume a lot of alcohol for it to damage your hair. The effects can be subtle and develop over a long period of time.
Here are some of the ways in which alcohol can cause hair loss.
Zinc and iron are two of the most important minerals for your hair. They both provide nutrients to your body that contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails.
But alcohol consumption can stop these minerals from being absorbed properly into your system, and the resulting deficiencies can lead to hair loss conditions such as telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium causes hairs to quickly and prematurely enter the end phase of their life cycle, which is where they remain dormant for three months before shedding.
Another way in which heavy drinking can contribute to hair loss is dehydration. Alcohol - particular beer and ale - contains huge amounts of salt and, once you’ve finished drinking, that salt needs to be cleansed from the body.
As your system attempts to rise itself of the alcohol, you urinate more frequently, and the body’s ability to process nutrients - such as iron and zinc - that are really important for hair growth is weakened.
A badly dehydrated body will make your hair more dry and brittle, which could in turn clog or break your hair shafts resulting in further hair thinning and loss.
Alcohol is very acidic and when you drink it, you change the alkaline balance of your body. The human body has to maintain a good pH balance in order to grow and function properly.
But when it becomes overly acidic, it tries to restore your pH balance using the protein already stored in your body to reduce the acidity.
One of these proteins is keratin, the key component your hair uses to rebuild and replenish itself. So when you consume alcohol, you use up your stores of keratin and accelerate or reinforce pre-existing patterns of hair loss.
Spikes In Blood Sugar Levels
Alcohol can also contain substantial amounts of sugar. Alcopops and cocktails, for example, are both packed with loads of sucrose and fructose, so when you drink them your blood sugar levels rise.
And when your blood sugar level spikes quickly, the blood circulating in your body doesn’t reach the hair follicles or the roots of the hair as fast as it should.
Consequently, the pores of the hair become under-nourished, the roots get weaker, and your hair stops growing.
Eating Unhealthy Food
Another factor that contributes to alcohol-related hair loss is the link between heavy drinking and unhealthy eating. Heavy drinking often goes hand in hand with the consumption of salty, fried foods like pizza, fries, and burgers.
A diet full of these sorts of items can have really negative consequences for your hair. This is because it limits your intake of healthy proteins, starving your body of the keratin it needs to maintain the vitality of your hair.
What are the solutions for alcohol related hair loss?
The most obvious way of dealing with alcohol related hair loss is to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. That doesn’t mean that you have to stop drinking all together, just that you should drink in moderation and, when you do drink, make sure you do it after you’ve eaten a healthy meal full of nourishing proteins.
Your hair would also benefit from a better balance between the less healthy aspects of your lifestyle and the healthier aspects.
Exercise is great for your blood circulation, and good circulation, with your blood reaching all parts of your body - including your liver and your hair follicles - is really good for your hair.
Then there is Dr. Yu’s Formula Pro Hair 2, which made of traditional Chinese ingredients - such as Shu Di Huang and Hei Dou - and promotes physical fitness and improved blood flow to your scalp. It is also an organic way of boosting your Iron deficiency!
There’s also Dr. Yu’s Pro Hair Tincture, which is a liquid for your hair designed to promote rapid hair regrowth and strengthen your hair, even after heavy drinking. It works to reverse the effects of rapid hair loss and clean your scalp of any grease or dirt that might be clogging your hair follicles.