Does Liquor Cause Hair Loss – In Detail!

Liquor and hair loss

Are you a heavy drinker or have you been drinking moderately? Nevertheless, have you ever questioned whether “could liquor cause hair loss?”

The liquor consumption and hair loss does not have a direct link. However, if you are a heavy drinker or even a moderate drinker, then you might be at the risk of losing hair. Well, to be honest if you are a heavy drinker, hair is the least of your problems. However, drinking can affect the absorption of certain nutrients by our body which are crucial for healthy hair.

In this article I will discuss, why and how liquor could cause hair loss, and what can you do to minimize its impact.

Why does liquor cause hair loss

Alcohol can affect your hair in various ways. The liquor can have non-severe and severe impacts which could lead to hair loss. Let’s break them down 

Non-Severe Causes

The non-severe causes are the most common reasons faced by many individuals who experience hair fall due to alcohol. These causes may not be life threatening, but could have significant health impacts, including weak hair and skin.

1. It dries up your skin

Dehydration and dry skin is a common outcome of consuming liquor which leads to various skin related issues including dry scalp and weak hair.

Due to the busy lifestyles, many individuals disregard the importance of adequate hydration for their body. The drastic changes in climate and global warming has made the condition worse.

The alcohol content in your liquor will increase the amount of fluids in the body that pass as urine making your body more dehydrated much quickly [1] [2]. This dehydration will cause the skin and the scalp to be dry.

This could lead to dry hair and scalp irritations. Both of which can make the hair weak and prone to break much easily.

2. Alcohol cause nutritional deficiencies

Balanced nutrition is crucial for healthy hair growth. In a previous article I have emphasized how various kinds of vitamins assist hair growth and how other types of nutrients affect your hair. Most alcohol consumers tend to eat a poor diet, with low nutritional value.

A drinker might be deprived of important minerals like iron, zinc and calcium which are crucial for healthy hair. Especially due to the poor choice of food or having low appetite for food after drinking. These are indirect influences of alcohol on nutrition.

Having said that liquor could affect your nutrition directly. Alcohol content in your liquor could also impair the nutrition absorption in your body. Let’s take a look at how alcohol impairs nutrition in your body.

2.1 Protein

The cells and tissues in our body get damaged every day due to various reasons. They need a healthy amount of protein to recover and rebuild.

Hair is also made up of cells and also contains keratin which is a type of protein which is there to provide strength and structure to your hair.

The studies indicate that alcohol consumption could impair the protein absorption or the protein synthesis process [3].

Protein deficiency could cause hair thinning, flaky scalp and hair brittles [4]. This could lead to premature hair fall or even severe hair loss if the situation is untreated.

2.2 Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps the human body in various aspects. One such aspect is that it helps to keep our skin healthy and nourished by helping in the process of producing collagen [5] [6]. Collagen is important for healthy cells to repair the damages and increase the strength. 

The liquor that you consume could impair the absorption of Vitamin A [7]. If you are not getting enough Vitamin A, then your body would have a relatively low chance of producing collagen to keep your cells and tissues strong.

This could lead to weak hair and brittles on the scalp in severe conditions, which could lead to hair fall.

2.3 Vitamin D

However there are no solid research studies done, the experts believe that Vitamin D would help to produce new hair follicles meanwhile restoring the hair growth [8].

Same as for Vitamin A, the alcohol in your booze would block the absorption of Vitamin D in your body [9]. If that happens, then your body will have low chance of regenerating hair follicles and restoring hair growth.

2.4 Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties in them. Such antioxidant properties would help to fight against free radicals or the oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the damage caused to our skin due to the environmental pollution, climatic changes etc. [10] [11].

Further Vitamin E also helps in collagen production.

The experts point out that alcohol could also influence the absorption of Vitamin E. If that happens, your body would lose the ability to fight against oxidative stress and as a result will have weak skin cells which could lead to hair fall.

Severe Causes

These are the causes which occur due to severe alcohol abuse and could be life threatening. If you have these conditions, you would lose hair. But the condition could be so severe that your life would be at risk more than your hair.

1. Could impair the thyroxine function

Thyroxine is produced and released to our bloodstream through the thyroid gland. Thyroxine is responsible for the development of the brain, muscle and cell functions, etc.

The alcohol that we consume will increase the toxicity in the cells of our body. This can impair the thyroid production process in our body. [12]

Proper functioning of the thyroid hormone is important for healthy hair growth. If your body is producing low or high amounts of thyroxine hormone then your hair body will stop hair growth process and promote hair loss.

The improper functioning of thyroxine hormone can lead to an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, in which your hair will bald in circular patches. [13]

The experts suggest that the hair will return back to normal when the thyroid hormone starts to function properly once again.

2. Liver damages can increase the level of toxins

The liver in the human body will help to break up the toxic substances in the blood that is coming out from the digestive tract. It helps to detoxify the blood from harmful toxic chemicals.

But when the liver detoxifies alcohol over and over again without getting a chance to recover, then there is a risk of damaging your liver. When the liver is damaged, the toxic substances get accumulated in your body. [14] [15]

This can affect the cell regeneration and growth in your body, which could lead to hair loss and stagnated hair growth.

3. Alcohol can impair the sleep patterns

The cells, tissues and muscles in our body recover and grow at night while we are at our sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.

The abuse of alcohol could lead to sleep deprivation, where people would not get adequate sleep to allow the body to recover and regrow. [16] [17]

The human hair is made up of cells, and they get damaged due to various reasons. Mainly due to the environmental pollution. So if the cells in your body do not get a chance to recover from such damages then your hair will be weaker and will break easily.

If you have sleeping issues, it can also elevate the stress hormone which could lead to hair loss.

4. Alcohol may increase the blood sugar level

The booze that you consume is rich in calories. Booze combined with carbonated drinks and junk food could increase the level of blood sugar in your body. 

As a result the over consumption of liquor on a daily basis could cause diabetes. An untreated diabetic condition could damage the blood vessels and vital organs like kidneys, liver etc in our body. [18] [19]

This could lead to poor supply of blood to your cells and accumulation of toxic substances in your blood.

As a result various health implications could arise, including hair loss.

Is hair loss from liquor temporary

Liquor could cause hair loss or weaken your hair in several ways, ranging from dehydration of the body to severe malfunction of vital organs in your body.

Depending on the underlying condition leading to hair loss, they are divided into two categories as severe and non-severe.

When determining whether the hair loss is temporary or permanent, the severity of the condition must be analyzed. Basically, the experts point out that the hair loss due to non-severe causes such as dehydration and poor nutrition is temporary.

Once a person adopts a healthy lifestyle, and follows a nutritious diet plan, his/her hair will be back to normal. Given that there is no genetic hair loss involved.

However, if a person is suffering from a severe condition affecting the hormones in the body and damaged vital organs, then the consequences can be much more complex.

If a person is losing hair due to such severe causes, then he has more problems to worry about than their hair. However, the general opinion is that the hair loss due to severe causes tend to be permanent or at least difficult to recover from.

How to minimize the damage to your hair and drink liquor

There are various health guidelines advising the drinkers on how to consume liquor safely without causing severe damage to their health. Here are some suggestions, by taking the health guidelines into consideration, to minimize the damage to your hair from liquor.

1. Take adequate amount of water

The health guidelines suggest that an average male should consume at least 3-4 liters of water and an average female should drink at least 2-3 liters per day. The water requirement of every individual may vary due to various reasons such as the body mass, the environment that they live in, body activity level etc.

The alcohol content in the liquor will dry up your body more than usual. Therefore you must be mindful to take an adequate amount of water when drinking.

My advice is to drink about a liter of water one hour before drinking and at least a liter of water, one hour after finishing the drinks. Its better if you can continue drinking water after finishing the liquor, without limiting yourself to one liter of water.

This will help to minimize the impact of dehydration from alcohol in your body. The amount of water that you should drink depends on the amount of alcohol that you consume. More the alcohol, the more water you should take.

2. Eat healthy

Nutrition is highly important for healthy cell growth in your body. As mentioned before protein, and various kinds of vitamins will help to keep the hair strong and healthy.

Therefore it is crucial to get a balanced diet, containing the required level of nutrition. Now you know that alcohol could block the absorption of certain nutrients. So the next question is, when should you eat healthy?

The human body takes about 6 to 8 hours to digest the food. So if you are planning to eat healthy before drinking, then you should have it at least 6 hours before drinking. 

This does not mean you can’t eat after that, but simply the rate of nutrient absorption decreases, when you eat closer to the drinking time. So if you want to enrich your body with proper nutrition, then 6 hours before drinking is the best.

After you drink, the alcohol will remain for like 24 hours in your body. But the effect of alcohol minimizes once you stop drinking. So if you are planning to go healthy on your diet after drinking, then it’s better to have it at least after 8 hours counting from the time you finished drinking.

3. Limit your drinking days and quantity

The number of times that you take liquor and the amount of liquor consumed per sitting is crucial to minimize the health side effects.

Your body needs time to recover from the damage caused by the alcohol. Especially to the cells and vital organs in your body. If you keep on consuming liquor on a daily basis, then there is no chance for your body to recover.

Therefore my suggestion is to limit your drinking days to a maximum of two times per week and the quantity should be the recommended drinking level per sitting. 

If you are exceeding the standard level of drinking, then you must reduce the frequency of drinking. You must strike a balance between the two. 

4. Oil massage

The alcohol will dehydrate your body and as a result your hair will be dry and dull. Therefore it is better to apply an oil mixed with Vitamin E on your scalp and gently massage it.

To get an idea on what kind of oil to mix with Vitamin E, check out my previous article from here.

Follow this procedure for at least twice a week. This will re-hydrate your hair and the massaging will promote a healthy blood flow and help to nourish the hair.

When to see a doctor

The hair loss due to non-severe causes will return back to normal once a person starts to follow a healthy lifestyle. A doctor is not needed in such situations.

You could simply adjust your lifestyle by limiting the drinking days and quantity and be mindful to eat a healthy diet adhering to the required level of nutrition.

However, if you have developed a severe condition, then a doctor’s opinion is crucial. The problem is to find out whether the conditions are severe or non-severe.

The best way to find out is through a series of blood tests like fasting blood sugar(FBS), liver profile, thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH) etc. 

It’s better to get the doctor’s opinion before getting a blood test. But if you are worried, you could get it done by yourself through a certified loboratory.

After all it’s your health. If you think you have been drinking regularly and fear that you have a severe condition, then do not delay anymore. Your life may be at risk, rather than your hair.

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