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Smoking Increase Risk for Hair Loss


For quite a very long period of time, people thought that hair loss was just a normal part of aging. The truth is, although our crowning glory normally becomes thinner, hair loss is not only caused by aging.


Based on some studies however, hair loss is prompted by other factors such as drugs, medications, and some underlying diseases. Alopecia can also occur among people who are genetically predisposed to be bald. Other factors such as psychological and physical stresses can also promote the development of a hair loss condition. Based on the results of a recent study conducted in Taiwan, smoking might also be another factor that promotes hair loss among Asian men.


Androgenetic Alopecia May Be Caused by Smoking…  


According to a report which appeared in the Archives of Dermatology, smoking might be linked to the occurrence of age-related balding among Asian men. Researchers point out that the most common form of alopecia that is associated with smoking is androgenetic alopecia.


Androgentic alopecia, also known as “male pattern baldness”, is an androgen-dependent hair loss condition that is hereditary. When a person has this hair loss condition, the patient will observe “progressive thinning of the scalp hair defined by various patterns". The usual signs include a receding hair line observed around the temples. In most cases, such is also accompanied by an obvious balding at the top center of the head.


Researchers point out that while androgenetic alopecia is generally a hereditary disease, there are various factors in the environment that can also promote the occurrence of this hair loss condition. They also explain that the onset of androgenetic alopecia usually occurs when men reach their early 20s. In some cases, the hair loss may manifest even during their teenage years.


Details of the Research…


The study was headed by Dr. Lin-Hui Su from the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen from National Taiwan University. It involved 740 respondents – all Taiwanese men - that had ages within the range of 40 to 91. The average age of the respondents was 65 during the study.


During the course of the research, the researchers conducted an in-person interview. The respondents were then examined and assessed by the researchers. Details about their smoking activity and other risk factors that might have prompted the occurrence of alopecia were examined. If the respondents were diagnosed with alopecia, the researchers took note of the age when the onset of hair loss was observed. The researchers also examined the degree of hair loss and vital statistics of the respondents. Blood samples were also taken for assessment.


Based on the results of the study, “The men's risk for hair loss increased with advancing age.” Furthermore, Dr. Su points out that "after controlling for age and family history, statistically significant positive associations were noted between moderate or severe androgenetic alopecia and smoking status, current cigarette smoking of 20 cigarettes or more per day and smoking intensity”.


Dr Su and Dr Chen further explained that the link between smoking and hair loss might be due to the fact that the habit might prompt the destruction of hair follicles. In fact, there have been some studies which imply that smoking can potentially damage the papilla. Such is responsible for circulating blood and hormones that promote hair growth. The papilla is also responsible for increasing the production of estrogen, which can then counter some hormonal effects of androgen.



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