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Why Smoking Is Bad For Your Hair

Here's What Cigarettes Do to Your Hair

We've all heard time and time again that smoking is one of the worst habits around. In fact, smoking damages almost every organ in the body and kills nearly 444,000 people in the US per year, according to the American Cancer Society. So if those statistics alone aren't reasons enough for you to quit — or you're tempted to light up in any way, shape, or form — I'm here to help out. Perhaps you've taken my quiz about the dangers of smoking, and as promised, I've set out to explore exactly what smoking does to the body from a beauty perspective. Let's start off with its effects on hair. Find out more when you keep reading.

  • This stinks: The most obvious and immediate effect of lighting up? Your hair smells like smoke.
  • Dullsville: Smoking can cause your strands to turn brittle and dull-looking. This is because smoking constricts your blood vessels, restricting oxygen flow into the scalp. Essentially, your hair ends up lacking the nourishment it needs.
  • Fired up: From eyebrow hair to the strands atop their heads, I've seen people accidentally catch their hair on fire while lighting up a cigarette on more than one occasion. The stench of fuming hair and SOS calls to your stylist are never fun.
  • Hair loss: And if you're not losing hair because of flames, you might be losing it because smoking can cause premature thinning of the hair — even balding in some cases. A 2007 study published in the Archives of Dermatology proved that smokers, especially ones who smoke more frequently, are more likely to experience balding and thinning of the hair. This is most likely attributed to the fact that smoking damages the hair follicle and interferes with circulation and hormone production in the scalp.
  • Premature graying: A report in the British Medical Journal proved a link between puffing up and premature graying. This can be attributed to the fact that the toxins contained in cigarettes can not only cause damage to hormones, but to hair follicles as well. Also, once hair does start to go gray, it can take on an unwanted yellow hue thanks to tar and nicotine contained in cigarettes.
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