Up in smoke: Male smokers face 1.8 times higher risk of hair loss

By Hazel Tang

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers found male smokers are 1.8 times higher risk of hair loss ©  Getty Images
Researchers found male smokers are 1.8 times higher risk of hair loss © Getty Images

Related tags Hair loss Hair care smoking Hair Education

Men who smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day are more likely to suffer hair loss than those who do not smoke, new data reveals.

A meta-analysis of eight studies has found a significant association (p​ < 0.05) between ever smoking and the development of male Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), with a pooled odds ratio of 1.84 (95% CI: 1.55–2.14) when compared to never smoking.

Furthermore, researchers also underscore a significant link (p​ < 0.05) between ever smoking and an increased likelihood of progressing from milder to more severe patterns of hair loss in men.

Additionally, individuals who smoke up to 10 cigarettes daily, as opposed to those consuming at least 10 cigarettes per day, exhibit a higher probability of developing male pattern baldness (pooled OR = 1.96, 95% CI: 1.17–3.29).

While researchers failed to find a significant association between smoking intensity and the worsening of AGA in men, they suggest a potential correlation may exist.

More education on the negative effects of smoking

Hair loss is a clinically benign yet widespread condition. It involves various risk factors with smoking emerging as one.

Exploring the correlation between smoking and AGA is deemed valuable by researchers due to its status as a preventable risk factor.

However, despite the findings, it is crucial to note that all examined studies followed an observational design, either as case-control or cross-sectional studies. Consequently, estimations about the potential impact of smoking cessation on reducing the severity of AGA may be limited.

Additionally, as researchers point out, the exact nicotine levels couldn't be definitively determined from the analysed studies. Nevertheless, they emphasise the importance of educating individuals about the heightened odds of developing AGA among smokers compared to their non-smoking counterparts.

“Our patients with male pattern baldness need to be educated about the negative effects of smoking, given the fact that this condition can have a profound negative psychological impact on those who suffer from it.”​ Researchers wrote.

“Furthermore, there is only a limited number of nonsurgical treatments available to address male-pattern AGA, and some of these treatments may have possible adverse effects that could negatively affect patient compliance.”


Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

A meta-analysis study on the association between smoking and male pattern hair loss


Authors: Aditya K. Gupta, Mary A. Bamimore, and Mesbah Talukder

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