Heavy drinking can cause a wide range of physical and mental health problems, not least of which is hair loss. There are a number of ways alcohol can lead to hair loss, including damaging the follicles and causing nutritional deficiencies that affect the growth of healthy hair. While more research is needed to understand exactly how alcohol affects hair growth, it’s clear that heavy drinking can have an impact on your appearance.

In this article, we look at the connection between heavy drinking and hair loss, plus advice on what you can do if you think your lifestyle is affecting your locks:

Effects of heavy drinking on hair

Alcohol contains toxins that can have an extremely negative effect on your body, including – and especially – your hair. Heavy drinking can lead to nutritional deficiencies which can cause hair loss and damage. Alcohol can also damage the cells that make up the hair follicle, which can ultimately lead to hair thinning or balding.

Let’s explore the effects of heavy drinking on hair in more detail.

Hair follicles

Hair loss associated with heavy drinking is a concern for many individuals. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause serious damage to the hair follicles, leading to shedding and thinning of hair, as well as altered hair growth and texture.

The science behind how long-term drinking alters hair follicles is complex and includes factors such as:

  • Dehydration which has an immediate impact on the structure of the hair follicle resulting in weakening and thinning of strands.
  • Reduced blood flow around the scalp area which impairs oxygen and nutrient breakdown, harming the cell responsible for growth and reducing new healthy strand production.
  • Changes in hormones due to the body using protein in order to metabolize alcohol, leading to a person’s hormone levels being off balance.
  • Toxin overload due to heavy drinking over long periods, making it more difficult for one’s diet to properly support healthy cell formation.

Taken together, these physiological changes induced by heavy drinking create a hostile environment for hair follicles leading to weakened strands or even complete alopecia in severe cases where an individual’s scalp becomes completely bald. Therefore if an individual knows that they will be engaging in heavy drinking it is important that they take preventive action like consuming more proteins rich dietary items alongside water when possible so that any negative impacts on their hair follicles are minimized or at least accounted for by proper preventive nutrition plans ahead of time.

Hair loss

One of the possible effects of heavy drinking can be hair loss. This condition is known as alcoholic anagen effluvium, which is a type of hair loss precipitated by excessive or long-term alcohol consumption. Hair loss is not common amongst casual, moderate drinkers, and it only generally occurs with those suffering from, or close to alcohol addiction.

This type of hair loss occurs when the blood supply to the follicles is interrupted due to an inflammatory reaction in response to too much alcohol in the system. The response causes them to rapidly enter a resting phase – which means they not only stop producing new strands of hair but also that those already present will quickly fall out.

Hair loss from heavy drinking can occur at any place in the scalp, including:

  • Temporal balding
  • Cowlick / top balding
  • Everywhere (diffuse)
  • Total baldness

In cases of alcoholic anagen effluvium, it often takes several months for the follicles to regain their normal growth cycle and begin generating new hairs. It may take a total abstinence from drinking for 12 weeks before one begins noticing significant regrowth in their hairline and even then there are no guarantees that all affected follicles will recover completely.

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Hair thinning

Heavy drinking is associated with certain forms of hair loss. Alcohol consumption can disrupt the body’s natural process for growing healthy hair, leading to thinning, shedding, and overall slower growth. This is due in part to the fact that alcohol inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients which are necessary for healthy hair growth and vitamin E metabolism.

Hair thinning is a common symptom of heavy drinking because alcohol reduces the amount of proteins that help make new strands of hair. Protein helps nourish existing strands and often results in less thick or less noticeable hair. Heavy drinking also increases levels of dehydration which weakens each single strand making it more vulnerable to breakage or shedding.

It’s important to note that effective hair restoration requires abstinence from all forms of alcohol addiction and addressing underlying health issues that may be causing your condition through diet change and lifestyle modification. If you choose to drink, take steps toward responsible drinking by practicing moderation and monitoring your liver function regularly with blood tests if you’re chronically abusing alcohol so you can minimize further damage to your body including the risk of permanent baldness associated with alcoholism.

Causes of heavy drinking

Heavy drinking can lead to a variety of issues including hair loss. In this article, we will discuss the causes of heavy drinking and how it can affect your overall health.

The causes of heavy drinking can range from emotional issues to physical problems, and from environmental influences to genetic predispositions. Let’s take a closer look at the possible causes of heavy drinking:


Genetics may play a role in heavy drinking and hair loss as alcoholism is often genetically passed through families. Studies suggest that people who have a first-degree relative that struggles with alcohol use disorder (AUD) are more likely to develop an AUD themselves than those without an alcoholic family member. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that the risk for those with a parent or sibling who have had an AUD is 4-7 times greater than someone who does not.

Alcoholism is also influenced by genes related to processes in the body like metabolism and the brain’s reward center, which affects the way people feel when they drink, leading them to want to drink more and be less likely to avoid heavy drinking. Additionally, those with certain gene variants show an increased responsiveness to stress, making them more vulnerable to using alcohol as a way of managing their emotions or struggles.

Hair loss can also be genetic since it is often passed down through families, affecting men and women alike. Certain variations in genes like male pattern baldness gene have been linked to baldness in men while Androgenetic alopecia has been linked with thinning hair in both sexes. Genetic predisposition combined with other factors such as age can lead to hair thinning and shedding of hair strands at higher levels than what might be expected from natural shedding cycles. Those with genetic predispositions might find themselves more susceptible even if off just moderate amounts of alcohol over time, so it is important for those looking to reduce their risk of hair loss due to alcohol consumption understand their personal genetics too when considering lifestyle modifications.

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Heavy drinking can be linked to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Chronic heavy drinking is associated with disruption of the body’s natural stress response system. This leads to a decrease in endorphins as well as higher levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released when the body is under stress. Chronic exposure to high levels of cortisol in the body can disrupt many bodily functions, including hair loss from chronic heavy drinking.

Additionally, alcohol can interfere with the absorption and metabolism of certain vitamins and minerals that are necessary for normal hair growth, such as

  • vitamin A
  • B-complex vitamins
  • zinc

When alcohol interferes with these essential nutrients, it can lead to hair thinning or balding over time. Other mental health factors such as depression or anxiety can also contribute to male pattern baldness caused by heavy drinking in combination with environmental factors like family health history.

Hormonal imbalances

One of the most common causes of heavy drinking is hormonal imbalance. When hormones are thrown out of balance, cravings for unhealthy substances can increase. This can be due to chronic stress, lack of sleep, and poor dietary habits. It is also possible that alcohol abuse could be caused by hormonal imbalances. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of developing issues such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Hormonal imbalances resulting from heavy drinking can also lead to hair loss in both men and women. Alcohol disrupts hormone production and metabolism in the body, leading to a decrease in vital nutrients such as iron and zinc, which are crucial for healthy hair growth. Additionally, ethanol present in alcohol affects testosterone levels that are responsible for maintaining head hair health, leading to hair loss or thinning of hair strands.

Heavy drinking can also weaken the immune system over time which may cause a decreased ability for the body to fight follicle inflammation or illnesses that could lead to baldness or alopecia. Thus it is recommended for one suffering from excessive alcohol consumption and excessive hair loss to step back from alcohol consumption entirely until optimal health is regained.

Treatment for hair loss due to heavy drinking

Alcohol consumption is known to have a huge impact on our overall health, even leading to hairloss in some cases. Heavy drinking can cause physical and psychological problems that could result in hair loss. Fortunately, there are various treatments available for hair loss caused by alcohol consumption.

In this article, we will discuss the different treatment options to help you get back your healthy hair:

Proper diet

To effectively treat hair loss due to heavy drinking, it is important to properly nourish the body. Eating a balanced diet that is high in vitamins and minerals can help promote healthy hair growth and improved overall health.

A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B complex, C and E, calcium, iron and zinc can help support a healthier scalp. While consuming these vital nutrients directly from food sources is ideal, many people also use supplemental vitamins and minerals. If you are uncertain which nutrients are best for promoting healthy hair growth, consult with your doctor or a nutritionist.

In addition to consuming nutrient-rich foods that support healthy hair growth, minimizing refined sugar intake can be beneficial as well. Refined sugars spike insulin levels in the body and can worsen existing forms of hair loss related to heavy drinking or any other condition. Consuming complex carbohydrates like whole grains helps manage blood sugar levels better than simple sugars found in processed foods such as candy or pastries do. Eating lean proteins such as fish or poultry also helps keep blood sugar levels more consistent throughout the day as opposed to eating red meat sources with high fat content which could worsen an existing case of hair loss due to heavy drinking.

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Stress management

Heavy drinking can cause hair loss due to its effects on the body such as increased levels of stress hormones. Alcohol puts strain on the body that can lead to severe exhaustion, unhealthy eating habits, and nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals essential for hair growth.

The best way to prevent hair loss or reduce further damage is to address the underlying cause of heavy drinking. This may include managing stress levels, which can influence heavy drinking and ultimately even lead to excess consumption. Some methods that could help reduce stress include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Meditating or practicing yoga
  • Spending time in nature
  • Talking with friends/family about stressful problems
  • Journaling about solutions for challenges faced daily
  • Getting enough restful sleep each night
  • Relaxing with gentle human touch such as massages, physical therapy or acupuncture

By regularly addressing areas of stress and finding healthy coping mechanisms, individuals may be able to limit their alcohol consumption over time. Additionally, it is important for people recovering from alcohol abuse to receive professional support from a doctor or counselor throughout their recovery process in order to ensure lasting healing.


Supplements are readily available at most drug stores and health food stores. According to HairMX, there are three key supplements that can help with heavy drinking-related hair loss. These supplements provide necessary vitamins and minerals which help the body adapt to alcohol consumption, as well as reduce hair follicle death due to vitamin deficiencies.

  • Zinc and Biotin: These two minerals act as metabolic enhancers, helping the body utilize nutrients when deluged with alcohol consumption. Zinc aids in forming essential enzymes in red blood cells and helps promote cellular repair while biotin helps the body produce glucose necessary for productive hair growth.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant necessary for collagen production and repair of damaged connective tissues throughout the body. By consuming Vitamin C either through food or supplements you can not only bolster existing cell health but also maximize protection from further damage caused by anti-oxidant radicals and other toxins released during alcohol metabolism within your system.
  • Nettle Extracts: Nettle extracts have been utilized in traditional herbal remedies to increase blood flow and oxygenation to scalp tissues necessary for active hair growth; consumption of this extract is thought to help retain existing hair on scalp tissue.


In conclusion, excessive alcohol consumption is linked to hair loss and poor hair health. Therefore, it is in the best interests of anyone who drinks heavily to reduce their intake or quit drinking all together. The good news is that hair loss caused by excessive drinking is often reversible; once the individual stops consuming alcohol in large amounts, their hair condition has the potential to improve within a few months.

The only caveat is that if the underlying cause of a person’s heavy drinking was related to a medical or psychological issue, they will still need to address this issue as well. In these cases, professional help and support may be necessary for full recovery.

By Reiki

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