Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

by Viviscal Hair Expert on October 19th, 2017

It’s no secret that chronic alcohol abuse has many unhealthy effects on the body, but can drinking alcohol cause hair loss? In truth, drinking alcohol can have both positive and negative effects on the hair. Will quitting drinking help you to regrow your hair? Read on to find out.

Alcohol and Hair Loss

Hair loss can have many causes. While alcohol itself doesn’t cause hair loss, drinking excessively can greatly contribute to some factors that cause hair loss. According to experts, drinking in excess is defined as consuming more than two drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women. If you drink more than the maximum recommended amount per day, you may be suffering from one of these effects of alcohol on hair:

Hair Loss Due to Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it decreases production of the hormone that causes the body to absorb water. This can result in increased urination and, ultimately, dehydration. Chronic dehydration can cause dry, brittle hair and parched skin. Brittle hair is more likely to break off, resulting in thinning hair.

Lowered Levels of Zinc and Iron

Heavy drinking can cause lowered levels of zinc and iron, both of which are necessary for healthy hair growth. Low levels of iron can lead to “telogen effluvium”, a condition in which an unusual amount of hair follicles move from the growing phase to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, leading to thinning hair. Insufficient zinc levels can weaken the protein structure of your hair, resulting in breakage and hair loss.

Liver Problems and Hair Loss

People who chronically abuse alcohol are at high risk to develop liver disease. Liver damage can result in poor digestion and a reduced ability to absorb nutrients in food. Without these vital nutrients, hair growth suffers and as a result, hair can thin and fall out.

Acidic Alcohol and Hair Loss

Your body has an ideal pH balance for optimal functioning, but what we consume affects that pH level. For example, fruits and vegetables have a healthy alkaline effect on the body. Conversely, alcohol and foods like red meat and dairy have a strong net acidic effect on the body.

When the body’s pH level is too acidic, it uses stored protein to restore balance. Unfortunately, the keratin protein in our hair is considered “non-essential”, so this protein from our hair follicles is often the first to go. Over time, alcohol’s acidic effect on the body can result in thinning hair and hair loss.

Does Beer Make Your Hair Grow?

Chronic, heavy drinking can have detrimental effects on healthy hair growth. But what about one beer here and there? Is drinking beer good for hair? The answer may surprise you!

Beer is perhaps the only “good” alcohol for hair, since beer is rich in the trace mineral silicon. In fact, beer is the richest source of silicon in the average diet. Silicon is thought to increase blood flow to the scalp, resulting in healthy hair. No need to go overboard, however. One small beer contains 10 mg of silicon, which is usually enough to promote healthy hair and nails.

Would Quitting Alcohol Help Regrow Hair?

Depending on the root cause of your hair loss, quitting drinking may help to encourage hair growth. In addition to healthier hair, chronic, heavy drinkers who stop drinking report seeing clearer skin, stronger nails, improved mood and energy levels, and better sleep. Eating a nutrient-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, reducing stress levels, and taking a comprehensive hair growth supplement like Viviscal Extra Strength will also help to promote thicker hair and reduce shedding.

All of that said, if you’re concerned that you have an alcohol problem, speak to your doctor about treatment options.