Alcohol consumption in moderation has many proven health benefits. It reduces bad cholesterol, stimulates the heart, and aids in proper digestion, to name just a few. In excessive amounts, however, these modest health benefits evaporate. Alcoholics and heavy drinkers then find themselves at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, memory problems – and hair loss.
It’s just another health deficit from overconsumption of alcohol, which causes a variety of health effects, none of which are good for you in the long run.
Alcohol a Buzz Kill for Hormone Health, Hair Growth
Heavy drinking, or binge drinking, negatively affects levels of estrogen and zinc in the body. Research has shown that higher than normal estrogen levels result in hair loss. Zinc, on the other hand, is an essential mineral the hair needs to stay healthy and strong. Alcoholics and power drinkers also suffer from depleted levels of vitamins B and C, and folic acid. Vitamin B is critical to normal hair growth because it enables the body’s nervous system to cope with stress, a known cause of hair loss.
What’s more, overindulgence in liquor leads to rapid dehydration since alcohol is a powerful diuretic. Heavy drinking leaves the hair dry, brittle, and less abundant.
Food for Thought: Eating Well for Healthy Hair
Frequent imbibers are notorious for their poor diets and bad eating habits, and their lower-than-normal vitamin and mineral levels required for optimal hair health. The average lifespan of a single shaft of hair is five to seven years. Prolonged, excessive alcohol consumption shortens the hair’s lifespan and affects the quality of the remaining hair. People who drink too much on a frequent basis may find they suffer from patchy, thinning hair. They might think it’s in the genes when it’s really in the spirits they consume to excess.
Simply put, too much alcohol causes the hair to fall out. However, it’s only a minor side effect of alcohol overconsumption. Heavy drinkers really have much more to worry about like liver and heart problems and alcohol-related neurological disorders.
Ending Happy Hour: Do it for Your Hair
Thinning hair and rightly attributing it to excessive drinking may be the kick in the pants some people need to go and see a doctor who will help them get back on the long road to recovery. For those who don’t want to quit the habit, try zinc and folic acid supplements to mitigate hair loss.
If your hair loss is permanent because of years of alcohol abuse, you might want to consider hair restoration surgery to restore the beautiful locks that have been spirited away.
Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation.