Hair Loss and Alcohol: The Hard Truths

If you consume alcohol once in a while, there is no significant impact on your hair. However, regular alcohol consumption through drinking or using certain alcohol-containing hair products may negatively affect the hair.

You can typically lose between 50 and 100 hairs from your head each day. So seeing a few strands in your brush or comb should be fine. If you are losing more than that, it is possible that overconsumption of alcohol is hurting you.

There is no direct relation between hair loss and alcohol. But heavy drinking can lead to nutritional deficiencies or hormonal issues that can thin out your hair.

Remember, hair loss has many reasons, so it is essential to consult a doctor to determine the cause. Continue reading this article to learn how excessive alcohol is bad for your hair and what you can do to promote healthy hair.

Hair loss and alcohol

The effects of excessive alcohol use affect every aspect of your body, health, and life, including your hair. Alcohol can cause hair loss for various reasons, all related to how alcohol generally affects the body. Still, the following are the most common reasons why alcoholics and heavy drinkers experience hair loss:

Nutrient absorption

  • Too much alcohol consumption can lead to nutrient deficiencies or malabsorption.
  • There is evidence that not getting enough nutrients may cause hair shedding.
  • Iron may play a role in hair loss in some people, but how it affects hair is unknown.
  • The findings of studies related to this are mostly inconclusive.
  • Zinc and copper absorption may also be affected by alcohol.

A 2013 study of people with four types of hair loss — Alopecia areata, Telogen effluvium, female pattern hair loss, and male pattern hair loss — discovered that zinc deficiency might contribute to hair loss. Other researchers have concluded that low serum copper levels may also be a factor in hair loss. However, there is a need for more studies.

There is also some evidence that copper deficiency may cause premature graying of the hair.

Drinking alcohol may also interfere with protein absorption or cause a decrease in protein consumption.

According to research, a severe protein deficiency can cause various skin, hair, and nail problems. You could have flaky skin, brittle nails, thinning, or hair loss.

However, the link between hair loss and alcohol is more than just a lack of nutrients or a poor diet.

  • Alcohol can also lead to hair loss by interfering with vitamin and nutrient absorption.
  • Drinking can damage the stomach lining and increase acid production in the digestive system, making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients properly.
  • Excessive drinking has a diuretic effect, which can result in lower potassium and magnesium levels in the body.

This makes it more difficult for your body to maintain normal, healthy functions like hair growth.

Thyroid problems

Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis can harm your thyroid gland and alter how it interacts with the brain.

It can also impact other hormone interactions that regulate a wide range of bodily processes, such as hair growth and shedding.

Severe or long-term hypo and hyperthyroidism can result in hair loss and thinning across the scalp.

This can happen suddenly or gradually over months or years.

However, according to scientists, mild or short-term cases of these conditions do not typically result in hair loss.

There’s also a link between alcohol withdrawal and thyroid disorders.

According to the researchers, chronic alcohol damage to the thyroid gland may be to blame in these cases.

Other Factors

Firstly, drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, making existing hair follicles dry and brittle, increasing the likelihood of hair loss.

Alcohol can cause blood sugar spikes, leading to pattern baldness in Diabetes.

Poor quality sleep, which can result from excessive alcohol consumption, can increase stress levels. The increase in stress levels can result in hair loss. This can cause a condition called telogen effluvium, which is characterized by stress-induced hair loss.

Overall, these factors show a direct correlation between alcohol use and hair loss. It is important to moderate alcohol consumption to maintain healthy hair.

Is hair loss from alcohol reversible?

Hair loss due to heavy drinking can be reversible if you address the underlying cause.

By abstaining from alcohol and eating nutritiously, your body will receive the nutrients required for average hair growth.

It will be able to absorb these nutrients more efficiently.

While restoring deficient nutrients may help to improve hair health, it can take months for nutrients to reach a healthy level and hair growth to occur.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 aim to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms even further.

Adults of legal drinking age should avoid drinking or drinking in moderation.

Men should drink no more than two drinks daily, while women should avoid drinking more than one daily.

Other steps that you can take to keep your hair strong are:

  • Drink plenty of water helps keep the scalp hydrated and healthy
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fats
  • Wash and condition hair according to your hair type and preference helps keep hair clean and healthy
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like hair dyes or other hair treatments can prevent damage to hair


Excessive alcohol consumption can cause hair loss due to dehydration, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and stress.

Whether hair loss is reversible depends on several factors. Still, a healthier lifestyle with a balanced diet, and hydration, can promote hair health.

To maintain strong and healthy hair, it is essential to monitor alcohol consumption and adopt healthy habits.

If you struggle with your drinking, a treatment center can help you overcome your addiction and connect you to the care you need.

There are various support groups available to help you in your road to recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does alcohol cause permanent hair loss?

Alcohol does not directly lead to hair loss, but it does cause other issues that can result in hair loss. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a lack of nutrients and hormonal imbalance, eventually losing hair.

Will hair thicken after quitting alcohol?

Yes, as your body begins to repair itself from the effects of alcohol, your hair will regain its former strength. Your hair’s growth rate will accelerate, and you’ll notice a transition from hair loss to fuller, shinier locks.

How much alcohol causes hair loss?

While alcohol may not directly cause hair loss, it can contribute to thinning or loss of hair.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and liver damage, indirectly affecting hair health.

Does whisky cause hair loss?

Yes, overconsumption of alcohol can lead to hair breakage and thinning over time. Furthermore, it can negatively impact overall health, making excessive consumption harmful to hair and the body.

Will my hair grow back if I stop drinking alcohol?

Stopping drinking and addressing deficiencies caused by excessive drinking can help promote hair growth. However, hair loss caused by genetic factors or underlying health conditions may not be reversible by simply stopping drinking. It is best to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.



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