6 Ways Drinking Alcohol May Affect Your Hair
Not feeling or looking your best after a night of too many cocktails isn’t uncommon. In fact, many of us are familiar with the toll alcohol can take on our body and skin—but how about our hair?
Alcoholism and female hair loss may not be something you’ve ever considered, but it’s something to be knowledgeable about. While drinking a glass of wine at dinner each night probably won’t have any real negative effects, if you’re someone who regularly tosses back a few a day, drinking alcohol and hair loss as well as alcohol and thinning hair could be possibilities.
Research surrounding alcoholism and female hair loss, as well as alcohol and dry scalp and alcohol and hair thinning, is minimal, but links have been found. Vitamin deficiency, inflammation, dehydration and stress are all side effects of excessive alcohol consumption, and none of these promote healthy hair. What’s most important to remember, though, is that a lot of what happens with your hair comes down to genetics and how you’re taking care of it (and your whole body). Here’s what you need to know about how drinking alcohol impacts hair loss, hair thinning, dry scalp and more!
1. Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?
First things first, having a glass of wine here and there probably isn’t going to affect your hair. Excessive drinking, though, can lead to some hair loss. This is because drinking a considerable amount of alcohol can affect the way your body absorbs certain nutrients that are important for hair health. For one, alcohol can affect how your body absorbs protein, which is a necessary substance for hair, studies have shown. Heavy drinking can also cause the release of higher levels of cortisol—and we know all too well how stress affects our hair!
The research surrounding hair loss and alcohol is thin, though, and is largely tangential—pointing at how alcohol doesn’t directly cause hair loss, rather how it affects your body and how that, in turn, can affect your hair.
2. Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Hair Thinning?
Similar to the way alcohol may or may not lead to hair loss, it is much the same story with hair thinning (a reduction in the diameter of individual hair strands). Alcohol primarily affects your skin, and research has shown that booze (especially sugary drinks) can lead to inflammation of your skin, including your scalp, thus a link between alcohol and thinning hair. The reason alcohol can lead to inflammation is because the sugar in alcohol can cause insulin spikes, which are actually hormonal spikes—and shifts in our hormones can affect inflammation. If you already deal with scalp-related issues such as inflammation you’re likely prone to alcohol causing inflammation that can damage hair follicles, which can weaken your hair and cause breakage as well as lead to some thinning.
This inflammation can also lead to scalp dryness (even more than the dehydration alcohol already causes), redness, itching and more. Though you can counteract some of these side effects with soothing and hydrating products, cutting back on the alcohol is the first line of defense.
3. What Happens to Your Hair When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
Fortunately, none of the negative side effects from drinking alcohol that we discussed above should be permanent. That means if you choose to stop drinking, you should see an improvement in your overall health and well-being. If your hair has become brittle and damaged, treat it to some caring products that’ll bring it back to life. Our Superpower™+ Advanced Hair Densifying Scalp Serum has everything you need to rejuvenate your scalp and bring your hair back to its original glory. This concentrated gel serum is specially designed for noticeable hair thinning and a sensitive scalp. It uses our gentle yet extra-potent Superpower™ blend combined with hair-nourishing and scalp-soothing plant-derived actives like rosemary extract and apple cider vinegar for thicker-, denser- and stronger-looking hair.
4. Does Drinking Alcohol Make Your Hair Dry?
When it comes to your hair, one of the biggest issues with drinking is alcohol and dry scalp—which leads to dry hair. Alcohol is dehydrating for your whole body, including your scalp and hair follicles, which require water to grow healthy hair. The ethanol in what you’re drinking is a diuretic, according to Medical News Today, which is dehydrating for your whole system. Not only will drinking make you thirsty and probably give you a headache from lack of hydration, but it can dry out your skin and dehydrate your hair. Drinking in excess (and frequently) will keep your scalp and hair dried out, which is hard to counteract efficiently. The alcohol will continue to dehydrate your hair as long as you keep drinking. And dry hair is brittle and prone to damage.
You can, however, help amp up the moisture in your hair with a repairing shampoo and conditioner, which are designed to give even the most damaged hair a new chance for moisture-rich, shiny healthy-looking strands.
5. Does Drinking Alcohol Make Your Hair Gray?
Most likely, this won’t be the case as alcohol and gray hair don’t really go hand in hand. Graying is largely due to genetics and natural aging, and while some research has been done on alcohol and graying, none thus far has been conclusive in linking the two.
6. Does Drinking Alcohol Make Your Hair Greasy?
Quite the opposite—alcohol will dry your hair out. Most likely it won’t cause it to be greasy, unless alcohol is affecting other parts of your life that could lead to greasy hair. For example, not washing your hair properly (or with the right frequency) and some dietary choices can lead to greasy hair. If you’re drinking in excess and eating a bunch of junk food and not washing your hair, chances are you’ll see greasy strands. It is possible, however, that your scalp may secrete more oil to overcompensate for a dry scalp and hair, leading to oilier hair. In these cases, a scalp cleanser like our New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser is a great option for absorbing excess oils while rebalancing a dry scalp. Neither of these factors, though, are a direct link to you ingesting alcohol.
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Better Not Younger knows that a holistic approach to hair health is best—and this means focusing on hair care, scalp care and inner health. Our collection of shampoos, conditioners, serums and supplements are specially formulated for the needs of mature hair, including issues related to alcohol and a dry scalp, inflammation and breakage, to help keep your tresses moisturized and looking strong and healthy.