Most people have a bad habit or vice they'd like to quit. Laying in bed looking at your phone? Guilty. That extra cup of coffee in the morning? Absolutely. Too tired to do the nightly skincare routine? Yep! But some habits are more challenging to kick than others, and if you're a smoker, you could be struggling.

You probably already know that smoking cigarettes exposes your body to dangerous toxins that can cause a heap of health risks, like heart disease, lung cancer and diabetes. And if what's possibly going inside your body doesn't hit home due to smoking, think about this: Cigarette smoking also has a huge impact on what you see in the mirror. Yellowing teeth, aging skin, brittle nails and hair loss are all side effects that smokers face if they struggle to ditch the cigarettes.

If you smoke and you've noticed excessive hair fall, it could be time to switch up your hair wellness routine. But that's not all; it's also important to fully understand the effects of smoking and the impact cigarettes have on hair loss. Read on to learn what VEGAMOUR found out from the experts.

How Does Smoking Cigarettes Affect Your Hair?

It doesn't matter how much healthier you appear to be if you're battling a smoking habit; your entire immune system is negatively affected. Smokers are more likely to experience hair loss and stunted hair growth for several reasons — but what's the actual science behind smoking and hair loss?

"Nicotine is an addictive substance found in cigarettes," said Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads. "It causes blood vessels to constrict, decreasing peripheral blood flow, including the blood flow to the scalp. Additionally, the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes can cause permanent damage to blood vessels, decreasing blood flow throughout the body."

Studies show that maintaining a healthy blood flow in the scalp and body can help increase hair thickness. To help kick-start your blood circulation and help stimulate hair growth, you could pick up a new habit — scalp massaging. And the GRO Revitalizing Scalp Massager is the perfect pick. Not only will you feel relaxed after every use, but the bristles will stimulate your hair follicles and get your scalp ready to soak in any VEGAMOUR hair serums or foams you choose to use.

Also, when you smoke, you deprive your body of essential nutrients. Smoking can even cause damage to the DNA of the hair follicle, according to this study. And you need healthy hair follicles for healthy hair.

Lisa Rhodes, a board-certified dermatologist practicing at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, said. "Healthy follicles grow thicker hairs, and a healthy environment with good blood flow helps maintain healthy and thick follicles." So it stands to reason that the more the follicles are damaged, the more changes you'll see in your hair density.

But the damage doesn't stop there. As your locks get lost in a cloud of toxic cigarette smoke, here are some other negative effects you could experience:

  • Premature graying: The hormones in your body are put under stress when you smoke, and the damage to the hair follicles can be long-lasting. These changes can cause the hair to lighten or go gray early.
  • Brittle strands: Smokers deprive their bodies of nutrients, which can make the hair dry and brittle. You might even notice your strands start to snap if you smoke over a long period.

Read: Why Your Hair Needs Beauty Sleep

How Does Smoking Accelerate Hair Loss?

The hair follicles need all the nutrients, minerals, and oxygen for healthy tresses that the blood flow supplies. The hair has three phases to its growth:

  • Anagen: Growth phase
  • Catagen: Resting and transition phase
  • Telogen: Shedding phase

Smoking restricts nutrients, and this can cause the hair to stay in the anagen phase for too long. If this happens, the hair will shed as usual (between 50-100 strands a day), but it isn't replaced at the same speed.

Find Out: How to Choose the Best VEGAMOUR Product for Your Hair

Is It Just Smoking That Causes Hair Loss?

Of course, cigarettes aren't the only thing that can cause hair loss. Men and women can struggle for different reasons. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to a slow hair growth cycle. Male pattern baldness is a common complaint, and family history can often be the culprit. Sameer Jafri, president and COO of cardiac arrest response service, Avive, noted, "Stress is the root cause of many disturbances in the body. Overthinking and stress can affect your mood and body in innumerable ways, such as hair loss, mental fog, ailments, chronic pain, etc."

He continued, "There are several types of stress-related hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata. Telogen effluvium is one hair loss type that affects each hair follicle and makes strands fall out simply while combing or shampooing. The hair loss can even get worse in the case of alopecia areata when the body's immune system starts attacking hair follicles causing unpredictable hair loss."

If you're experiencing masses of hair loss, always book a consultation with a health care professional to find out the root cause before investing in any hair loss treatments.

Related: What to Know About Stress & Hair Loss

Can Smoking Cause Hair Thinning?

"The toxins emitted from smoking can cause damage to the DNA of the hair follicle," said Jafri. "It also creates an imbalance in the antiprotease system, which can cause thinning of hair gradually. One major effect of smoking on different parts of the body is the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein that plays a vital role in maintaining the look of our skin or hair ... Smoking breaks collagen down, leading to less elastic skin, poorer hair follicles and even wrinkling. The effects of smoking on the hair through this route eventually lead to hair thinning and hair loss."

You could take a collagen supplement to boost your body's natural supply, but if you live a plant-based lifestyle, then traditional collagen formulas are definitely off-limits. Thankfully, you don't need to rely on collagen protein for healthy hair growth or plumper skin. There are options out there for you to explore. GRO Biotin Gummies for Hair feature biotin, zinc and also vitamins C, A and E, which help neutralize follicle-damaging free radicals. The formula is free from gelatin, and the minerals in the supplements nourish the scalp to help support healthy, radiant, glossy locks.

GRO Biotin Gummies

What Happens to Your Hair When You Quit Smoking?

Pretty much everything in your body will improve when you quit smoking. Your risk of serious illness and heart disease will drop, and your skin and hair will begin to look brighter. The natural hair growth cycle will improve, and your locks will likely return to a better condition. Scientists believe that smoke impacts the levels of estrogen in women. And when estrogen levels drop, thinning hair can occur. Giving up smoking will help improve your health and hopefully result in your locks grow back stronger and thicker.

Jafri suggested, "Change up the menu and start taking protein-rich food such ... This will help strengthen the hair follicles and reduce hair fall. Ensure your hair and scalp are clean and don't have dandruff by washing your hair whenever required. Use good hair products such as sulfate-free shampoo, hair serum and conditioners to clean the scalp and give proper nutrients to it."

GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner are the perfect duo to add to your hair care routine. They contain zero harmful additives and are full of powerful plant-based ingredients that can promote thicker, fuller and longer-looking hair.

GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner

How Long Does It Take for Hair to Grow Back After Quitting Smoking?

As with most good things in life, waiting for the hair to grow back to its best condition after quitting smoking will require patience. If smoking was the primary culprit causing your hair loss, then the wellness of your hair should soon improve once you've quit.

You can't reverse the damage that smoking does, but with a good diet, less stress, no cigarettes and a nourishing daily routine, you'll soon experience a healthier head of hair. If you're a long-term smoker, be aware that it might take longer to return to a healthy state. Stopping smoking will always be a challenge, but the energy you'll feel and your reinvigorated appearance will give you the boost you need to kick the habit for good. 

In the meantime, look for ways to boost your overall health, including an inside-out approach to hair wellness, to reach those positive benefits of quitting smoking sooner.

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Photo credit: Megan Forbes/Pexels

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