Alcohol and hair loss - woman losing hair on comb which she is holding in her hand

Alcohol and hair loss may possibly be linked, but it’s important to note that experiencing hair loss is a common natural occurrence in individuals.

On average, we shed from 50 to 100 hairs every day, so if you notice it happening, it might be nothing. However, losing more hair than usual can cause you concern, and you probably want to know the reason behind it.

While it could just be your genetics, age, hormones, or a medical condition – there is an argument amongst experts that it could be related to alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism is a destructive force, and people addicted to alcohol can suffer from a breakdown in relationships, lose jobs and suffer long-term health issues. Whilst the evidence relating alcohol and hair loss is not conclusive – factors that contribute to hair loss can be made worse by drinking excessively.

If you are worried about how alcohol affects your hair, keep reading to find out what drinking could be doing to your hair and learn more about preventing alcohol-related hair loss.

How Alcohol Consumption Affects Hair Health

Alcohol consumption is known to have various effects on our bodies and appearance, and unsurprisingly, it can also have an impact on the health of our hair.

The connection between alcohol and hair health is not to be underestimated, as there are multiple reasons why these two are intertwined.


Especially if you are a man, alcohol and hormones can affect hair loss. Alcohol can increase oestrogen levels in your body, converting it from testosterone. Higher levels of oestrogen will lead to hair thinning, hair loss and bald patches.

Nutrient Absorption

Your body needs vital nutrients to remain healthy. Without the right nutrients, you will have less energy and increase the risk of chronic health conditions. Heavy drinking leads to your body being unable to effectively break down and absorb nutrients. People with alcohol addiction are also less likely to have a balanced diet. Low iron and protein levels will contribute to hair loss.


Alcohol can affect your sleep and mental health. You may sleep after drinking a lot, but it is not the sleep you need – making you overtired and in a bad mood. Constantly being tired can be a factor in your developing chronic stress. With chronic stress, it means your body is more often in a survival response, producing excess stress hormones. Stress more quickly moves hair from the growing stage to the resting stage – so more falls out than should.


As water makes up a large percentage of your body, being deprived of it is bad for you. Hair loss from alcohol can occur as alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it increases the production of urine in your body – which will lead to faster dehydration. This relates to your hair as water is important for your hair follicles. Lack of hydration leads to dry skin and brittle hair – increasing the chance of hair loss.

Alcohol and Hair Loss Symptoms

There are different types of hair loss with signs and symptoms that are not always related to alcohol consumption. Common symptoms of hair loss from alcohol are:

· Brittle hair
· Dry scalp
· Thinning hair on your scalp
· Increased hair loss
· Dandruff

Telogen Effluvium

This is a condition of temporary hair loss that makes your hair stay in the resting phase of growth. This means that your hair doesn’t grow and instead falls out in larger amounts. Hair thinning from alcohol like this is linked to the long-term stress that having an addiction can cause. You can distinguish telogen effluvium as there will be hair thinning on your scalp, and you’ll have dry hair that falls out easily. If it is this type of hair loss, you are unlikely to have an itchy scalp, burning or a rash.

Androgenic Alopecia

This is a common form of hair loss, more known as male-pattern baldness. Whilst this can be unavoidable, malnutrition could affect the progression. For men, it is noticeable when hair begins to recede from their hairline. In women, it will begin thinning on the top of the head.

Involutional Alopecia

This is another form of natural hair loss related to ageing. Nearly every person will come up against this as your body become less efficient as you get older. Signs of this type of hair loss are slower hair growth, greying, and thinner hair.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Hair Loss

Although alcohol and hair loss may be linked, sometimes, the effects of excessive drinking on our hair can be reversed. See below for some general advice on helping your hair get back to a healthier condition.

Cut Down on Alcohol Consumption

The obvious solution. Healthy hair and alcohol consumption are linked so cutting down on drinking will help not only your hair heal, but the rest of your body. If you have a serious addiction and cutting down isn’t enough – you should consider an alcohol rehab to get the treatment you need.

Balanced Diet

Replenishing your body with the nutrients you need is important to recover. A balanced diet will give you more energy and make you feel healthier. You should eat leafy greens, fruit, whole grains and lean protein to combat any nutrient deficiencies you may have.

Hair Care

Taking care of your hair should be a priority. Washing and conditioning it properly and using hair-thickening shampoos can contribute to better hair health. You should also avoid treating your hair with damaging chemicals and let it be natural for a while.


Taking time for yourself is important. Exercise, having a constructive hobby, yoga, meditation, and generally de-stressing are all good for you. Feeling calmer and less stressed will help your body heal in the way it needs.

Treating Alcohol-Related Hair Loss

It may get to you a point when you have to look at treatment for hair loss, rather than using preventative strategies. The good news is there are options available.


Finasteride and Minoxidil are common medications used to treat hair loss. The former is a pill that you take orally, whilst the latter is something you apply to your scalp. These can be used together for more effective treatment. Minoxidil can be used to treat female-pattern baldness, and they should not use Finasteride.

Hair Transplant

This is an option if the situation is irreversible. The transplant is done by taking hair from the back of your head and moving it to the place where it is thinning. This is not available on the NHS as it is a cosmetic surgery and can set you back from anywhere between £1,000 – £30,000. It is a safe procedure, but there are risks of bleeding, infection and an allergic reaction to anaesthetic.

Medical Treatments

There are other medical interventions available apart from a transplant. You could try steroid injections and creams on bald patches or try immunotherapy and light treatment. Other surgeries, such as scalp reduction and artificial hair transplant, are available.

Addiction Treatment

If your balding and alcohol consumption are closely linked, then dealing with the drinking problem is paramount. Undergoing an alcohol detox and engaging in talk therapies and other forms of treatment can help you beat your addiction. By dealing with hair loss, you are only dealing with the symptoms of the disease and not the cause.

Find Out More About Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you are worried about hair loss and your alcohol addiction, then it may be time to get help. Step One Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab dedicated to providing premium care to people that need it.

If you find yourself concerned about the impact of alcohol addiction on hair loss, it may be time for you to take proactive steps towards seeking help.

Step One Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre committed to delivering exceptional care to individuals who are struggling to cope with alcohol or substance addiction.

With a focus on premium treatment, we provide comprehensive support to help individuals overcome their dependency and address any associated concerns, such as hair loss.

Contact us today to learn more about the Step One Experience.