Is there any connection?
What factors worsen genetic hair loss? Factors such as sun exposure, cigarette smoking, and obesity have all been studied and associations have been found.
What about consuming alcohol? Have studies found that chronic excessive alcohol consumption worsens hair loss?
There are mixed answers with some studies showing that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with more severe hair loss. Others have not found a connection.
For example, a recent study of 954 men and women by Salman et al did not find a link (An Bras Dermatol 2017) nor did studies by Lai et al. (PLoS One. 2013) and Zeigler-Johnson C et al. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013)
However, studies by Yeo et al and Severi et al showed that a clear link does exist between higher levels of alcohol consumption and greater risks for hair loss. The references are provided below.
Epidemiological studies addressing associations between factors are very difficult to perform. For now, the data is somewhat mixed regarding whether or not long term alcohol consumption worsens hair loss or not. It certainly appears not to be beneficial and some evidence does support a worsening of hair loss from chronic heavy alcohol consumption.
Yeo IK et al. An epidemiological study of androgenic alopecia in 3114 Korean patients. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2014.
Severi et al. Androgenetic alopecia in men aged 40-69 years: prevalence and risk factors. Br J Dermatol. 2003.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299