Chinese Male Smokers More Likely To Lose Their Hair
November 20, 2007
Chinese men who smoke are more prone to age-related hair loss, according to an article in Archives of Dermatology (JAMA/Archives).
The researchers explain “Androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary androgen-dependent disorder, is characterized by progressive thinning of the scalp hair defined by various patterns. It is the most common type of hair loss in men.” The condition is mainly genetic. However, some environmental factors also have an impact.
Lin-Hui Su, M.D., M.Sc., of the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, and Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen, D.D.S., Ph.D., of National Taiwan University, Taipei, studied 740 males, aged 40-91 (average age 65) – they were all Taiwanese.
They gathered information regarding the men’s smoking habits through face-to-face interviews. Information was also collected concerning other factors for hair loss, plus how old they were when they started losing their hair. The researchers took blood samples, and measured the men for height and weight.
The scientists report, unsurprisingly, that advancing age was linked to further hair loss. However, they also reported that hair loss linked to age was lower among Taiwanese men, compared to Caucasian men.
The authors wrote “After controlling for age and family history, statistically significant positive associations were noted between moderate or severe androgenetic alopecia and smoking status, current cigarette smoking of 20 cigarettes or more per day and smoking intensity.”
This link could be caused by many mechanisms, the researchers note. Hair follicles might be destroyed by smoking, it could also damage the papilla that circulate blood and hormones to stimulate hair growth or increase the production of estrogen. Estrogen can neutralize the effects of androgen.
The researchers conclude “Patients with early-onset androgenetic alopecia should receive advice early to prevent more advanced progression.”