Smoking has been proven to be bad for health, it can lead to several fatal health problems. But how does it affect your hair?
So, does smoking affect beard growth? Yes, smoking does affect beard growth negatively. Smoking reduces or prevents beard growth by reducing blood circulation to the facial hair follicles. Smoking will also lead to premature greying of both hair and beard. Alternatively, smoking has also been proven to increase testosterone which explains why women who smoke tend to grow more facial hair.
But why does smoking negatively affect beard growth despite boosting the levels of the beard growth hormone, testosterone? Shouldn’t it promote beard growth?
Read on to find answers to this question.
How Smoking affects beard growth
Reduces blood circulation
The growth of a beard is controlled by three factors – genes [androgen receptors] testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone [DHT].
Facial hair and hair in general sprout from sites known as follicles. But what does blood circulation have to do with beard growth you may ask?
Testosterone and DHT are transported to the beard genes [androgen receptors] by blood where they bind and kick start the process of beard growth. Testosterone primes facial hair follicles while DHT promotes beard thickness and its linear growth.
Therefore, for healthy beard growth blood circulation is very important to deliver these beard hormones plus other nutrients needed for growth.
Smoking has been proven to reduce blood circulation in the body through the following ways [source.]
- Causes inflammation leading to build up in your arteries
- Smoking damages blood vessels
- Thicken your blood making it difficult to transport oxygen
This means that smoking will reduce the number of nutrients and hormones reaching your beards. As a result, the beard hairs enter the resting stage faster and then get shed leading to stunted beard growth.
Actually, a study conducted in Taiwan revealed that men who smoked were prone to hair loss compared to men who did not smoke (source).
Collagen is one of the most important nutrients for both beard growth and skin health. Collagen promotes the production of keratin, the main protein which beards are made of. Collagen also ensures that facial hair follicles are working in good conditions and produce strong hairs, it also slows beard thinning and graying.
So, this lack of this important nutrient leads to stunted beard growth, premature graying, and beard loss.
Smoking depletes collagen by inducing the production of an enzyme called metalloproteinase MMP-1 that contributes to the degradation of collagen.
Furthermore, smoking will lead to the depletion of two vitamins that are very important towards the production of collagen, Vitamin A, and C (source).
Studies have already established that smokers develop grey hair faster than non-smokers source.
With reduced blood circulation, reduced collagen production, smoking will make your beard become grey faster than that of a non-smoker.
Dry and Brittle Beard
Keeping your beard and the skin beneath it moisturized is very important if you are looking forward to growing and maintaining a healthy beard.
While there are beard oils and lotions that are good at doing this, your body also does self-maintenance and ensures your facial hair and skin are moisturized.
Since smoking damages collagen and hampers blood circulation, it will affect the function of your sebum glands that will reduce the number of sebum oils produced leaving your beard dry and brittle. This will result in dandruff among other complications.
Facial hair in women who smoke
Well how comes smoke affects beard growth negatively yet women who smoke grow facial hair.
AS we have established above the growth of beards is dependent on genes, testosterone, and DHT. Studies have revealed that men and women who smoke have a higher level of testosterone in their bodies as compared to non-smokers (source 1, source 2).
Women whose androgen receptors are sensitive to testosterone will tend to grow facial hair when they are heavy smokers due to the increased testosterone. However, the facial hair growth is not that great and smoking also puts them at risk of suffering from breast cancer, diabetes among other deadly diseases (source).
Based on research carried out by the medical college of Wisconsin, women who smoke about one pack of cigarettes a day have higher chances of growing facial hair (source).
While smoking will increase facial growth in men, it does not have the same effect in men since unless a man has been diagnosed with clinically low levels of testosterone, boosting testosterone will not affect beard growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does smoking cause or increase facial hair growth? Yes, smoking causes and may increase facial hair growth in women who smoke about one packet of cigarettes, as smoking increases the beard growth-stimulating hormone testosterone. However, smoking cuts blood circulation, promotes graying, dries the skin which will cause hair and beard loss or stunted growth.
Does nicotine help beard growth? No, nicotine does not help beard growth. Nicotine reduces blood circulation by constricting blood vessels which cut of the supply of beard growth hormones and other nutrients that promote beard growth.
Well if you want to grow a beard you should quit smoking altogether. Smoking does not only affect your health it will affect your skin by causing premature aging and stunt both your hair and beard growth.
Blood circulation is very important towards the growth of your beard and smoking interferes with it and also causes premature graying.
For women who smoke one packet of cigarettes a day, they may experience facial hair due to increased beard growth hormone testosterone.