Does Smoking Shisha Cause Hair Loss?

6 min
Shisha smoking, also known as hookah, waterpipe, or narghile smoking, is a centuries-old tobacco-consuming custom that started in the Middle East and South Asia. It entails smoking flavored tobacco referred to as ma’assel, using a water pipe device. As a social pastime, the practice has grown in popularity around the world, especially among young adults. Tobacco is usually flavored with a variety of fruit, spice, or herbal essences and combined with molasses or honey, offering a broad assortment of flavors.
Smoking Shisha Hair Loss

The Impact of Smoking on Hair Health

The negative impacts of smoking in general on one’s health are well established, even though the exact association between smoking and hair loss may not be fully understood or backed by enough studies of research validating the findings. This impact on overall health may have an indirect influence on hair health and may be a factor in hair thinning and loss. Smoking can harm hair in a number of ways, including:

  1. Reduced Blood Flow:

    Smoking constricts blood vessels, hindering nutrient and oxygen delivery to hair follicles, which can impede their growth and health.

  2. Oxidative Stress:

    Tobacco smoke’s toxic compounds induce oxidative stress, damaging hair follicle cells and resulting in dry, brittle, and dull hair.

  3. Hormonal Effects:

    Smoking disrupts hormone balance, with elevated androgens and reduced estrogen potentially interfering with the hair growth cycle and exacerbating hair loss.

  4. Premature Aging:

    Smoking accelerates skin aging, including the scalp, potentially leading to hair thinning and loss of density.

  5. Increased Scalp Condition Risk:

    Smoking exacerbates scalp conditions like dandruff and scalp psoriasis, which can cause inflammation and harm to hair follicles, contributing to hair loss.


The Relation Between Chemicals in Shisha and Hair Loss

Shisha smoke contains a complex mixture of chemicals, many of which are harmful to health. Here are a few potentially harmful chemicals found in shisha smoke and their possible implications for hair health:

  1. Nicotine:

    Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in tobacco. It constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow, which can deprive hair follicles of essential nutrients and oxygen, potentially affecting their health and growth. Additionally, there might be a connection between nicotine and hair loss due to nicotine’s disruptive effect on hormone levels, which may contribute to hair thinning and loss over time.

  2. Tar:

    When tobacco is burnt, a sticky material called tar is created. It is full of toxic substances and carcinogens, which are substances that cause cancer. Although there isn’t concrete proof connecting tar to hair loss, the fact that it may be found in shisha smoke highlights the possible dangers of prolonged exposure.

  3. Carbon Monoxide:

    Shisha smoke has carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that disrupts the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to cells and tissues. Reduced oxygen delivery to the scalp and hair follicles can damage their health and function, possibly resulting in hair thinning and loss.

  4. Heavy Metals:

    Shisha tobacco often contains heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium, which can have toxic effects on the body. While their specific impact on hair health is not well understood, heavy metal exposure has been associated with various health problems, and their presence in shisha smoke adds to its potential risks.

  5. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):

    Shisha smoke contains a variety of VOCs that are known to be harmful to human health, including benzene, formaldehyde, and acrolein. While their direct effects on hair health are unclear, their toxic properties can have long-lasting effects on the body, potentially impacting overall health and wellbeing.

Tips for Hair Care for Shisha Smokers

As a shisha smoker, maintaining healthy hair might concern you. Quitting smoking altogether is the best approach to safeguard your hair and overall health from shisha’s harmful effects. If quitting is challenging, incorporating these recommended tips into your hair care routine can help minimize potential damage from shisha smoking and promote vibrant hair health. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Diet:

    Eating a well-balanced diet high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals will help maintain the quality of your hair. To supply the necessary nutrients for healthy, strong hair, concentrate on eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

  2. Stay Hydrated:

    Drink plenty of water to keep your body and hair hydrated. Dehydration can lead to dry, brittle hair, so try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

  3. Use Gentle Hair Care Products:

    Choose hair care products that are gentle and nourishing, avoiding those containing harsh chemicals or sulfates that can strip the hair of its natural oils. Go for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners designed to hydrate and strengthen the hair.

  4. Limit Heat Styling:

    Excessive heat styling, such as blow-drying, straightening, or curling, can damage the hair shaft and contribute to hair breakage and loss. Reduce the use of heat styling tools, and always use a heat protectant spray before styling.

  5. Protect Your Hair from the Sun:

    UV radiation may damage your hair and make it brittle and dry, especially if you live in a dry, hot place like the United Arab Emirates. When spending time outside, protect your hair from the sun’s damaging rays by wearing a hat or using an SPF-containing protective hair spray.

  6. Regularly Trim Your Hair:

    Regular trims help to remove split ends and prevent further damage to the hair. Aim to trim your hair every 6–8 weeks to keep it healthy and manageable.

  7. Practice stress management:

    Chronic stress can contribute to hair loss and other hair problems. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, to promote overall wellbeing and hair health.

Quitting Smoking and Hair Regeneration

Quitting smoking creates a healthier environment for hair follicles, potentially improving hair density, thickness, and overall health over time, although it may not directly stimulate hair regrowth. Here are some ways quitting smoking may contribute to hair regrowth:

  1. Improved Blood Circulation:

    Nicotine tightens blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the scalp and potentially stripping hair follicles of essential nutrients and oxygen. Quitting smoking enhances blood flow to the scalp, boosting the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, potentially stimulating hair growth.

  2. Reduced Oxidative Stress:

    Smoking exposes the body to high levels of oxidative stress due to the amount of harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. Oxidative stress can damage cells, including those in the hair follicles, causing hair thinning and loss. Quitting smoking reduces exposure to these damaging chemicals, potentially minimizing oxidative stress and supporting hair regeneration.

  3. Balanced Hormone Levels:

    By quitting smoking, hormonal balance may be restored, reducing the risk of hair-related issues linked to hormonal imbalances.

  4. Decreased Inflammation:

    Quitting smoking may help reduce inflammation, creating a more healthy environment for hair growth.

  5. Enhanced Nutrient Absorption:

    Quitting smoking improves nutrient absorption, ensuring that the body receives the necessary vitamins and minerals to support hair regeneration.


Even if there isn’t any concrete proof that shisha smoking causes hair loss, it’s still vital to take into account any potential negative impacts on hair health. Shisha smoking includes toxic compounds that can impact blood circulation, hormone levels, and oxidative stress, all of which can lead to hair loss and thinning over time. Thus, maintaining good hair health and general well-being can be improved by reducing exposure to shisha smoking and implementing healthy habits.

Popup image

Thank you for joining!