Cocaine and Hair Loss: Causes & Treatment Options

Lesser-Known Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive and can alter your brain’s structure if used regularly. Some of the more well-known effects of cocaine use are: depression, eating disorders, insomnia, cerebral atrophy, and damages to your heart. One of the lesser-known side effects of cocaine use is hair loss.

Can Cocaine Cause Hair Loss?

Cocaine and hair loss are connected in a few ways.

For one, cocaine causes rapid weight loss, depriving your body of the necessary nutrients needed for healthy hair. Secondly, cocaine can cause stress-induced hair loss, known as telogen effluvium. Lastly, cocaine can create lifestyle choices that neglect the health of your hair and your body.

Cocaine Addiction and Hair Loss

Cocaine and hair loss are connected in three ways:

  1. Nutritional Deficiencies
  2. Stress
  3. Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

Let’s break down each connection separately.

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Your body needs specific vitamins and minerals to keep you and your hair healthy. When exposed to regular cocaine use, your body has difficulty absorbing nutrients, and these effects are increased by the reduced appetite caused by cocaine. Not only is your body struggling to absorb vital nutrients, but there are also fewer calories and nutrients being consumed. When this happens, your body is forced to use its resources to support more critical bodily functions like your heart, and your hair takes the hit.

 

2. Bodily Stress

Now let’s take a look at stress-induced hair loss, telogen effluvium. TE is a type of hair loss that is typically seen after traumatic events, illness, or a shock to your system. Telogen effluvium causes increased hair shedding and thinning and is triggered by recreational drug use, stress, and poor diet, which can all be linked to cocaine use.

When your hair grows, it moves through three phases, anagen, catagen, and telogen. When you experience hair loss from telogen effluvium, your body has stopped moving through the hair phases and remains in the resting phase. This causes your hair to shed and fall out. While telogen effluvium can be temporary, if you are repetitively exposing yourself to stress and recreational drug use, the effects can be long-term.

Additionally, going through cocaine withdrawal can cause significant stress on the body and cause this form of temporary hair loss if the withdrawal is severe enough.

 

3. Lifestyle Habits

Cocaine and hair loss can also be connected through lifestyle habits. In order to have healthy hair, your body needs quality sleep, healthy foods, and of course, proper hair care. The problem with repeat cocaine use is it decreases your sleep quality, reduces nutrient absorption, and impacts your hair care quality.

Cocaine use reduces your sleep quality by increasing awake periods and negatively impacting your REM sleep. REM sleep directly impacts your memory and ability to learn. As you continually reduce your sleep quality, your body gets less of the REM sleep it needs and also spends less time repairing your body. As you sleep, your body is busy at work releasing hormones to repair itself. However, cocaine use severely impacts this process, which in turn can cause hair loss.

You might be starting to see how all of these different components are connected to cause hair loss. When you don’t sleep, your body can’t repair itself. The lack of sleep can increase your stress levels, and this can cause telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium can not repair itself if you neglect your nutrition and do not get quality sleep, which increases stress levels. As you can see, this is a never-ending cycle that directly impacts your hair and your overall health.

Crack Cocaine and Hair Loss

Crack cocaine is a different form of cocaine use. Crack cocaine is smoked rather than snorted. Crack cocaine is highly addicting, and you can get addicted as soon as the first time of use.

Similar to cocaine, crack cocaine also causes hair loss along with lung, heart, and kidney damage. Crack cocaine use also causes stress, reduced appetite, lack of sleep, and nutrient deficiencies, causing hair loss, similar to cocaine.

While neither form of cocaine is more likely to cause hair loss, per say, it’s fair to say that crack cocaine can harm your body more/faster than other forms of cocaine, thus, leading to increased risk of hair loss.

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Treating Hair Loss Caused by Cocaine

You likely saw this coming, but the absolute first step to getting your hair back is stopping cocaine use. The drug is likely affecting far more than your hair and no matter what other steps you take to regrow hair, you’ll likely continue to struggle unless you confront the root cause: addiction.

Because the type of hair loss caused by cocaine is typically temporary, you may find that simply beginning your recovery starts to rescue your hair. You’ll want to ensure you’re taking part in an accredited rehab program that helps you tackle your addiction at the source and also helps you get healthy (ie: learning exercise, using meditation, improving nutrition, etc).

There are many types of treatment for cocaine addiction like outpatient or inpatient or mutual support groups. Some of the best cocaine rehab success rates have come from inpatient treatment.

Can Hair Grow Back After Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

Typically. Cocaine hair loss is often caused by temporary stimuli like increased stress and malnutrition. You are likely to see the body naturally reverse hair loss once you’re in recovery. However, extended use of cocaine may have caused permanent hair loss that needs other treatments to be reversed.


If you’re looking to expedite your hair regrowth or are struggling to naturally reverse cocaine hair loss, there are a few options you can consider:

  1. Take a hair growth vitamin
  2. Use a laser cap
  3. Combine a myriad of holistic hair growth remedies

While some or all of these options may work for you, I listed them as they are likely going to align with your recovery ideals. All of these options are 100% natural and will not risk your recovery. Additionally, they all take a bit of focus and can help you focus post-rehab or be used while you’re meditating, etc.

A few pro tips on your journey:

Only take hair growth vitamins made of natural ingredients. Organic ingredients like zinc and biotin can be used for hair growth.

Be sure to look for laser caps that use low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Now, if you’re wondering what is LLLT, in short it’s a process cleared by the FDA that uses medical-grade lasers to shine a specific wavelength of red laser light onto your scalp and reinvigorate your natural growth patterns. Many people will wear their laser cap while meditating to help reduce stress and regrow hair at the same time.

Lastly, you need to be wary of medication options for hair growth (like minoxidil or finasteride). They can have severe side effects if you aren’t careful and may not be in alignment with your recovery goals. That’s why I’d recommend a more holistic approach to hair growth! Something as simple as a derma roller, meditation, and doing headstands can help.

About the Author

Tiffany Fuller is a creator for illumiflow, a revolutionary brand helping its customers regrow their hair, and Premium Web LLC.

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