Does Cocaine, or Other Illegal Drugs, Cause Hair Loss?

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Does Cocaine Cause Hair Loss; Drugs That Commonly Contribute To Permanent Hair Loss

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug, and chronic use of cocaine can cause long-term side effects. Does cocaine cause hair loss? Does the damage go away? Can you reverse the damage? Does your hair ever go back to its healthy stage? Let’s see how cocaine can cause damage to your hair and what can bring back the shine you always had. 

Cocaine drug abuse hair loss

Compared to the many life-threatening side effects of cocaine usage, hair loss may seem like nothing, but did you know that hair loss can cause serious mental health issues? Losing hair isn’t a minor thing; it can adversely affect your confidence and self-esteem, causing depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. 

Yes, hair loss is secondary compared to heart diseases, kidney damage, and respiratory problems caused by illegal drug and cocaine use. However, it’s still a side effect worth exploring and understanding because you may be unable to reverse the damage. The permanent hair loss for cocaine users can be a huge deal when they get sober and leave the high life behind.

On July 24, 2023 BBC reported that social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram are being used to find young children to buy crack cocaine.

Let’s explore how drug abuse, especially cocaine, can cause hair loss and how many types of hair loss are there and which are permanent and irreversible. 

  1. Natural Hair Growth Interference

Excessive use of cocaine or recreational drugs can interfere with your hair’s natural growth. Between crack cocaine and other drugs, crack cocaine wins by a large margin when it comes to losing hair. The stunted hair growth due to drug abuse is known as telogen effluvium, and it commonly occurs when the hair follicles go to sleep or are shifted to the rest phase. Substance abuse, especially cocaine abuse, also hinders blood vessels in the scalp, which may decrease blood flow. As a result, hair follicles may become weak and fall out.

hair loss cocaine drug abuse

Does that mean you have lost your hair for good?

To understand how this works, you must first understand the hair growth cycle and how cocaine diminishes healthy hair growth. 

Your hair growth cycle goes through three phases, from birth to old age. Losing hair in old age is normal, but losing hair prematurely due to cocaine and illegal drug use isn’t. 

  • The healthiest phase is the anagen, when your hair follicles are most active, and your scalp is at its healthiest. In this state, your hair grows around the clock. 
  • The second phase is when your hair follicles move to the catagen phase. It’s the phase where the follicles are at rest, and they stop growing. The rest phase will soon turn into the telogen stage. At a closer look, you can already notice signs of temporary hair loss.
  • The third phase is the telogen stage when your hair health dwindles, and you start shedding follicles. Between the 2nd stage and 3rd stage, you don’t get much time to help your hair get back to health. Losing 50-100 hair daily is normal, but anything above this isn’t normal; it’s alarming. This alarming hair loss situation arises due to excessive cocaine use and other illegal drugs.
  1. Structural Damage From Drugs

Our hair is made up of keratin, and excessive and illegal drugs like crack cocaine use can cause damage to the building blocks of our hair, causing excessive hair loss. This damage is known as structural damage, which is more or less irreversible unless you start growing healthy hair after losing the dead ones. Cocaine is known to weaken the bond, and lifting the hair from the shaft causes permanent hair loss, which can result in alopecia.

There are many types of hair loss; alopecia is among the most severe and almost always irreversible. 

Again, hair loss due to cocaine may not seem like a huge deal, but in the long run, after rehab, the bald patches and thinned-out hair became the root cause of depression and low self-esteem. It takes a lifetime if ever, to get your hair back to its routine or somewhat healthy stage after quitting cocaine. 

  1. Hair Loss From Mental Health

Cocaine and other drugs not only cause damage to the body but also affect our mental health. Mental health issues like stress and depression that come with drug abuse can lead to hair loss. Decreasing mental health can also lead to telogen effluvium. Stress-induced hair loss can be temporary, and you can get professional help to rectify the dire situation. 

Regular and excessive cocaine usage can lead to a weaker immune system, high blood pressure, and insomnia; these diseases are known to cause hair loss. Even when one successfully recovers from drug abuse, they may never reverse their hair condition as the drugs can trigger Androgenic Alopecia.

Using cocaine causes hair loss due to the accelerated Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. 

It is the hormone that attacks the hair follicles, rendering them useless. Over time, the hair growth slows down, and in the end, it stops, leading to bald patches. 

More or less, 80 percent of males and 50 percent of females develop DHT as they age. However, excessive drug abuse and cocaine usage can lead to this condition prematurely and permanently. 

How Cocaine Works Overtime to Kill Your Hair Growth and Cause Permanent Damage To Your Hair. 

  1. Cocaine Causes Nutritional Deficiencies

The human body is a complex creation, and it needs specific vitamins and minerals in proper proportions to stay active and healthy. With excessive drug abuse, such as cocaine addiction, the human body tends to lose its ability to absorb these nutrients. Hence, it causes nutritional deficiencies. Cocaine consumption also leads to loss of appetite, which means not only do you absorb less, but you also consume less. 

When you consume less, your body takes away nutrients from other parts to support critical organs like the lungs, heart, etc. Skin and hair stand no chance in this race; hence, they are most affected. Cocaine suppresses appetite and also causes kidney diseases; you don’t feel hungry when your body needs food. 

  1. Cocaine Causes Bodily Stress

Stress contributes massively to premature hair loss, and cocaine is known to cause bodily stress. Telogen effluvium (TE) is triggered by drug abuse, shock, and illness. Shredding and thinning are common in TE. TE keeps your hair growth in a resting phase, and soon, it goes to the third and final stage of extreme hair loss, as explained earlier in the article. Not only that, but when you stop using cocaine and start your rehab process, the withdrawal symptoms push your body into shock mode, and this, too, can cause hair loss. However, the withdrawal stage and withdrawal symptoms are temporary, and your locks go back to normal once your body fights off the shock. 

3. Lifestyle Habits

Cocaine takes away the healthy lifestyle you need to maintain a healthy mane on your head. One of these healthy habits is getting quality sleep, which is doomed when you start recreational drug use excessively. Crack cocaine and other forms of illegal drugs keep the mind from entering the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This is the stage where humans experience dreams, and the mind stays active regardless of the fact you are sleeping. However, due to drug use, the mind never enters this phase of sleep. 

The body is also not absorbing the nutrients it needs, your sleep cycle is a mess, and the hair care your healthy hair needs is nowhere to be found; this is how cocaine kills your healthy hair. 

A good night’s sleep is needed to repair the body; this includes the hair growth system. Due to a poor sleep cycle, your body spends less and less time repairing the body. Hence, you see a lot of skin, teeth, and hair damage in drug and cocaine abusers. 

Other Drugs That May Cause Hair Loss

Cocaine isn’t the only poison available in the market that may cause permanent damage to your hair and body. There are a variety of drugs readily obtainable on the streets that can contribute to premature hair loss. These are, 

  1. Methamphetamine

Meth is as addictive or even more addictive than cocaine. Long-term usage of meth can also lead to hair loss and permanent damage to hair follicles. The adverse effect of meth on hair is more or less the same as cocaine, as it, too, triggers TE. 

  1. Heroin

Heroin, an opioid drug, causes baldness and hair loss. The side effects start with thinning and lead to extreme hair loss in a very short period. Heroin kills your appetite, leading to malnutrition that contributes to hair loss. The hair loss from heroin is more or less the same as the hair loss from cocaine. 

  1. Ecstasy

Ecstasy, or MDMA, as it’s more commonly known, can have irreversible effects on the body. The hormonal changes it causes can result in dehydration, loss of appetite, and nutrient deficiencies. These changes surely kill healthy hair, leading to thinning and bald patches. Just like cocaine, the damage is irreversible. 

Cocaine Dependence Therapy and Hair Loss Reversal

Depending on the severity of the damage, if you can control your drug abuse and start a treatment program, you may be able to get your healthy locks back. However, it doesn’t happen overnight, and in some cases, it doesn’t happen. But many successful cases have seen daylight, and you can be one of them. The sooner you realize your drug addiction, the better chances you have to reverse its adverse effects on your body. With a changed lifestyle and balanced diet, you can reverse the effects of drug abuse. 

Does Using a Special Diet Help When Fighting Drug Abuse:

If you are going through rehab for addiction and need your hair to return to its full potential, you will need to work extra hard on your diet. Your hair will need a balanced diet and vital nutrients to regrow. A poor diet is bad for your hair health. On the other hand, research shows that an extra dose of vitamins B12 and D, biotin, riboflavin, iron, and other nutrients can help regain healthy hair growth in rehab. 

All in all, drug abuse can take the life out of your body and leave behind a dying shell. Does it affect your mood, your hair, or your life? The answer to all these questions is yes. 

Not only that, but also your self-esteem and confidence. Substance abuse can turn you into the shadow of your former self, an alone and depressed soul who couldn’t care less about its physical appearance. 

This is why, when you come to your senses, it is almost always too late to reverse the damage caused to your body by using illegal drugs. However, your hair isn’t always a lost cause; you can get into treatment programs and reverse the damage, but know it will take time and effort. Quitting cocaine isn’t easy, but for hair regrowth, you need to be strong and resilient. Seek professional help today.