Hair Loss and Metal Toxicity: Is There a Link?

Hair Loss and Metal Toxicity

Did you know that one of the most frequent causes of hair loss in women, telogen effluvium, is linked to metal toxicity? When you think about heavy metals, you may see images of industrial smog, polluted rivers, and contaminated drinking water. Well, even though you do not see heavy metals in the vegetation or soil of your home, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist there.

Heavy metals are present almost everywhere on the earth—from soil and groundwater to plants, fruits, and vegetables. These heavy metals can be either natural in occurrence or be pollutants made by humans. Sometimes, these toxic metal pollutants can cause you to lose your hair!

Are you suffering from hair loss and want to learn more about a possible cause? Read on, as we will discuss the connection between hair loss, metal toxicity, and the potential causes and solutions to counteract this condition.

Hair Loss and Metal Toxicity

Hair loss is a condition wherein the hair falls out faster than the hair growth cycle, causing thinning of the hair or baldness. Though hair loss is common in men and women, certain factors like genetics, poor nutrition, various medications, stress, and hormonal imbalances can make a person more susceptible to hair loss.

While there is no one cause of hair loss, a combination of factors can often result in it. When we talk about hair loss and metal toxicity, they are usually related to the heavy metals in our environment.

These metals are often in the soil and water around us. They are also in our food and sometimes in the air we breathe.

These heavy metals can be either natural or man-made. While soil and water often contain naturally occurring heavy metals, human activity has led to a rise in the levels of heavy metals in the environment.

What Are Toxic Heavy Metals?

Toxic heavy metals are elements that can cause harm to the body if ingested in high amounts. Certain heavy metals proven to cause hair loss are lead, chromium, cadmium, and mercury. Since they are toxins, they are harmful to the organs of your body.

They find their way into your body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Most toxic heavy metals are soluble in water. So this means they can absorb, with ease, through the skin and the pores of the skin.

Some toxic heavy metals may also get ingested. But these are more difficult to absorb by the body.

Which Heavy Metals Cause Hair Loss?

We have already discussed certain metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury and their association with hair loss. But the other heavy metals are also not safe for the hair. Chromium and nickel cause hair loss as well.


When we talk about chromium and hair loss, we must refer to two forms of chromium – trivalent chromium and hexavalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium is a toxic form of chromium and is an environmental pollutant. It is often found in industrial waste and coal ash.

It is also released during the smelting and burning of coal. The hexavalent chromium is an orange-red color and is very toxic. This form of chromium can cause allergic reactions and a rash on the skin.

It also has a link to lung and gastrointestinal tract cancers, besides it causing hair loss. Trivalent chromium is a naturally-occurring form of chromium and is not toxic. Your body needs it to produce insulin and metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.


Nickel is a common metal found in nature. Nickel has uses in many industrial processes and in the production of alloys. When mixed with other metals, nickel is not harmful.

But it can be toxic when found in its pure form. Nickel is an irritant causing allergies to the skin and irritation in the eyes. It is also known to cause hair loss in people who work in industries where nickel is often used.

How Does Heavy Metal Toxicity Cause Hair Loss?

Hair loss can have many root causes. One of the most common reasons people experience hair loss is poor nutrition. Especially when they have low levels of iron and biotin (a B-vitamin).

Other medical conditions, like iron deficiency anemia, lupus, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers, can also lead to hair loss. While these conditions are usually under control, many people are still wondering if heavy metals can be a cause of hair loss. Well, hair loss from metal toxicity is usually caused by one or more toxic heavy metals.

A toxic heavy metal will interfere with the normal functioning of the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. The toxic heavy metals can also lead to premature graying of hair, thinning of the hair, and a reduction in hair volume.

Temporary hair shedding can occur when heavy metal poisoning from metal toxicity is the sole cause of hair loss. This hair loss disorder is known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium, commonly known as diffuse thinning. Unfortunately, this loss of hair often lasts for at least six months.

What Are the Solutions for Hair Loss From Metal Toxicity?

If metal toxicity is the cause of your hair loss, then the best solution would be to find the source of the heavy metals and reduce your exposure to them. Finding the source is important because you may have more than one contamination.

Once you find the source of the contamination, you can work towards reducing your exposure. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to identify the cause and take the necessary steps to resolve the issue.

A sudden, unexplained hair loss can be very distressing and alarming. While there are many possible causes of hair loss, obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding the appropriate treatment can help you get back to your normal self quickly.

Hair Loss Can Be Heartbreaking

Hair loss and thinning locks caused by metal toxicity can make you feel insecure and embarrassed. We understand. But, we can help you recover your lost tresses.

Tricovel® decreases hair loss and shedding while boosting hair volume and encouraging regrowth of your hair. Contact us or check out our Blog section for information about how you can get your hair back and feel like you again.