The majority of people will experience some degree of hair loss throughout their lives. Most people start noticing hair loss in adulthood. But less commonly, some people start losing their hair in adolescence.
Hair loss can be difficult for anyone, but especially if you are younger. Losing your hair can have a huge impact on self-esteem.
Potential causes of hair loss in teens include genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, and underlying medical conditions. In some cases, hair loss may be reversible with proper treatment.
Let’s look at a wide range of potential causes of hair loss in teens. We will also look at treatment options for each.
Here are some of the potential causes of teenage hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic form of hair loss called male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. It happens in a predictable pattern.
In men, it usually appears as an M-, V-, or U-shaped recession of the hairline and progressive baldness at the crown. Women usually notice gradual thinning along part of their hair.
Pattern hair loss usually begins in adulthood, but can also begin during your teenage years. It is not uncommon for teenagers to experience this form of hair loss, but its prevalence is currently not known.
You are more likely to develop baldness if you have close relatives who have also developed it.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss in patches.
Autoimmune diseases develop when your body mistakes healthy cells in your body for foreign invaders. In the case of alopecia areata, your immune system attacks your hair follicles. You may notice hair loss on your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or body.
Malnutrition is a lack of adequate nutrition that can be caused by not eating enough, overeating, or not getting the right balance of nutrients. A lack of access to food, dietary imbalances, eating disorders, or digestive disorders are potential causes.
Nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss, especially in:
Thyroid conditions that cause underproduction or overproduction of thyroid hormones can lead to hair loss or brittle hair.
Hair loss caused by a thyroid condition usually appears as a uniform thinning across your scalp. Hair loss is more common in people with severe or prolonged thyroid disease. Lost hair often grows back with proper treatment.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease caused by your immune system targeting your tissues and organs. Lupus can cause symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, a butterfly-shaped rash, and hair loss.
People with lupus may notice gradual thinning. Hair loss may or may not grow back.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common female health problem that results in excessive levels of androgens or male sex hormones.
It is normal for women to produce hormones like testosterone. But when they produce too much, it can lead to symptoms like disrupted menstrual cycles, acne, and thinning hair.
Addressing hormonal imbalances in your body can lead to hair regrowth.
Certain medications and medical treatments
A number of medications and medical treatments can cause hair loss. Here are some examples :
Hair treatment, coloring and styling
Regularly coloring your hair or getting chemical hair treatments can damage your hair and potentially lead to increased hair breakage. These treatments generally do not affect your hairline, and your hair will likely grow back once you stop the treatment.
The chlorine present in swimming pools, bleaching your hair, and exposing your hair to excessive heat are also potential causes of hair damage.
Other causes of hair loss
- Traction alopecia. This form of hair loss is caused by the repeated stress of wearing your hair in tight buns, ponytails, or braids. Hair loss is often along the hairline and can be reversible if you intervene early.
- Trichotillomania. It is a psychological disorder where a person feels the urge to pull their hair out. Symptoms usually appear between the age of
10 to 13.
- Ringworm of the scalp. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause patches of itchy, scaly skin on your scalp. In some cases, ringworm can cause inflammation that leads to scarring and hair loss.
- Telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is a temporary form of hair loss that causes excessive hair loss. Stress, illness, childbirth or weight loss are some of the many potential causes.
Puberty causes fluctuations in hormone levels that can potentially affect hair growth. Baldness can begin immediately after puberty and progress over time. Hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women.
It is possible for teens to experience patchy hair loss, thinning hair or hair loss depending on the underlying cause. If hair loss is caused by an underlying medical condition, you may experience a number of other symptoms in addition to hair loss.
If your child is suffering from hair loss, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. They can help you determine if there is a medical cause leading to hair loss or if it is caused by genetic factors.
In some cases, early diagnosis can increase the chances of hair regrowth.
A doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your hair loss through a physical exam and by reviewing your medical history. They may do a pull test to see how much hair is sticking out and examine your scalp under a microscope.
A doctor may order a blood test if they suspect a hormonal imbalance or nutrient deficiency. They may also take a small biopsy of your scalp.
The best treatment option for your type of hair loss depends on the cause. In some cases, hair loss may be reversible with proper treatment.
* Topical minoxidil (Rogaine) is not FDA approved for people under 18 due to a lack of research. However, it has been used successfully in some studies for the treatment of hair loss. You should only use minoxidil if your doctor tells you that you are fine.
Some causes of hair loss in teens can be stopped and potentially reversed. For example, if you are experiencing hair loss caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones, correcting the hormone imbalance can improve hair growth.
Other causes, such as genetic hair loss, have no known cure and will likely progress over time, but can be slowed with treatment.
The best way to find out if you can stop hair loss is to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor.
Losing hair at a young age can be very difficult. Your child may feel like they have to hide their hair loss and feel stressed and anxious about the progress of their hair loss.
Hair loss can be caused by stress or anxiety in anyone, namely teenagers. Coping with hair loss can be difficult. This can lead to low self-esteem and have a big effect on self-confidence, especially at an age when many people are starting to date and learn who they are.
If your child is suffering from hair loss, it’s important to remind them that losing their hair doesn’t change who they are or mean that something is wrong with them. You can let them know you’re ready to listen if they want to talk about it.
If your child is stressed or depressed, their doctor may recommend an experienced counsellor.
There are many reasons why teenagers may experience hair loss. Genetic hair loss can begin after puberty and lead to a pattern of hair loss. Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that can appear in childhood or adolescence.
It’s a good idea to see a doctor if your child is suffering from hair loss to get a proper diagnosis and rule out possible medical conditions.