Question: I was told that MPB does not affect healthy teenage boys and hairloss for teenage boys is not normal and requires medical attention – having the metabolism and thyroid levels checked. Then once the cause is treated the hair loss will stop in most cases. Is it true that everyone who loses hair before the age of 30 must see a doctor and the younger you are the more serious it is?
Answer: Hi, Pakkmara. When it comes to hair loss in teenage boys it is important to be aware that just because someone experiences shedding does not necessarily mean they have male pattern baldness (MPB). There are a number of different hair loss conditions which can cause thinning hair and are unrelated to MPB.
Most commonly these are Telogen Effluvium (TE) and its more persistent form, Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE). These can be brought on by factors such as stress – either emotional or physical, nutritional issues due to dietary imbalances, or as a sign of an underlying illness. Although, because they can also be triggered by a range of hormonal issues, these conditions tend to present predominantly in women, they can also affect teenage boys as well as adults.
Male pattern baldness happens over a longer period of time and causes gradual hair thinning and/or a receding hairline. It is an hereditary condition, also known as androgenetic alopecia, whereby those affected develop a sensitivity to a substance in the body called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone byproduct is used by the body to develop its sexual characteristics during puberty. After puberty it is of little value but, in those susceptible to genetic hair loss, it binds itself to the hair follicles located around the hairline and top of the scalp. This gradually weakens them, leading to thinning hair and eventual hair fall often in defined areas around the crown, hairline or along the top of the scalp.
This pattern of hair loss is important as it is one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a case of permanent MPB or temporary shedding from either of the conditions listed above. In contrast to androgenetic alopecia, TE and CTE cause shedding from all over the scalp. It is, however, possible to have both MPB and a temporary hair loss condition simultaneously so if the shedding is excessive but there are no other symptoms, it is always wise to consult a hair loss specialist for a professional diagnosis if you are aged 18 or over.
There are clinically-proven hair loss treatments available that can help to stabilise shedding and accelerate regrowth and these are both suitable for men from 18 years old. Belgravia offers minoxidil-only hair loss treatment courses too which are available from 16 years of age, however, it is extremely rare that a 16 year old would need to consider treatment for MPB. It is important to also establish whether any changes to the hairline are a result of hair loss or rather due to a maturing hairline – something many boys experience during puberty.
Excessive or sudden hair loss in children is a cause for concern and anyone under 16 years of age should visit their GP to have this checked out. However, it is not the case that everyone who experience hair loss before the age of 30 years old needs to see a doctor. Whether a man needs to seek medical advice generally depends on whether he is experiencing any other symptoms or has particular concerns as to why he is losing his hair. Male pattern hair loss can strike any time following puberty and signs often start to appear between the ages of 25 and 35; at Belgravia at least 3 in 5 of our male hair loss treatment clients are in their early 20s.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.