Many people relate hair loss to old age, and there is a certain truth in this: as we age, many of us naturally lose some or all of our hair in the process. But hair loss is not just the preserve of the middle-aged or the elderly. It can also affect those in the flush of youth.
There are a number of hair loss conditions which can affect even the very young to varying degrees.
Male Pattern Baldness at an early age
Male Pattern Baldness is one such condition, and is the bane of a surprisingly high number of young men who feel that they are too young to lose their hair. It is estimated that half of all men in the UK will suffer from Male Pattern Baldness to some degree by their 50th birthday, but for approximately 25% of men with the condition, they will start losing their hair when they are in their late teens or early twenties.
As seen on the right, Belgravia’s database of men forms a graph that peaks at age 29, which is the age that most men enquire about hair loss in the UK. On either side of this pyramid of age, a smooth line is formed from mid teens up until very old age.
The exact time at that any man will start suffering from Male Pattern Hair Loss is dependent on his individual genetic predisposition.
The process which causes men to go bald is triggered by an enzyme produced within the body, known as 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts the male hormone testosterone into its more potent derivative dihydrotesterone (DHT), and it is this DHT which slows the production of hair and causes the follicles to shrink. Because testosterone levels in the male body are generally at their highest from the late teens to early thirties, it is entirely logical that the condition could manifest itself at any point during this period.
Male Pattern Baldness is also known as Androgenic Alopecia, or genetic hair loss, and can be passed down in the family on either the mother or father’s side. A young man whose family has a history of hair loss at an early age is more likely to begin losing his own hair prematurely.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder which causes hairloss. It can affect both men and women of any age and can even appear during early childhood. There have been numerous reports in the media of children as young as two suffering from Alopecia Areata.
The exact causes of the condition are unknown, but it can be triggered by stress and traumatic events. When it occurs, the body’s own defences attack healthy hair follicles, causing them to cease hair production. In many cases the hair does eventually grow back but, it can continue to reoccur in later life. Incidences of Alopecia Areata before an individual reaches puberty do unfortunately tend to lead to a predisposition to suffer from it in later life.
Traction Alopecia is hairloss which results from excessive tension and pulling on the hair, and from overuse of hair styling chemicals. Tight hairstyles worn in braids or pony tails and hair colouring are common causes of the condition, so young women are perhaps more likely to suffer from it due to their hairstyles. The condition is rarely permanent, provided that the detrimental hair styling regimes which cause it are ceased and the hair is allowed to recover.
Can hair loss in young people be treated?
Though hairloss is rarely a pleasant process, when it occurs in middle age and beyond it is perhaps a little easier to accept. It is perhaps also due to this common linkage between getting old hair loss that makes it more difficult and potentially embarrassing for younger people who suffer from it.
All of the types of hairloss discussed here are treatable, and if you suffer from any of them you should not despair. At The Belgravia Centre we have successfully treated countless cases of Alopecia, Male Pattern Baldness and other hair loss conditions, in both younger and older adults – although we do not treat children. Parents who are worried about their children having a hair loss condition should consult their GP.
As long as you are over 18, we will work with you to determine the type and cause of your hairloss and determine the best course of action to treat it. We have at our disposal a wide range of different complementary hair loss treatments, including Minoxidil and Propecia, which are scientifically proven for the treatment of Genetic Hair Loss, as well as hair growth boosters and clinical monitoring, which all help to ensure the very best chances of future hair loss prevention and hair regrowth.
Hair loss can be a natural part of life, whatever your age, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as inevitable. To find out how we can help you to both prevent further hair loss and re-grow hair, simply contact us for a consultation, or fill in our online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment programme that we can post anywhere in the world.