Question: Hi. I'm 21 and have hair loss near my cowlick. Is this normal? I don't have any other problems with my hair but I don't think my hairline looked like this before. Is there any way to tell what's wrong without me having to visit you?
Answer: Hi, Neil. It's difficult to diagnose you without a few more details and, ideally, assessing your scalp. For example, not all hairlines are completely straight so if you simply mean your hairline is uneven, this could be entirely natural.
With this in mind, here are a few pointers and some general advice about hair loss near the cowlick.
If it is thinning hair you have noticed, and it appears towards your temples, either side of your cowlick, this suggests a possible diagnosis of Male Pattern Baldness.
This common hereditary hair loss condition only affects follicles at the top of the scalp, from hairline to vertex, but shedding may not occur in all of these areas at once. It may start with, for example, a receding hairline, as can be seen in the example shown here (click through to see more).
Whilst sometimes linked to 'old age', this can actually start, in those with the relevant genetic predisposition, any time following puberty. Although it is generally more common from mid-to-late 20s and 30s onwards, it can begin as early as late teens.
There are clinically-proven Male Pattern Hair Loss Treatment options which can help by accelerating hair growth and preventing baldness when used as directed on an on-going basis.
If, however, the area(s) you are concerned about have taken on a bald appearance - especially if this forms a rounded shape that appears to cut into the hairline - it may be an autoimmune disorder known as Alopecia Areata.
This causes sudden, patchy hair loss - often bald spots - which can appear anywhere on the scalp and is the result of the hair growth cycle being disrupted. It can be triggered by extreme stress, shock or trauma. Allergies and a genetic element are also thought to be linked.
In this mild form the condition is usually temporary, lasting no longer than 12 months, with hair regrowth resuming naturally in its own time, though treatment may be used to help speed this process up.
Alternatively, if you tend to wear your hair in tight styles such as braids or a man-bun, Traction Alopecia is another possibility. This happens when frequent bouts of excessive tension are applied to the scalp, pulling on the follicles and resulting in hair loss around the hairline and temples in particular. It may also cause hair breakage here too, as well as at the sites where the hair is tied.
The first step in these cases is to remove the source of the tension and wear the hair naturally. Depending on how extensive it is, the hair may grow back within a few months after the problem has been resolved by a change in hairstyle, if not, Traction Alopecia treatment may be used as long as the follicles are still functioning.
As you can see, there are a few possible causes so in order to get an accurate diagnosis and, where appropriate, personalised hair loss treatment recommendations, a consultation with a specialist is advised.
With regards to having a virtual appointment, Belgravia offers people based outside London - including abroad - an online consultation and treatment postal service so you don't have to visit either of our central London hair loss clinics in person.
This form allows you to upload photos towards the end, which is highly recommended as it helps to inform the diagnosing specialist as to the exact type of hair loss you are experiencing. They can be uploaded from a phone or computer, and just need to clearly show your scalp, from a few angles if possible in order to give a full picture as to the entire scalp, not just the areas of concern.
If you would like to use this free service, you may find our guide to taking hairloss photos for the online consultation form, helpful.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.