Question: Hi, I am 17 years old and i have been pulling my hair out ever since i can remember. I am not so bad now but i used to be really bad when i was younger. Now i still do it sometimes but not so much. However, my hairline seems to be receding on both sides... Slowly but i can tell by looking at my past photos and how i style my hair... I am not sure it's because I have been pulling it out so much it has just stopped growing back or it is because I just have a naturally receding hairline. I know in the past and even a little recently I pull my hair or play with it in those spots which probably doesn't help. I just hate it. At 17 it is not what i want. Do you know if its me or if its natural? and any solutions? Thank you!
Answer: Hi, Richie. The hair pulling and playing with the resulting patches that you describe is known as trichotillomania. Although it causes hair loss, it is actually a compulsive behavioural disorder.
Your GP can assist you in learning how to deal with this issue and become 'pull-free', whilst a hair loss specialist may be able to help you with the resulting damage and hair breakage caused by the pulling and twisting. This depends on the extent to which the follicles have been impaired as a result of the trichotillomania, however.
With regards to your hairline, without examining you or at least seeing photos, it is hard to give a fully adequate response. Some teenagers do experience signs of male pattern hair loss so it is entirely feasible that this is the answer, but it may equally be a result of the trichotillomania or even something as simple as a maturing hairline - something which is entirely natural but often mistaken for hair loss.
In terms of solutions, high strength minoxidil is the hair loss treatment we recommend to treat stubborn areas of shedding, such as patches affected by trichotillomania and a receding hairline. Minoxidil is a clinically-proven treatment for genetic baldness which has also shown to be highly effective in producing significant regrowth results for a number of other hair loss conditions. It is suitable for use by both men and women who are 16 years of age or over.
Minoxidil is applied directly to the affected areas in order to stimulate hair follicles by accelerating blood flow to these regions. If, however, the follicles have been destroyed to the point where they scar over and no longer function - which can sometimes happen as a result of trichotillomania - then the treatment cannot work.
Given there are various factors at play here and a number of different possibilities, we recommend you visit an established hair loss clinic for a professional diagnosis. That way you will be able to receive a full assessment of your condition, hair loss advice and, if needed, recommendations for a comprehensive treatment programme.
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.