It isn’t just adults who can experience hair loss – a poor diet, hormones and stress can also have an effect on teenagers. If you or someone you know is experiencing unusual hair loss, it’s important to investigate the cause of the problem. Here are just a few of the factors which could be responsible for hair loss in teenagers.
For many teenagers, a healthy, balanced diet may not be a priority, but extreme dieting or unhealthy food choices are usually reflected first in the condition of the skin and hair. Lack of vitamins, protein and essential nutrients can lead to thinning hair or hair loss for both men and women. Recent research continues to develop a link between lifestyle and diet-influenced oxidative stress and hair loss, especially in relation to the early onset of male pattern baldness in young men.
During puberty, hormones can fluctuate more wildly than at any other time in our lives. These changing hormone levels can have an impact on mood as well as affecting the skin and hair. Raised hormone levels or fluctuations can affect both sexes and could cause hair loss. Some girls may experience hair loss due to taking the contraceptive pill, although this usually can be reversed by switching to another brand or type of pill.
Traction Alopecia most commonly affects teenage girls and can be caused by pulling on the hair or wearing hair extensions. Wearing your hair tied back in a tight style can cause damage to hair follicles and the scalp, whilst long-term use of hair extensions places tension on the scalp, causing breakage and patchy hair loss. The good news is that Traction Alopecia can usually be reversed by ceasing to wear extensions and avoiding tight hairstyles.
Pattern hair loss
Female pattern hair loss can affect girls after puberty and can lead to diffuse thinning and hair loss. This occurs most noticeably around the parting, when the scalp can become more visible. Male pattern hair loss can also occasionally occur in teenage boys, although it is far more common in men from their late twenties and early thirties upwards. Teenagers with hereditary hair loss have a genetic condition and may notice they are shedding more hair than usual when in the shower or whilst brushing their hair.
Characterised as sudden hair fall which causes patchy hair loss that tends to result in rounded bald spots or patches, Alopecia Areata is actually an autoimmune disorder rather than a hair loss condition. It can present as anything from one single bald spot the size of a £1 coin, to multiple patches far larger in size. Although its precise cause is unknown, triggers are understood to include trauma, sudden shock, extreme stress, allergies and a genetic element is also suspected. Alopecia Areata can affect men, women and children of any age and in many cases – when it affects the scalp only – should clear up naturally, with hair regrowth resuming spontaneously within 12 months. Treatment is available to help accelerate this process for those aged 16 and over. However, there are more severe versions of the condition – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – which cause total baldness of the whole head, and from head-to-toe respectively – which currently have no treatment options though many are in development.
What to do about teenage hair loss
Hair loss in teenagers can have a serious impact on self-esteem, so it is important that the signs of hair loss are never ignored. If you are under 18 and experiencing hair loss, you should see your GP as soon as possible (hair loss clinics tend to work exclusively with adults). Your doctor will examine your diet and look for any underlying causes such as a vitamin or nutrient deficiency, or a medical condition such as an underactive thyroid. If you are experiencing genetic hair loss, a treatment plan may be possible, with the use of clinically proven medications.
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.