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Teens and Hair Loss

We typically associate ‘hair loss’ with older individuals, particularly gentlemen who experience male pattern baldness. However, it is common for teenagers to also experience symptoms of thinning, balding, or shedding. When it strikes, hair loss can cruelly disrupt a teen’s sense of self-esteem, confidence, and social life.
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If you are a teenager and you notice signs of hair loss, rest assured that you are not alone. There is a growing population of boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 19 who share your experience, and there are a variety of lifestyle changes that you can make to improve the health of your hair.
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.

Diet

For many teenagers, a healthy 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.

Hormonal changes

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

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 older men. Teenagers with pattern 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.

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.

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