Hair Loss In Teenagers: Why & What To Do

While hair loss is often associated with adults, even teenagers can experience it. Although, it’s not something that’s very common or even considered normal. 

Teenage hair loss can happen due to a variety of reasons. And even if you’re a teenager, it doesn’t mean that your hair loss will always be temporary. 

There are some types of hair loss that are permanent and irreversible. However, there are others in which regrowth is possible with the right hair loss treatment. 

In some cases, it may even be possible to prevent teenage hair loss in the first place. In this guide, we’ll help you understand the causes of this hair loss and what you can do. 

What Causes Teenage Hair Loss? 

Teenage hair loss can occur due to any of the following: 

Puberty 

Sexual maturation in boys and girls is known as puberty. According to the NHS, it occurs between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 9 to 14 for boys. And then it can last for 2 to 5 years. 

The hallmark of puberty is hormonal changes (along with physical and emotional ones). It begins with the release of “gonadotropin-releasing hormone,” which indirectly stimulates testosterone production in boys and oestrogen and progesterone in girls. 

Hormonal fluctuations, in general, have been linked to a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. The changing hormone levels can “shock” the system, which can trigger temporary hair loss 2-3 months after the event. 

Unfortunately, these hormonal changes aren’t always normal. For instance, a small percentage of teenagers suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It causes a hormonal imbalance, and that can contribute to female pattern baldness as well. 

And according to KidsHealth, early puberty (before the age of 8) may increase the risk of PCOS in girls.

Genetics  

Pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, can also affect teenagers. While it’s more common among people in their 30s and 40s, it can start immediately after puberty. 

With time, the pattern of hair loss will become more and more noticeable. Your genetic history can influence your extent of hair loss. The stronger it is, the earlier you might lose hair (which can include your teenage years). 

Autoimmune Illness  

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune illness that can also cause hair loss in teenagers (girls and guys). 

According to a study published in Frontiers in Medicine, alopecia areata is one of the more common causes of hair loss in children and adolescents (10-19 year-olds).

Alopecia areata bald patch
Alopecia areata commonly causes patchy hair loss

Some research even shows a greater prevalence in adolescents compared to adults. Early onset may also lead to the development of more severe forms of alopecia areata. 

Hairstyling

The kind of hair styles you wear and what you do to your hair as a teenager can also impact its quality and strength. 

As a teenager, you might experiment with your hair to use it as a way of expressing yourself.  

However, you have to be careful about how much (and what) you put your hair through. Use of too many heat-styling tools, dyes or bleaches can damage the hair. 

Also, if you tie your hair too tightly, it can also cause hair loss from traction alopecia (which can be permanent).

Tight hairstyles teenager

Hairstyles with ponytails and braids are quite popular among teenagers. And if you’re wearing these styles as well, keep their long-term impact in mind. 

Nutritional Deficiencies 

According to a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, adolescents are more vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. 

The researchers also found that more than half of the children in the study had both macro and micro-nutrient deficiency. 

Their intakes of proteins, fat, iron, vitamin A and C, and calories were lower than the recommended levels of intake. 

Of course, this can affect your growth as a teenager. But another consequence of it can also be hair loss. Your hair needs certain nutrients to grow normally

If you’re deficient, your body will prioritise sending the nutrients to the important organs of the body (hair’s not on the list). And that can cause hair fall.

Mental Illness  

Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder. And according to the NHS, it is more common in teenagers and young adults. 

It’s a self-induced hair loss in which a girl or boy pulls their hair out. As a result, they’ll have irregular patches of bald spots on their scalp (can be even face or body). 

Done for a long time, this hair loss can also be permanent. 

Stress 

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, the stress experienced by American teens is similar to that of adults. And this is especially so during the school year.

Teenage stress

Stress itself can lead to different types of hair loss, such as trichotillomania, alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. 

Other than academic stress, you may also feel stressed about wanting to fit in. Things can be especially difficult for those who’re victims of bullying. 

And if you’re already experiencing noticeable hair loss as a teenager, the societal pressure can be even more. 

Fungal Infection  

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp which is most commonly seen in school-going children. This can be another cause of hair loss in teenagers. 

It’s a contagious infection that can result in the formation of dry, scaly and itchy rashes. 

The hair loss resulting from it isn’t always temporary. If it’s inflammatory, it can result in scarring and destruction of the hair follicles. In this case, the hair won’t grow back. 

Others 

Some other causes of hair loss in teenagers can include: 

It’s important to not be dismissive of hair loss even if you’re “just” a teenager. It can be indicative of serious underlying problems

How Much Hair Loss Is Normal In Teenagers?

Losing 50 to 100 strands of hair is usually considered normal in girls and boys. However, keep in mind that your normal hair loss can differ from someone else’s normal. 

So, even as a teenager, if you’re noticing more shedding than usual, you should get in touch with a medical professional. 

For some types of hair loss, early treatment can stop hair loss in its tracks or maybe even reverse it. 

How To Stop Hair Loss In Teenagers?

To stop hair loss in teenagers, first and foremost, it’s important to get a diagnosis of the underlying cause of hair loss. 

For instance, if it’s teenage male pattern baldness, your doctor might recommend minoxidil and finasteride. Finasteride Is not recommended for women but minoxidil and spironolactone can help them.

Healthy teenage hair

On the other hand, if the teenage hair loss is due to alopecia areata, you might be given steroids or JAK inhibitors (there are other treatment options as well).

Nutritional deficiencies can be helped by an improved diet or even supplementation. But you should take the latter after a doctor’s consultation. 

If it’s a fungal infection, antifungal tablets and even shampoos are used. But for some types of hair loss like that from trichotillomania, you might benefit from professional therapies (like cognitive behavioural or habit reversal). 

Certain therapies can help with stress too. And that can further have a positive impact on your hair growth. 

And if your hairstyles are a problem, make sure to don’t use a lot of tools too frequently. Also, you should consider tying your hair loose. 

These things can help with hair loss in teenagers. But, of course, you need to consult a board-certified medical professional for this. 

Can A Teenager Get A Hair Transplant?

If you’re experiencing progressive permanent hair loss as a teenager, your doctor might advise you to wait until you’re in your 20s. 

That’s because your pattern of hair loss is unlikely to be stable while you’re still a teen. And even if you get a hair transplant too early, with more hair loss, you’ll end up needing another surgery soon enough. 

On the other hand, if you’ve lost your hair permanently due to a traumatic injury (like a burn), you might be able to have a hair transplant as a teenager. 

How To Prevent Hair Loss As A Teenager? 

Not all types of hair loss are preventable. But to avoid a hair loss that can be prevented, the following might help: 

  • Eating healthy and nutritious meals 
  • Getting a good night’s sleep 
  • Avoid sharing hair brushes, towels, or pillows
  • Be gentle with your hair and keep your scalp clean 
  • Look for ways to manage stress (go outside, exercise, do fun stuff, talk, etc.)
Relaxed teenager

If you’re losing hair, get in touch with a doctor first. There are many hair loss shampoos, serums, conditioners, sprays, and supplements in the market. 

However, if they don’t address the underlying problem, you’ll only waste your time and money. 

Conclusion 

Hair loss at any age can be very alarming. But as you’re a teenager, you’re especially trying to fit in, and hair loss can definitely come in the way. It can also have a significant impact on your self-esteem.

But even as you’re a teenager, some types of hair loss can be more serious. They may also be permanent and irreversible. Although, in some cases, with the right measures you can even prevent your hair from falling. 

No matter what, though, if you’re losing an abnormal amount of hair, make sure to get in touch with a doctor. They’ll diagnose the cause of hair loss and prepare your treatment plan accordingly.  

Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

FAQ

Can teenage hair loss be reversed?

Whether or not teenage hair loss can be reversed depends on the underlying cause of hair loss. But it’s important to get early treatment, as it may stop further hair loss or even reverse it.

What causes hair loss in teenage guys?

Androgenetic alopecia is likely to be the most common cause of hair loss in teenage guys. It’s the most common cause of hair loss, which can sometimes start after puberty.

How to stop hair loss in teenage guys naturally?

Whether or not a teenage boy can naturally stop hair loss depends on the type of hair loss. For instance, natural treatments are unlikely to work for pattern baldness. But if you have hair loss due to nutritional deficiency, eating healthy foods can naturally help.

Is teenage hair loss temporary?

Teenage hair loss in boys and girls is not always temporary. This is especially if you have scarring alopecia in which the hair follicle is destroyed.

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