HAIR ∙ 4 minutes read

What causes hair loss in some young men?

By Ashton Sheriff | Medically reviewed by Prof. Sam Shah

If you’re losing your hair slightly earlier than other people your age then don’t worry. Although premature hair loss can make you feel as though you’ve been dealt a bad hand, hair loss in young men is actually fairly common. In fact, 30% of men aged 30 experience hair loss, and some men may even experience hair loss from as early as their late teens.  

Male pattern baldness

One of the most common causes of hair loss in young men is male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia), which can start at any age after puberty. 

Male pattern baldness is caused by the action of a specific molecule the body makes called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This causes hair follicles to produce hair that becomes progressively smaller, shorter, and lighter. During this process it's common to experience hair thinning at the temples and crown of the head, as well as along the hairline. As the body continues to produce DHT, the follicles in the scalp keep shrinking until they stop making hair altogether. At this point there may be patches on the scalp where there is little to no hair at all. 

Although some young men may be worried about losing their hair to male pattern baldness, there are a handful of products for hair loss available that can slow - and even reverse - this form of hair loss.

One clinically proven hair loss treatment commonly used to reduce and reverse male pattern baldness is finasteride. In a trial of 1553 men with male pattern hair loss, treatment with finasteride 1mg resulted in improved scalp coverage in around two-thirds of men and slowed the progression of hair loss in the other one-third. 

Another successful treatment that can precisely target the areas of the scalp most affected by male pattern hair loss (such as the hairline, crown, and temples) is minoxidil. It's a liquid that can be applied or sprayed directly to areas of thinning hair to promote hair regrowth and slow hair loss. One study showed that treatment with minoxidil (5%) resulted in improved scalp coverage in 62% of men with male-pattern hair loss after 48 weeks. The men also reported improvements in their quality of life and highlighted that treatment had a beneficial impact on first impressions made at work.

However, for the best chances of hair regrowth success, the Complete Hair Kit is recommended. It contains both finasteride and Topical Spray to help reduce hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth from all angles. As previously mentioned, finasteride helps to block the production of DHT (which shrinks follicles), and Topical Spray works by encouraging the supply of nutrient-rich blood to the follicles. Together, they promote the regrowth of thicker, fuller, and healthier-looking hair. 

Stress hair loss 

Nowadays, young men are under a lot of pressure. The stress of holding down a job, repaying student loan contributions and everyday life admin can make even the most composed among us lose our cool. Sometimes, this stress can be so profound that it induces a form of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. 

Traumatic events or periods of prolonged stress can trigger the hair to enter the “telogen phase” of the hair growth cycle (the cycle in which hair naturally grows and falls out). During this phase hair is released from the scalp and falls out, which can result in noticeable hair loss. 

Unlike male pattern baldness, telogen effluvium is not permanent and symptoms only tend to last for 6 to 9 months before new hair begins to regrow. After this, the excessive shedding usually stops and the hair is allowed to return to its normal fullness.

It's possible to avoid stress-related hair loss by doing things that minimise stress, such as meditation, yoga, or exercising regularly. All of these have been proven to reduce stress and each can improve your overall well being. Eating healthily and avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can also help to keep stress levels low. 

Traction Alopecia  

Some young men may experience a form of hair loss known as traction alopecia if they have hairstyles that are styled particularly tightly. Hairstyles such as man buns, cornrows, and ponytails can exert so much force on hair follicles that the hair is ripped out, causing the hairline to recede over time. 

Certain chemicals (e.g. chemical relaxers to straighten hair) and hair products can also exacerbate the effects of traction alopecia. Likewise, hair clips and tight headscarves have been known to trigger this type of hair loss as well. 

If caught early enough, traction alopecia can be reversed and hair can regrow in the affected areas in due time. However, if the hair is repeatedly styled with hairstyles that are too tight, then this may cause permanent damage to the hair follicles and the traction alopecia may become permanent. 

To help yourself treat and avoid traction alopecia, tight hairstyles should be avoided. Hair regrowth is likely to occur around 3 months after discontinuing tight hairstyling, once the hair cycle is restored. The British Association of Dermatologists also recommends minoxidil as a receding hairline treatment for those affected by traction alopecia, as it can be applied directly to the hairline or other areas of the scalp to promote hair regrowth. 

The bottom line

Young men can experience hair loss for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes of hair loss in young men is male pattern baldness, however young men may also experience other types of hair loss such as telogen effluvium (caused by excessive stress) and traction alopecia (caused by tight hairstyles). 

Male pattern baldness can be effectively treated with hair loss treatments such as finasteride, minoxidil, or a combination of the two. Telogen effluvium can be managed by reducing stress levels, and traction alopecia can be remedied by avoiding tight hairstyles or using minoxidil on the affected areas of the scalp to encourage hair regrowth. 

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