HAIR ∙ 3 minutes read

Why do some young men experience hair loss?

By Ashton Sheriff

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 hair loss

Young men may experience hair loss for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes of hair loss in young men is male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia), which can start at any age after puberty. 

This type of hair loss is caused by the action of a molecule the body makes called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This causes hair follicles to produce hair that becomes progressively smaller, shorter, and lighter. During this process you may begin to experience hair thinning at the temples and crown of your head, and you might notice that your hairline starts to recede. As the body continues to produce DHT, the follicles in the scalp keep shrinking until they stop making hair altogether. At this point you may have patches on your scalp where there is little to no hair at all. 

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

One clinically proven treatment used to reduce and reverse hair loss in men with male pattern hair loss is finasteride. In a trial of 1553 men with male-pattern hair loss, treatment with finasteride 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 targets the areas most affected by male pattern hair loss (such as the hairline, crown, and temples) is minoxidil. It is a spray that can be applied 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.

For the best chances of hair regrowth success, you can use our Complete Hair Kit (which is a combination of finasteride and minoxidil) to help reduce hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth from all angles. As previously mentioned, finasteride helps to block the production of follicle-shrinking DHT, and minoxidil works by encouraging the supply of nutrient-rich blood to the follicles. Together, they promote the regrowth of thicker and fuller hair that looks healthier and feels nicer to the touch. 

Stress 

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 their 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 stops and hair may return to its normal fullness.

You can help yourself to avoid stress-related hair loss by doing things that minimise your stress levels, 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 follicle 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 an option to treat traction alopecia, as it can be applied directly to the hairline or other areas of the scalp affected by traction alopecia. 

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 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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