In this article:
- Is hair thinning normal as a teenager?
- What causes teenage hair thinning?
- How to stop teenage hair thinning
- Where to get hair loss help
Is Hair Thinning Normal As A Teenager?
If you are in your teenage years, the last thing you want to worry about is hair thinning. But, the fact is it can happen in your teenage years. Whether it is normal or not depends on the cause. Many people have a common genetic condition called androgenic alopecia, which is the primary cause of hair loss in men. Indeed, this condition is the culprit behind men with balding crowns and receding hairlines. While androgenic alopecia (also called male pattern baldness) can start to show thinning in the teenage years, it is more common for it to really start in the 30s and 40s. Women also experience androgenic alopecia, but it usually shows up in middle age. For teenage girls experiencing hair thinning, there are typically other causes.
Some people with a family history of hair thinning may start to notice hair thinning in their later teenage years. For example, young men around ages 18 or 19 may show thinning hair around the hairline, hair that becomes finer, and even thinning along the top of their head. If you are experiencing these changes, the first thing you may want to do is see if other members of your family have hair loss. Don’t hesitate to ask them when they started experiencing thinning and if they did anything to help prevent it.
What Causes Teenage Hair Thinning?
We have already touched on androgenic alopecia, which is the most common condition causing hair loss. And, we also know that it can show up in the teenage years, although that is less common. Yet, many men report that they likely started losing hair in their teenage years - they just didn’t realize it. Indeed, you are not usually thinking about hair thinning in your teens unless it is particularly noticeable or you are diligent with how you wear your hair. Fortunately for you, if you have hair thinning already and have recognized it, you are in an excellent place to start tackling it early. Indeed, the earlier you start fighting back against permanent hair loss, the better.
But, aside from androgenic alopecia, there are other causes of hair loss that may cause hair thinning in both young men and women.
Hormonal imbalance is one of the primary causes of hair loss in women. Although it can affect men as well, women are more prone to hair thinning because their bodies are tightly regulated by monthly hormonal shifts of female sex hormones like estrogen. When there is an imbalance in these hormone levels, it can alter your hair growth cycle and cause your hair to become thin and fine.
Another hormone that may affect hair growth is thyroid hormone. Thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism can show up at any point in life, including your teenage years. If you have hair thinning, you may want to see if other family members have a thyroid condition and also talk to your provider about having some bloodwork done.
The teenage years can feel turbulent with stress. Our bodies during these years are going through immense physical, mental, and emotional maturation. And, on top of that, we are also trying to navigate challenging social settings, figure out our next steps in life, and discover who we are during these years.
Stress can be physical, mental, or emotional. No matter what type of stress you have, it can cause a similar response in your body by increasing cortisol levels. Hair growth and quality can be affected through various mechanisms, ultimately causing hair shedding and thinning. And, if you have severe stress caused by something like divorce, loss of a loved one, a tough breakup, or a car accident, that can certainly cause temporary hair thinning as well.
Being sick can affect your hair growth. Whether you have a tough go with a viral illness like the flu or you have a chronic health condition, illness certainly is a culprit of hair loss in the teenage years.
If you had a bacterial or viral infection and it has resolved, you may have hair thinning that shows up about 3 months after you were sick. This condition is called telogen effluvium, and most people will have it at some point in their lives following being ill or having something particularly stressful happen in their life. Fortunately, it is temporary, and there are ways to help encourage your hair to grow back faster.
For teens with chronic illnesses, hair thinning can be more challenging. Staying on top of your plan of care and asking your doctor about how you can best support hair growth is a good place to start.
How To Stop Teenage Hair Thinning
The best way to start tackling teenage hair thinning is first to identify what is causing you to have thinning hair. Think about if you have been sick recently, if you have been experiencing a lot of stress, or if you have any other health conditions. If you cannot pinpoint any of those potential factors, think about if you have any family members with hair loss. Knowing the culprit behind your thinning is key to figuring out how to tackle it.
No matter the cause, it is essential to check in with your health provider. Together, you can explore possible reasons why you may be having hair loss, and you can get some blood tests, as needed, to see if you have any underlying conditions.
Treating any underlying conditions as recommended by your health care provider is essential for staying on top of your hair health. But, don’t hesitate to consider using hair products that help your hair regrow as well. It is always best for teens to consult their doctor first before trying products containing any medication, even if they are over-the-counter.
Where To Get Hair Loss Help
Your doctor is the first place you will want to start when it comes to asking about hair thinning and hair loss. But, likely, you will need to talk with a parent or caregiver first to make the appointment, and this is also a good time to ask them about your family history.