Can Young People Lose Their Hair?

Can Young People Lose Their Hair?

When people think of hair loss and baldness, they tend to imagine men in their later middle years and older. If you’re in your 20s with a balding dad you may be cautiously wondering, “When does hair loss actually start?”

The answer is: sooner than you think.

The truth is that for guys, hair loss frequently begins in their 20s. Males aren’t the only ones who suffer from hair loss; women go through it as well, though it manifests as thin or patchy hair more frequently and tends to start later in life.

The age at which you may start losing your hair depends on a variety of factors: sex, genetics, and why it’s happening, like underlying medical conditions.

What Is Male-Pattern Hair Loss?

While you might not be thrilled at seeing such stark changes in your hair at such a young age, it isn’t uncommon. Male-pattern baldness is also known as androgenic alopecia. The pattern of loss typically begins either at the temples or on the crown of the head, and it can also start in both places at the same time. Your hair thinning can be partial or continue until you have little to no hair left.  

How Many Men Get Male-Pattern Hair Loss?

In the U.S., approximately 50 million men experience the condition, and around half of the population over 50 years old has it to some degree. While everyone knows that older men are more likely to deal with balding, what about the younger folks?

The research shows that around 42% of the male population between ages 18 and 49 may have androgenic alopecia that results in moderate to extensive hair loss. The proportion increases with age. Approximately 16% of men aged 18-29 have noticeable hair loss, while 53% of those aged 40-49 do.

What About Women?

Female-pattern hair loss is also called androgenic alopecia. The condition looks different in women than it does in men, with women often noticing hair loss first along their part line, while thinning may occur all over the head. Women don’t often become totally bald, but they can experience significant hair loss that results in thin hair all over their head. When this occurs, the scalp may be visible from numerous angles.

When Does Hair Loss Start in Women?

As with men, most women don’t start losing a significant amount of hair until they’re in their 40s or older. In the U.S., up to 40% of the female population has some level of androgenic alopecia by the time they reach 40. Frequently, hair loss in women begins around menopause, when they have major hormonal changes in their body. The same can happen during pregnancy and after birth; fluctuations in hormone levels can do all kinds of things to hair growth.

Some women have early-onset hair loss, too. These women often notice that their hair is getting thinner at a young age. In fact, thinning can start as early as age 12.

Stress: Why May Be Shedding More Than Your Cat

First of all, it’s perfectly normal to shed hair. Each day, most people lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair. That’s why you have to clean off the tub drain every once in a while (or perhaps daily if you happen to have long hair). You may also notice several strands coming off on your comb or brush. Again, this is perfectly normal, but sometimes people go through periods when they shed an excessive amount of hair.

What Is Excessive Shedding?

If you’ve noticed that you leave more hair lying around the house than your cat does, you may be experiencing excessive shedding. Think back to the past few months. Have you experienced:

  • More stress than normal?
  • Weight loss of at least 20 pounds?
  • Giving birth?
  • A high fever or severe illness?
  • A surgery?

All of these circumstances can lead to excessive shedding. The thing is, it usually occurs a few months after the actual event. It may seem weird that the response to the stressor can be so delayed. The reason has to do with chemical changes when you experience stressful circumstances or events.

Excessive shedding is not true hair loss. The hormonal changes in your system cause more of your hair to begin going through the shedding, or exogen, phase than normal. Once your system returns to homeostasis, your hair growth and cycles return to normal. Within six to nine months, you should have your full head of hair back.

What's To Blame for Your Hair Loss?

Genetics play a big role in hair loss. In fact, while stress can cause hair loss or thinning, genetics and heredity are the number one cause. Contrary to popular belief, hair loss tendencies are passed on from both the maternal and paternal sides of the family. So don’t just look at your mom’s side of the family for your genes. These genetic factors are complicated and not entirely known, but there is a relationship between the male sex hormones testosterone and dihydrotesosteoner and hair loss in both men and women.

Other medical conditions are associated with androgenic alopecia too. For men, the condition is linked to prostate cancer, and for women, it can be associated with polycystic ovary disease. In both sexes, people with the condition are also more likely to have obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.

There are ways to fight and stop androgenic alopecia.

Shapiro MD’s dermatologists understand just how important it is for you to slow the process and regrow your hair. We use only the most effective and proven ingredients, found naturally as well as enhanced by science.

Take our free quiz to learn more about a personalized system for your hair loss, all done virtually and shipped to your door. Click here to get started.


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