Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos
Hair loss affects men of all ages. It is more common in older adults, but younger and even teenage males can also experience it. Data shows that 16% of men 18 to 29 years old have hair loss.
Hair loss can negatively influence your self-esteem, especially if it starts at a young age. Teenage males can lose hair for multiple reasons, including hormonal imbalance and genetic problems.
Let’s take a look at the main causes of hair loss and see what treatments are available.
A teenage male can experience hair loss due to any of the following causes.
Hormonal imbalance has become quite common in teenage males these days due to multiple reasons. It can cause serious health problems such as delayed puberty and hair loss. The most important hormone that affects hair growth in teenage males is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is a derivative of testosterone and is produced when 5-alpha reductase reacts with testosterone.
DHT is a powerful hormone. It develops secondary sexual characteristics in teenagers, but having too much of it can shrink the hair follicles, leading to hair loss. You can treat DHT-related hair loss by using DHT inhibitors or blockers that reduce DHT synthesis or block its attachment to follicle receptors.
Testosterone deficiency can also cause hair loss in men. Testosterone is a male sex hormone requires to turn boys into men. It plays several important roles in the body, including bone mass maintenance, body fat distribution, sperm production, etc. When you become testosterone deficient, you experience certain symptoms, such as loss of lean muscle mass and poor sexual function. You may also start losing hair because your hair needs testosterone for growth. Getting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might be a good option if your hair loss is due to low testosterone levels.
Androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common reasons for early hair loss in men. It occurs when men on your mother’s side or father’s side also have hair loss problems, and now you have received their baldness gene. Your hairline will start receding and develop a U, V, or M shape.
Unfortunately, hereditary hair loss cannot be treated. However, you can slow it down by using certain medications. A more permanent solution would be a hair transplant, in which hair follicles are removed from one part of your body and transplanted to the balding site.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system accidentally starts attacking healthy hair follicles. Your hair will start falling out in patches. Teenagers with alopecia areata lose body, facial and head hair. It affects 2% of people and can develop even during childhood.
Having excess or deficiency of certain nutrients can cause hair loss in teenage males. Some important nutrients that you need for healthy hair growth are vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and niacin.
You can become malnourished if you do not eat enough or eat too much. You may also develop this condition if you have a digestive system problem or an eating disorder.
Different thyroid gland problems can lead to hair loss in teenagers. When your thyroid gland becomes overactive, you make more of certain hormones; when it becomes inactive, you develop thyroid hormone deficiencies.
Both conditions are equally damaging to your hair. They cause hair thinning leading to hair loss. However, you can regrow your lost hair by tackling the thyroid disorder on time.
A majority of teenagers are influenced by social media celebrities. They try to follow them and experiment with different hair procedures and hair styling methods just to look fashionable and trendy.
Regularly treating hair with harsh chemicals and using damaging heat can cause hair breakage and hair fall. Hence, you should avoid them as much as you can to protect your hair and keep them in a healthy condition for years to come.
Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications. So, when you take those medications, your risk of losing hair increases. Some examples of these medications include cholesterol-lowering drugs, acne medicines, and antidepressants.
This kind of hair loss is temporary. In most cases, it can be reversed by stopping the intake of those medications.
Certain skin infections, such as ringworm and seborrheic dermatitis, can cause hair loss. Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes itchy bald patches. The infection got its name due to the circular patches.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that mainly affects scalps. Scaly, inflamed patches having dandruff develop on your scalp and oily areas like ears, sides of your nose, and eyebrows.
Certain lifestyle habits can affect your hair growth. For instance, if you do not get enough sleep, your body does not get enough time to repair itself and produce hormones required for hair growth. As a result, you start shedding hair. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse can also be damaging to your hair.
You can easily improve this kind of hair loss by bringing healthy changes to your lifestyle.
It is a psychological condition in which the patient pulls out their hair. It can develop at any age; however, it is more common in 9 to 13-year-old children.
You should contact a mental health professional to get timely treatment. Proper medical care can help the person overcome this problem and regrow their hair.
Teenage males can improve their hair growth by identifying the actual cause of the problem.
If you are experiencing hair loss, you should get in contact with a dermatologist to determine why you have developed it. Your doctor will have a physical examination to find hair loss symptoms. Once they have diagnosed hair loss, they will have different tests to find out the real culprit behind this problem.
TRT is given to males who are unable to produce endogenous testosterone due to an acquired or congenital issue. In this treatment, artificial testosterone is administered in the body to boost serum testosterone levels.
Remember that TRT may cause hair loss in some men, or it may accelerate an existing problem. If you start losing more hair after starting TRT, contact your doctor as soon as possible. It usually happens in teenagers who have DHT sensitivity or a genetic problem.
TRT has different forms, such as testosterone gels, creams, patches, pellets, tablets, and injections. All forms produce unique effects and have different success rates. You should discuss their application methods, side effects and benefits with your doctor before you choose one.
In this test, your blood sample will be taken and examined. Your free and total testosterone levels will be measured. If they are below normal, you will most likely have testosterone deficiency. Your doctor may ask you to have another serum testosterone test to confirm the results of the first test.
TRT is not a suitable treatment for all teenage males. It can worsen certain health problems and cause side effects like increased male breast size, acne, breast tenderness, and low sperm count. You should discuss your current health conditions with your doctor and choose TRT if it is safe for you.
TRT is a life-long procedure. Your testosterone levels will decline again when you stop having testosterone. Hence, you should mentally and financially prepare yourself before starting TRT.
Hair loss is not very common in teenage males, but it can still develop in them over the years or abruptly. There are numerous causes, but genetics and hormonal imbalance are the most common causes.
If you are a teenager experiencing hair loss, you should not hesitate to seek help. Contact a trusted and qualified doctor to identify the cause and find a suitable treatment.
References/Bibliography/ Scientfic studies/ Further reading
Banka, N., Bunagan, M.K. and Shapiro, J., 2013. Pattern hair loss in men: diagnosis and medical treatment. Dermatologic clinics, 31(1), pp.129-140.
Kaufman, K.D., 1996. Androgen metabolism as it affects hair growth in androgenetic alopecia. Dermatologic clinics, 14(4), pp.697-711.
Kim, B.J., Kim, J.Y., Eun, H.C., Kwon, O.S., Kim, M.N. and Ro, B.I., 2006. Androgenetic alopecia in adolescents: a report of 43 cases. The Journal of dermatology, 33(10), pp.696-699.
Rhodes, T., Girman, C.J., Savin, R.C., Kaufman, K.D., Guo, S., Lilly, F.R., Siervogel, R.M. and Chumlea, W.C., 1998. Prevalence of male pattern hair loss in 18–49 year old men. Dermatologic surgery, 24(12), pp.1330-1332.
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