Causes Of Hair Loss In Teenagers And Tips To Prevent It


It is a popular belief that hair loss begins with aging, but the fact is; the problem of hair fall can begin as early as teenage or even before. Hair loss in teenage is an indication of an underlying health condition, exposure to pollution, sun damage or improper lifestyle. This must be identified and treated in time to prevent any serious and permanent damage to hair.

There may be ample products and salon based services which claim to bring about change in teenage hair loss situation. But wise advice here would be, to not get carried away and take expert advice. As these products may even cause further damage to your hair resulting in aggravating the situation. A dermato-trichologist would help identify the root cause of the problem and also treat the aesthetic part to bring in restoration and re-growth of your shedding hair line.

Causes of hair loss in teenagers

Losing hair is extremely stressful, and there is a vicious circle here. The more you stress out, the more chances of aggravating the condition. Both teenage boy’s and girls may suffer varying degrees of hair loss, but the respective causes may differ. And based on these underlying causes the treatments and prevention plan ahead, differs.

Causes of Hair Loss In Teenage Males

Sometimes lack or ignorance to a proper hair care routine may cause hair loss in teenager boys. Additionally, the distractions caused by products in the market may prompt them to buy unfitting ones which makes the hair fall situation worse. Being young and energetic, teenage boys often are a part of sport activities, which causes them to sweat profusely. If ignored, sweat can damage not just hair strands externally but also render hair follicles inapt and result in hair loss. Since excess oil, debris and sweat on scalp can cause your hair to become brittle and weak, it converts into hair loss and hair thinning.

Hair care, scalp hygiene and proper lifestyle choices must become a part of young adults to prevent hair fall woes. As minor problems develop further into severe and sometimes leave permanent damage to your hair and scalp.

Some common causes of hair loss in teenage boys include

  • Ringworm of the scalp – Also known as tinea capitis, is a fungal infection of scalp that causes hair loss. It can also cause red, itchy and inflamed patches on scalp too.
  • Medical condition – Some ailments can cause hair loss in teens. These include thyroid, diabetes, lupus, etc. Especially the malfunction of endocrine gland can cause hair loss.
  • Medicines/ drugs – Certain drugs can cause hair loss as a side effect, like chemotherapy, acne, bipolar disorder medicines, etc. As these medicines contain amphetamines which trigger hair loss in teens.
  • Alopecia areata – It is an auto-immune hair loss that may be a result of extreme stress and it results in small bald patches on the scalp and entire body. It is extremely common even in children
  • Hairstyles and products – Using hair products with harsh chemicals or pulling the hair back with immense force can result in hair loss in teenage boys. It may also cause temporary hair breakage and hair fall eventually.
  • Trichotillomania – People often pull their hair voluntarily and this results in bald patches on the scalp. Psychologist’ help would be needed for teens to get over this condition.
  • Improper diet – Sometimes teens just ignore the essential nutrients required in a balanced diet and with time it results in health conditions, one such being hair fall. Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia cause hair loss as the body is devoid of adequate proteins, vitamins and minerals.
  • Androgenetic alopecia – This is also known as pattern baldness in teenage boys. Hormones and genes play a vital role in contracting this condition. Steroids can also trigger this condition in teens.
  • Disrupted hair growth cycle – Serious or high grade fever can cause hair loss in teenage boys, along with other conditions, that temporarily block the hair growth cycle.
  • Dandruff – In some cases dandruff can stimulate the hair loss condition further. Sometimes infections also crop up along with dandruff; this results in weakening of hair and breaking from the roots.

Also Read: What Causes Hair Loss In Men & Women

Common causes of Hair Loss In Teenage Females

Girls just love to style their hair and keep up the beauty. But teenage girls may not have adequate awareness on products and procedures to be used especially with the way hair colour trends are picking up. This may cause hair thinning and hair loss which may be temporary but if ignored, it can result in permanent hair loss. Though all of the above hair loss causes in teenage boys are also likely to cause the same in teenage girls but there are some other specific causes too –

  • Hormonal imbalance – With puberty the hormones gush immense bodily changes and some teenage girls may even face hair loss. DHT hormone is responsible for hair loss, so it must be kept in check.
  • Medicines/ drugs – Many teenage girls take oral contraceptives to get rid of acne or PCOS conditions,that can cause hair loss. Though the dermatologist would be able to change the medicine but it is necessary to check the warning signs and take timely help.
  • Over styling – Teenage girls are more inclined towards trends and styles than ever. This can lead to adopting hairstyles which cause too much pressure on the hair strands thus resulting in hair loss. The chemicals such as peroxide or ammonia which are present in hair dyes have an adverse effect on the hair. Sodium hydroxide is the chemical used in straightening your hair which can also lead to weakening of the hair strands and ultimately resulting in hair loss.
  • Improper diet – As a female it is extremely important to keep a close check on your diet. As the ample body changes and changes in the emotional and psychological state may prevent you from concentrating on your diet. But eating a healthy diet with all necessary nutrients is important for health and wellness also preventing hair loss.
  • Natural conditions such as pollution, excessive exposure to sun, lack of adequate moisture during extreme seasons, etc., also contribute to the hair loss in teenage girls.

Early Signs of Teen Hair Loss

  • Receding hair line in teen boys, with a prominent dip in volume of hair
  • Thinning of crown region in teenage girls
  • Over and above the usual 50-100 strands of hair fall seen on pillow, hair brush, etc.
  • Itchy and flaky scalp
  • Too many hair strands coming out when you pull a few hair strands

Also Read: What Is Female Pattern Baldness?

Teenage hair loss treatments

Treatments for teenage hair loss are largely towards medical side with emphasis on improving diet and lifestyle. But for cases with underlying medical condition or drug induced hair fall; there are specific treatments which your dermatologist would suggest after initial consultation. Some of the treatments include

  • PRPPlatelet rich plasma is a non-invasive and therapeutic treatment for hair re-growth and restoration, naturally. Considered as one of the safest and most effective treatment for various kinds of hair loss. The patient’s own blood is collected (usually from arms) and is put to activation via a USFDA approved machine called centrifuge. This centrifugation process separates the platelets from plasma and enriches them with protein rich growth factors. This rich concoction is then injected back into the scalp (using microneedles) with scanty hair growth, right into the hair follicles for stimulating the dormant stem. This enables natural hair re-growth and restoration for teens. It must be proceeded only on a certain age group and your dermatologist would recommend based on an initial consultation
  • Minoxidil – It is a USFDA approved over the counter drug treating hair loss in women which is known to increase hair regrowth. It comes in liquid or foam form, and has certain directions for use, that must be adhered to, as there are certain side effects like scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth at various parts and increase in heart rate.
  • Finasteride – It is a USFDA approved drug for men that helps in slowing hair loss in teenage boys. The dosage and directions for use must be kept in mind as there are side effects if used improperly
  • Oral contraceptives (only for teenage girls) to help treat the hair fall condition in addition to PCOS and acne situation
  • Low-level laser therapy – USFDA approves LLLT for men and women suffering from hereditary hair loss. It may improve hair density but there may not be long term impacts, as there is no factual evidence to support

Also Read: PRP Vs Other Treatments For Hair Fall – Which Is Better?

Prevention (General Tips)

  • Use a mild shampoo and wash your hair regularly to keep them clean
  • Do not brush your hair soon after washing, as wet hair sheds too quickly
  • Use suitable hair products, and when in doubt ask your dermatologist
  • Enrich your diet with more proteins and fresh greens
  • Keep yourself hydrated and maintain hygiene
  • Check your fitness gear and allow airier clothes to keep the excess sweat off. Shower soon after workouts to prevent any sweat depositions.
  • Keep stress away, and try to follow a proper fitness routine with good 8 hours of sleep each night to ward off the stress
  • Check your medications and get health examinations, for any drug which may be causing hair fall discuss with your doctor for switching to a better option
  • Do not apply undue pressure while combing, drying or styling your hair
  • Avoid using hair dryers, straighteners and hair dyes, as they may damage your hair more than anything else.

Hair loss is a common concern in people of all ages even as early as teenage. With fast paced lives, exposure to pollution and UV rays of sun being unavoidable, we tend to oversee the hair care routine. A check on your diet, fitness, hygiene and health can help you not just treat but also prevent hair loss problem further. Be sure to visit your dermatologist for any warning signs, and prevent a permanent damage to your hair.

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Dr TN Rekha Singh is an MBBS, MD in Dermatology, Venerealogy and Leprology from Andhra Pradesh with over 10 years of experience in the areas of dermatology and trichology. Working as a Senior Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist and Trichologist with Oliva Clinics for 8 years now, she has trained over 60 Doctors in the areas of skin and hair care. One of the pioneer dermatologists with Oliva, she has been exemplary in bringing clinical marvels in addition to mentoring MD dermatologists and therapists. She was awarded for her research at the AP state conference, and has participated and presented papers at many national and international dermatology conferences. She is dedicated in bringing beauty and wellness through real science of transformation, giving real results. She enjoys reading, travelling and cooking. She lives with her husband and two kids in Hyderabad.