Being a teenager isn’t easy, but it can be even more challenging for a teen struggling with hair loss issues. Feeling different, being teased, bullied, or picked on because of hair loss can be devastating and disruptive for a teenager.
It is estimated that around three percent of all pediatrician visits annually involve a hair loss problem. Teenagers, as well as young children, can experience the thinning, balding, or shedding which we usually associate with pattern baldness in adults.
There are many reasons a teenager could be losing hair, and parents should always consult with a physician if their teen is experiencing excessive shedding or other visible signs of hair loss to determine the underlying cause.
Four of the most common causes of hair loss in teens include:
Alopecia Areata is a specific type of baldness that occurs in concentrated, rounded areas on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. At times, Alopecia Areata may appear in several locations at once, such as on the crown of the head, the sides of the head, and on the arms. Between one to two percent of Americans experience Alopecia Areata, including teenagers.
Hairstyle and Product Issues
Teens can spend a lot of time – and use a ton of gel, mousse, hairspray, and other products – styling their hair. All of the chemicals contained in styling products can build up and damage hair follicles if a teen does a poor job washing their hair.
Similarly, many hairstyles popular among teens involve an unnatural and excessive amount of tension to their hair over an extended period. This can lead to a condition called traction alopecia. For example, wearing unnecessarily tight ponytails, pigtails, or braids for long stretches of time can damage follicles and cause hair to fall out.
Unconscious Hair Pulling and Plucking
Another behavioral cause of teenage hair loss, albeit one with a psychological component, is Trichotillomania. This disorder involves a teen pulling their hair until they uproot the follicles, often leaving large areas of thinning hair, damaged follicles, or total baldness. The best course of treatment for this condition is to consult a mental health professional or behavioral therapist.
Poor Diet or Eating Disorder
If a teen is undernourished or has an unhealthy diet, their body will have a difficult time getting the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to maintain healthy hair follicles. Sometimes, this can be a simple matter of eating healthier food, but teens struggling with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia face more significant challenges to their health and well-being. While eating well may not be enough to reverse pattern baldness, eating foods for healthy hair can certainly help to improve the health and longevity of existing hair.
Learn More About Teen Hair Loss and Restoration Options
If your teen is struggling with hair loss, please schedule a hair loss evaluation to learn more about effective treatment with the world-renowned experts at the Miami Hair & Skin Institute. Please contact our clinic today at 305-925-0222.