Dealing With Teenage Hair Loss

A lot of our teens today face so many issues. On appearance, teens always want to look their best. There’s nothing more horrible to a common teenager than looking ugly. Being fat is hard enough. Notice how many young people have eating disorders. But baldness, in teens is another problem.

Baldness is mostly an issue for our fathers. Not for teens. If your are young and your hair is falling out, then it could be a sign that something is going on somewhere. It could just be your braid. Or maybe you are just not eating right. Usually hair loss in teens is not permanent. Once the problem which triggers hair loss is solved, the hair usually grows back.

Know your hair

Human hair is made of a certain kind of protein called keratin. A single strand of hair consists of the following:

  • Hair shaft – the part that you can see.
  • Root – the part below the skin.
  • Follicle – the part from which the hair root grows.
  • Hair bulb – the part where your hair’s pigment or melanin is produced.

Humans normally lose between 50 to 500 hairs a day. All of them are replaced and grow back in the same follicle on your head. However, if you are losing more hair than that, there might be something wrong.

Causes of hair loss

Hair styling and treatments – treatments that involved chemicals, such as straightening, coloring, bleaching or coloring can damage the hair and cause them to fall out temporarily. The more often you get you hair chemically treated, the more likely for your hair to break or fall out. Other styling’s that include having your hair pulled really tight can also cause hair loss, sometimes permanently. The tightness can cause tension in the scalp and what is medically termed as traction alopecia. It is a condition where the hair follicles are damaged resulting in permanent hair loss.

Poor nutrition – People who do not get the proper nutrition experience hair loss. Some bulimics and anorexics experience hair loss because they do not get enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain hair growth. Vegetarian teens can also experience hair loss because they do not get the necessary protein in their diet. Some athletes are also prone to hair loss because they are more likely than others to develop iron deficiency anemia.

Disruption of the hair growth cycle – severe events can disrupt the hair’s natural growth cycle. For example child birth, medical operations, going through a traumatic experience, can cause shedding large amounts of hair. Since the hair on our heads has taken months to grow, it is not immediately noticeable that there has been a disruption in the hair growth cycle until months after the even which triggered it. This hair loss type is temporary and corrects itself.

Illnesses and medical conditions – hormonal (endocrine) conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disease, can cause hair loss because they interfere with hair production. Other medical conditions such as lupus, hormone imbalance that occurs in polycystic ovary syndrome in teenage girls and adult women, can also cause hair loss.

Medications – some medications used for treatment can also sometimes cause hair loss as a side effect. For examples acne medicines like isotretinoin, medicines to treat bi-polar disorder such as lithium can cause hair loss. Diet pills which contain amphetamins can also trigger hair loss. But the most common known medications that can cause hair loss are chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment.

Alopecia areata – is a skin disease which causes hair loss in the head and sometimes all over the body. It is reported that about 1.75 of the population have this condition. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease, where in the hair follicles get damaged by the person’s own immune system. Alopecia areata, often starts with one or a few bald patches on the scalp. These patches can sometimes get bigger or even result in complete hair loss. This condition affects both boys and girls and usually starts during childhood. The hair grows back after a year, but not everytime. Some, even lose their hair again, after it has grown.

Androgenetic alopecia – commonly known as male-pattern baldness, this hair loss condition is cause by a combination of 2 factors: genetics and a hormone called androgen. Hair loss can start as early as the mid-teen years. People who use steroids like testosterone to build their bodies can also experience can also experience this.

Trichotillomania – is a psychological disorder characterized by repeated pulling of the hair often leaving bald patches, and damaged hairs of different lengths. People with this disorder need professional help from a therapist or other mental health professional.

Seek professional help

When seeking the help of your doctor give your family’s medical history. Your doctor also may examine your scalp or get samples of you hair.

If the cause of your hair loss is your medication, ask your doctor to prescribe a different drug. It it is an endcorine condition which triggers your hair loss, like diabetes or thyroid disease, you will have to have these diseases treated to prevent hair loss.

Some anti- hair loss product like minoxidil can be used to speed up hair growth, if your doctor recommends it. To treat Alopecia areata, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids. And if the cause of your hair loss is poor nutrition, your doctor might refer you to a dietitian or a nutrition expert.