Premature Hair loss is a growing concern among young men and women.
In 2018, a research study in China found that people in their 20s are going bald sooner than any generation before them. The data was anecdotal from a self-reported survey of 4,000 students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, but researchers said 60 percent of the young study participants reported they were losing significant amounts of hair.
While 25 percent of respondents said they didn’t notice the hair loss until they were told by friends or family, 40 percent responded they were quite aware of their receding hairlines. Researchers also reported that the students least likely to report hair loss were studying science, math, and automotive engineering.
Hair loss is becoming more common in younger generations, as reported by Healthline.com, and it’s not just due to genetics. Premature hair loss can be due to hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and other health problems like diabetes or thyroid disease. But for younger generations, there seems to be additional factors.
Hair maintenance among millennials and GenX, may also be contributing to the hair loss. Excessive bleaching and dying can seriously damage hair and the weight and tension of hair extensions can also weaken hair follicles, causing more hair to fall out. The use of hair treatments that use chemicals, hair coloring, bleach, straightening, and perms can also cause hair damage and make the hair break off or fall out temporarily. Too much heat on the hair with hot irons or hot blow drying also contribute to the premature hair loss.
A study from Johns Hopkins University in the United States found that certain hairstyles can lead to “traction alopecia”. This is a medical term used for the gradual loss of hair from damage to the follicles due to prolonged or repeated tension on the roots.
Most damaging are hairstyles with a lot of tension or pulling in one direction, like tight ponytails, braids, knots and buns, as well as dreadlocks, weaves and extensions, especially when these are attached to chemically straightened hair. Extensions can also cause damage when glued directly onto the scalp and later removed. Tight styles and the added weight of hair enhancements can lead to breakage and eventual loss, and straightening can also lead to breakage.
Research also suggests that the average age of hair loss has decreased by 35 years, from 58 to 23. This is the same for both men and women. The researchers believe that this is a big problem for many people, especially since it’s so common for millennials to experience premature hair loss at such a young age, the average now is around 21 years of age.
According to a report from the American Psychological Association (APA), research indicates a connection between age and stress. Millennials say they feel isolated or lonely due to stress while maintaining an average of five “close friends” with whom they can relax, discuss personal matters, or call on for help. APA researchers discovered that members of GenX and millennials reported higher levels of stress than older generations. They also seem to have more difficulty coping successfully.
Hair loss can be due to several reasons, including genetics, hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. The good news is that there are many ways to treat these conditions that don’t involve medications or surgery.
- Genetics: If you have family members who have experienced premature hair loss before their 30th birthday then there’s a good chance you will too. A study published by the American Academy of Dermatology Association found that people with early onset male pattern baldness have an increased risk for developing alopecia areata (patchy hair loss). The study also showed that men who were balding when they were younger than 18 years old had an increased risk of developing alopecia totalis (complete scalp baldness).
- Hormones: Thyroid hormone plays a major role in hair loss. If your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly then it may lead to premature graying or even baldness!
- Hair loss on young adults can also be a side effect of Covid-19, as reported by The New York Times and in various medical journals. Losing hair has become a common symptom of the recovery process of the virus, usually occurring three to four months after getting sick but sometimes experienced sooner.
Additionally, many of the drugs used by modern medicine can cause premature facial and scalp hair loss, though this is usually reversible once medication is stopped or changed.
Here are some common medications that may cause hair loss:
- Some Antibiotics
- Cancer drugs such as chemotherapy or targeted therapy for breast cancer.
- Antidepressants like Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline)
To prevent premature hair loss or regrow lost strands in the future, you can try one or more of the following steps:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough sleep, ideally 7-9 hours per night for adults.
- Take Vitamin D supplements if you’re not getting enough from food or sunlight (you need about 600 IU/day).
- Make sure you’re taking biotin supplements if you want to prevent hair loss or regrow lost strands in the future; some experts recommend taking up to 1 mg daily but speak with your doctor first if this sounds like something that could be helpful for you!
So be aware millennials and younger generations, you are all more likely to experience premature hair loss than your parents’ or grandparents’ generations. Even though is not known yet what exactly causes this shift in demographics, it is important to stay informed about the continuous research on genetics and the lifestyle choices that affect the hair health of younger generations. So even if you are in your twenties, start paying close attention to your hair health, before it is too late!
If you believe you are experiencing premature hair loss, schedule a #MNHD FREE Hair and Scalp analysis by completing the form below. The best way to map out your hair health journey is by knowing the current condition of your scalp and you can do it with the TrichoView analysis.
#MNHD Editorial Staff