If you are an ageing adult, you might have accepted that your hair will slowly lose its youthful vigour and thickness sooner or later. But for people in their teenage years, especially the ladies who treasure and adorn their crowning glory well, hair loss can bring a lot of stress.
“Remember, your hair needs as much care as any other part of your body does.” – Ritely
Numerous factors cause hair loss. However, no matter what that may be, thinning, balding, or shedding among teens can affect their self-esteem.
The Bald Lies: 5 Common Myths about Baldness You Should Stop Believing
Before talking about some of the primary reasons why teenage hair loss occurs, let’s first belie some common myths. We shouldn’t all live in lies, especially when it comes to our health.
1. Stress Causes Hair Loss
The first thing you don’t need to worry about hair loss? Worrying.
It may sound a little complicated, but stress does not cause hair loss. Traumatic events have been linked to hair loss — only if they are as critical as suffering from an illness or losing/gaining a remarkable amount of weight.
Mayo Clinic enumerated the types of hair loss associated with ‘high’ stress levels. One is telogen effluvium, a “resting phase” in which hair follicles pause, another is alopecia areata, the patchy hair loss. Both of these are temporary and curable.
However, neither of those can be caused by our chronic day to day stressful encounters. So if you’re thinking about your evil Science teacher or your teenage son’s annoyance over your regular nag, they don’t cause falling hairs.
2. Balding Only Happens During Old Age
Hair loss is not only a condition that happens as we age. This condition can develop in pre-adults, teens and even kids due to varying factors.
Children suffering from ringworm or tinea capitis in the scalp can experience shedding while older kids who suffer from trichotillomania or hair pulling can also collect lumps of fallen hair strands.
A lot of people might have this common belief, but the truth is, no one is ever too young to lose hair. And vice versa, you can keep your hair long into your old age.
3. Shaving and Trimming Improves Hair Growth
If you have seen someone shaving her hair on a Youtube video so it can grow back thicker, she’s on the wrong path you shouldn’t take.
Credential doctor Dr Chen Tai Ho confirmed that shaving one’s hair would not actually make it grow back thicker and faster as what most of us thought. He assured that no amount of haircut could affect the process of regrowing hair.
“Our hair is always thicker at the base. So when the top part of the hair shaft is shaved off, what is left is the base of the hair, so it may appear as though the hair has grown back thicker,” explained.
He stressed that normal healthy hair should have a uniform thickness from beginning to end. Hair grows in a three-staged cycle – anagen, catagen and telogen – which means shaving it at different stages won’t affect its regrowth.
4. Only Men Are Susceptible to Hair Balding
Male pattern baldness is the most common hair loss we see every day, stereotyping baldness among men.
It is true that a man will more likely go completely bald, but a lot of women also suffer from hair loss. In fact, it was estimated that 50% of women would experience significant thinning throughout their lifetime.
5. Wearing a Hat Cause Balding
Our grannies always tell us to stop wearing hats frequently, or we will go bald because it suffocates the hair below. Actual science says that’s baloney.
The truth is, your scalp can’t be ‘refrained from breathing’ if you wear a hat. This is because your hair follicles can actually get oxygen from the bloodstream.
“If you’re wearing a really tight hat, maybe that can put pressure on areas where it contacts your head which could potentially lead to traction alopecia,” says Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC.
But there’s nothing to worry about. “Unless you are being really aggressive with the tightness, there’s nothing to worry about,” Zeichner added.
Major Causes of Teenage Hair Loss
Whether you are a teen who is frequently seeing lumps of hair on your brush, or a mom of one, these are the most critical causes you should avoid. Treating hair loss, or any health problem at that, can be done best by finding out where it comes from.
1. Hormonal Changes
Puberty creates a lot of bodily changes among budding teens. These include hormonal changes in both boys and girls.
Hormonal imbalances can fluctuate their moods, eating habits including hair growth. This is because hormones help regulate our follicle’s production of hair.
Due to an enzyme, testosterone in men changes to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the hormone responsible for hair loss. It shrinks the hair follicles, causing strands to fall out.
When hormonal imbalances happen in women — who have low testosterone levels as well — they also experience shedding and thinning of hair.
2. Unhealthy Diet
Regrettably, teens today consume an unhealthy diet. In most health-related cases, proper nutrition plays a vital role — including, of course, hair and skin.
Every day, your hair needs a substantial amount of nutrients. Some of the most common are Vitamin B1, B2, C, E and iron. These nutrients fuel our body cells, helping hair grow healthy and function the way it should.
Anyone who’s deficient in these areas may experience hair loss. Obviously, there is no better remedy than to consume a nutritious diet. Supplements can help too, but it won’t give you as many benefits as healthy foods will.
This is where parents’ disciplinary actions become vital; train them to eat healthily or spend a lot of money on hospital bills and frequent medications.
In order to keep up with the current hair trends and styles, teenagers, especially girls often use heat products and tight hairstyles. Straighteners, blow dryers and curly rods used on a daily basis affect hair growth and make strands dry and brittle.
Also, extra tight hairdos are ponytails, braids and dreadlocks tug hair from the scalp. Frequent use pull out clumps, which can even lead to embarrassing bald patches and irregularly shortened strands.
4. Medicine Intake
Some types of drugs can cause teenage hair loss, especially those which alter the hormones. Teenage girls, in particular, may take birth control pills to relieve PCOS or control development of acne.
As they take these, hair tends to thin out. On the contrary, some physicians actually refer these pills to girls who have excessive hair growth.
Aside from these, other medications as anticoagulants, beta blockers, and even high doses of vitamin A can cause weak hair follicles.
5. More Serious Medical Conditions
Hair loss is not always a simple and natural phenomenon. Sometimes excessive shedding is the symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Some examples can be scalp infection, unregulated diabetes, an overactive or underactive thyroid, skin disorders, or trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling caused by high levels of anxiety).
On the other hand, if someone is suffering from a more serious illness, accompanying symptoms will occur. These can be scaly or inflamed skin, hair loss in big patches and fatigue. Immediate help from physicians should be sought at certain points as these.
Teenage hair loss can be devastating. This can even be a subject of bullying in severe cases. Nevertheless, the right treatment and changes in lifestyle can fix the problem.
A proactive response to this problem can preserve a teen’s hair for more years to come.
About the Author:
Alkire Leanna is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home mother of two. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency.