I think it is safe to say that many of us are afraid of losing our hair one day, and many are even more fearful of losing it too soon. The question is, when is it considered “too soon?” What is considered an abnormal age for hair loss? I believe that everyone wants to keep their hair for as long as possible, and there are steps you can take to keep it healthy and grow for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common to see hair thinning and hair loss in people under 30, and there are many different causes for that.
Thinning and balding are two different things; thinning is the beginning stages of hair loss, maybe when someone first notices a change in their hair. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 25 percent of men who experience hair loss start seeing the change as young as 21 years old.
First and foremost, it is essential to be aware of your hair growth pattern and how much hair you would typically lose on a day-to-day basis. Next, be mindful of your body; it is the first step in noticing changes and seeing any warning signs. For example, pay attention to how much hair is on your pillow, how much comes out when brushing your hair, and how much is on the drain in. the tub/shower. If you start to notice more on the pillow, down the drain, or in the brush, take it as a warning! For women, other than seeing more hair in your hairbrush or shower, the hair part begins to get wider over time. For men, another way to see the start of hair loss is thinning at the crown of the head or a receding hairline.
What can cause this?
Many factors can cause early onset hair loss in men and women, and one could be stress. Stress affects us all emotionally and even physically. Just as stress can cause migraines, and acne it can affect our hair health as well. There are four stages of hair growth, anagen is a growing phase, catagen is the transition phase, telogen is the resting phase, and exogen is the shedding phase. According to Healthline, it is completely “normal for someone to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day” (Citroner Healthline). However, stress interrupts the process by taking the hairs out of the anagen (growth phase) too soon. The result of this is a more significant amount of hair loss every day. Research has shown that millennials and Gen Z’s are experiencing much more stress than the older generations, X and boomers, hence why we see hair loss in much younger people.
Another common reason for early onset hair loss is a lack of nutrition. Nutrients like iron, zinc, biotin, or protein are vital to have a head full of healthy hair. There can be a deficiency here with a lack of a well-rounded diet or not taking the necessary vitamins needed. Some studies show that more millennials are showing early hair loss because of how different typical diets are, such as; veganism, gluten-free, vegetarianism, and the Keto Diet. This may be true, but this could be addressed by taking daily vitamins.
Another cause for hair loss under 30 could be medical conditions. A prevalent medical condition that is directly attributed to hair loss is Alopecia Areata. Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes the hair to fall out in clumps. This is caused by the immune system attacking part of your body. Alopecia Areata can be as small as some bald spots on the head, or it can cause complete baldness, even over the entire body, not just the scalp. The three autoimmune forms of Alopecia are Areata, Totalis, and Universalis. Another medical condition could be psoriasis on the scalp; this is a skin condition where itchy, scaly patches appear on the scalp and can cause hair loss. On top of Alopecia or psoriasis, there are mental disorders that can cause people to pull out their own hair. Trichotillomania is a disorder that can be caused by an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or anxiety disorder. This is when people pull their hair out from the roots. This not only affects the hair on the scalp, but it can also affect eyebrows, eyelashes, and anywhere else hair may grow. In many cases, this can be treated with anxiety medication and therapy.
Some of these scalp disorders are hard to point out yourself when you can’t really see your own scalp. That is why it is so important to go to a trained specialist, someone who has studied hair loss and causes of hair loss—having a hairstylist who is trained as much on the hair as on the scalp is essential because they are the ones getting the closest to our scalps. Trichology is the para-medical study of the hair and the scalp; those trained in trichology are able to see and decipher scalp abnormalities and direct you to proper care. If you are a hairstylist looking to take courses on trichology, check out thehairsociety.org for more information, they offer certified courses that can help you understand what to look for, and more importantly, how to treat your clients.
Some may say that losing your hair is just a part of the cycle of life, but we don’t want this to happen too early; there are steps that we can take to prevent this from happening. The most crucial step is to know your own body and pay attention to any changes you may see. This is also important to do for yourself in general, to help catch any abnormalities early on. You are making sure to keep a healthy and balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods and keep an eye out for any scalp disorders. Make sure you are going to a good, credible, well-informed hairstylist to help you keep your hair growing healthy while also keep your hair and scalp healthy.
Citroner, George. “Hair Loss: Why It’s Happening to Millennials.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 28 Sept. 2018, www.healthline.com/health-news/why-millennials-losing-hair-earlier#How-big-a-factor-is-stress?
Lake, Rebecca. “23 Startling Hair Loss Statistics That Will Astound You.” CreditDonkey, CreditDonkey, 24 June 2019, www.creditdonkey.com/hair-loss-statistics.html.
Roland, James. “Stages of Hair Growth plus How to Maintain Hair Health in Every Stage.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Sept. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/stages-of-hair-growth#growing-phase.