We tend to associate hair loss with older women. That’s because it’s the time when women generally get hit by various health problems. So, when teenagers complain about losing hair, it not only worries the child but also the mother. Losing just a few strands of hair should not be an alarming thing. But if you find balls of your hair on the floor after running your fingers through your hair or combing, you should look for the reason behind it. An expert shares the causes of hair loss in teenagers and what to do about it.
To find out the causes of hair loss in teenagers, HealthShots connected with Dr Navya P, Consultant Dermatologist, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru.
Reasons of hair loss in teenagers
Sometimes, it’s the genes that are to be blamed for hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern baldness, is a genetic form of hair loss, says Dr Navya. The tresses gradually start thinning along the parting of the hair. Though this pattern usually starts in adulthood, it can also occur during teenage years.
Teenage years are the time when you focus a lot on your looks and weight. So, you might end up eating less, do crash dieting or have eating disorders. There can be digestive problems too. All this leads to deficiency of vital nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, biotin and protein which are important for maintaining hair growth.
3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
It is a condition where testosterone levels are higher than normal. Women with PCOS do find themselves gaining weight, but it also has a negative impact on the scalp and hair growth (effective ways to combat PCOS-induced hair fall).
4. Thyroid imbalance
The expert says thyroid conditions that lead to increased or decreased production of thyroid hormones may cause brittle hair and hair loss.
5. Hair treatments
It’s fun to change your hair colour, but regular hair colouring or chemical treatment such as straightening and smoothening break the disulfide bonds of the hair shaft. This leads to loss of hair strength and then there’s breakage, which leads to increased hair loss.
6. Hair care and styling methods
Using hot water while washing hair, opting for harsh shampoos, combing wet hair or tying tight hairstyles can all lead to hair loss.
Typhoid, dengue, Covid-19 or prolonged illness or undergoing surgical procedures can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium, which is a reversible condition in which hair falls out.
It is a psychological disorder where the person pulls out their own hair, and is commonly seen between 10 to 15 years of age, says Dr Navya.
Be it exams or problems with peers, teenagers can also get stressed. Turns out, increased levels of stress increases hair loss as well as acne in teenage girls.
10. Scalp disorders
Dandruff where fungal growth is increased over the scalp means you’ll have to say goodbye to many strands of your hair (home remedies for dandruff). There are also other conditions like alopecia areata where immune system attacks hair follicles, and ringworm infection which causes itchy and scaly patches on scalp.
Tips to tackle hair loss
The problem of hair loss in teenagers has many solutions. Some include:
• Right diagnosis and starting the treatment early help in dealing with hair loss.
• Diet rich in iron and protein should be included, so start having dates, green leafy vegetables, lentils, chicken, fish, egg and nuts (protein-rich foods).
• Avoiding tight hairstyles, decreasing the use of heating tools and using heat protectants can be helpful.
• Dandruff control with regular cleansing of scalp and using anti-dandruff shampoos can help.
• Visiting a dermatologist to assess the scalp or hair with blood tests and scalp biopsy will help in diagnosing the underlying condition and help initiate the appropriate treatment.