About 85 percent of men will experience hair loss or alopecia by age 70. A fourth of these men could experience hair loss before the age of 21, says the American Hair Loss Association. There are several reasons why men under 25 experience may experience hair loss that are not all related to genetics.
Androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss. This type of hair loss is a genetic and hormonal condition that’s caused by DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, a hormone derived from testosterone that shrinks hair follicles. An unbalanced level of DHT can interrupt hair growth cycles.
“Young men under 25 are more sensitive to DHT,” Michele Green, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “As a result of this disruption, the hair goes into a longer rest period which makes the hair stop growing,” says Green.
Treatments for androgenetic alopecia include:
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its hair follicles. Treatments for alopecia areata include steroid creams and medications. Hair can resume growing after treatment, however, hair loss may return.
Other autoimmune disorders linked to alopecia include lupus, a disease where the body’s immune system attacks itself, and dermatomyositis, a skin inflammation condition.
“Autoimmune causes, such as lupus or dermatomyositis tend to reverse once the overall disease is under control,” says Beth Goldstein, MD, a dermatologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Alopecia could also indicate nutrition deficiencies like low vitamin D, iron, zinc, or protein. “Young men who have sudden weight loss, had a gastric bypass, or marked decreased protein intake or niacin deficiency can [experience] hair loss,” Goldstein says.
But Goldstein does not advise using common hair loss supplements to correct this.
“For instance, biotin is a common supplement touted to help with hair growth but actually at higher doses can cause interference with lab tests resulting in dire consequences,” Goldstein says. “Over supplementation of Vitamins A, E, selenium, and other nutrients can be linked to actual hair loss.”
Getting a physical examination including blood tests to find the root cause is the first step to treating your hair loss.
Get Help Now
Don’t wait. The sooner you address your symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.