Why Is My Hair Thinning at Age 20?
Few things can shake your social and emotional confidence like when you begin losing your hair at an early age. You worry if you'll develop a see-through hairline like your Aunt Marge or go completely bald like your dad. Factors like female (or male) pattern baldness, certain medical conditions, stress or even how you style your hair could be the culprit of hair thinning at 20.
Although there are plenty of reasons you may lose hair at this early age, there is hope. Read on to find out more — plus, what products you should use to encourage thicker, fuller looking hair.
What Is Normal Hair Loss?
Normal hair shedding is about 50-100 hairs each day. Understanding hair regrowth and shedding patterns can help you to recognize what is normal hair fall and what may require more attention.
The three stages of hair growth are anagen, catagen and telogen. During the anagen phase, your hair follicles are in a stage of active growth. Most scalp hair follicles stay in this phase for two to six years before moving on to the catagen stage — a two-to-three-week transitional stage where cell growth at the root of the hair stops and the hair follicles prepare for shedding. During the final or telogen stage, hairs that have stopped growing are shed from the scalp.
The three phases of hair growth occur in each hair. However, not all hairs are in the same stage simultaneously, which keeps a fairly consistent density of hair on your head. Some factors, such as stress or certain medical conditions, can force hair follicles into the telogen phase more quickly, which can result in amplified hair loss.
Normal daily hair follicle shedding should not result in less hair overall or lead to thin hair. If the amount of hair fall you're experiencing increases suddenly, start by ruling out simple explanations like recent changes in behavior patterns, hairstyles or a hair care routine that stresses your hair.
When to Start Addressing Thinning Hair
If hair loss seems to suddenly increase or has gradually increased in your 20s, it's possible there is something else going on. And it's time to take action and see your doctor when any of the following occur:
- You notice excessive hair loss, hair thinning or decreased hair density.
- You have areas that appear to be balding or are developing a receding hairline.
Options to Encourage Visibly Thicker Hair
You can consider using a hair serum. GRO Hair Serum contains powerful, vegan phyto-actives that increase the appearance of hair fullness in as soon as 90 days of consistent use.
Why You May Be Losing Hair in Your 20s
Many people want to know why this is happening to them, especially at such a young age. Many factors can increase your hair loss — stress, lack of sleep, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal changes, impaired microcirculation, poor scalp health or a predisposition to female or male pattern baldness.
Dr. Andrea Paul, Medical Advisor to Illuminate Labs, said that for men who are experiencing hair loss in their 20s, it could be a normal part of male pattern baldness, but for women, it can often be another story.
"For women, hair loss in their 20s is much less common and is more a sign of potential medical concern," Dr. Paul said. "Female hair loss typically begins during menopause, so if a woman is losing hair or experiencing thinning in her 20s, she may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance or increased stress, both of which would require a trip to the doctor to assess."
Here's a look at the potential causes of hair loss in your 20s. However, always consult with a medical professional to assess and diagnose hair loss conditions.
Androgenic or Androgenetic Alopecia
Alopecia means "hair loss." Androgenic alopecia, also called androgenetic alopecia, refers to genetic or androgen-based hair loss in men and women. More commonly referred to as female pattern baldness or male pattern baldness, this type of alopecia increases in prevalence with age, causing thinner hair, receding hairlines or baldness. Specifically, male pattern baldness can begin as young as the teens or early 20s.
Conditional Hormonal Changes
Pregnancy or other conditions that cause dramatic hormone changes in the body can also result in thinning hair. However, this type of hair loss is considered temporary.
Autoimmune Disease or Thyroid Disorders
Your doctor can screen for certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases or a thyroid condition that can cause excessive hair loss.
Traction alopecia is hair loss that is caused by certain hairstyles, such as tight braiding, which can strain hair follicles at the root and cause them to fall out prematurely. Use gentle hair ties, and opt for looser hairstyles to avoid this type of hair loss.
Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Areata
Check with your doctor to be sure your birth control or other medications aren't the sources of your hair loss. Generally, when you stop using the medication, your hair loss will reverse.
Telogen effluvium is the term given to stress-related hair loss. Increased or prolonged stress can result in these temporary hair loss conditions.
Extreme dieting, eating disorders or rapid weight loss can all cause premature, temporary hair loss.
Trichotillomania is a mental health condition that causes nervous sufferers to pull out strands of their hair as a compulsive behavior. A mental health professional can help to diagnose and treat this condition.
3 Steps for Hair Loss Prevention
Remember, normal hair shedding or hair loss should not lead to any of the following:
- Noticeable hair loss
- Thinning hair
- Permanent hair loss
- Extensive hair loss
- A receding hairline
- Complete baldness
Once you determine that your hair loss is more than normal, here's what you should do.
See Your Doctor
The first thing to do is discuss options for treating hair loss with your doctor, who may ask a series of questions about your mental health, lifestyle or medical changes and stress levels to help diagnose the root cause of your thinning hair. Your doctor can also suggest dietary changes, changes to your routine or possible medical treatments that could help.
Start Hair Loss Prevention Care for Your Hair and Scalp
The way you treat your scalp and hair can make a huge difference. Here are some tips to consider.
- Daily gentle scalp massage (using fingertips in circular motions) can help to increase blood flow to your scalp.
- Replace your shampoo and conditioner to provide advanced hair care for thinning hair. The GRO+ Advanced Replenishing Shampoo & Conditioner Kit, with vegan b-SILK protein, calms the scalp, lifts away impurities and sets the stage for well-functioning hair follicles, which are the key to healthy hair.
- Avoid tight hairstyles and excessive use of hot tools, which can stress hair and cause breakage and/or hair loss.
- Consider biotin supplements to nourish your hair from the inside out. GRO Biotin Gummies have the full recommended daily value of biotin, plus a host of other hair-healthy vitamins and minerals. All you have to do is take one delicious, strawberry-flavored gummy per day.
Get Stress Under Control
Stress and hormonal changes are both strong contributing factors for hair loss, especially in women. Sometimes hair loss can be curbed simply by getting your stress levels under control. Engage in stress-relieving activities, such as exercise, massage and meditation.
Finding Support Is Important
If you are noticing hair loss in your 20s, it can take an emotional toll. If you find you are struggling, obsessing or feeling alone, find someone to talk to about your experiences, such as a relative, friend, medical professional or mental health counselor. Also, use nurturing hair care products and build habits to help your hair flourish.
Follow our educational hair loss and hair care blog for more information and helpful tips on preventing hair loss. No matter what, you'll get through this!
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