What Can Cause Hair Loss At A Young Age?

The younger generations today seem to be losing their hair at a faster pace than ever before. Sky-high levels of stress, poor diet, and experimentation on their hair are causing youngsters to lose their hair fairly early on. In fact, many of us must have noticed around us that younger people seem to be losing their hair a lot sooner these days. Sometimes we wonder if we are simply imagining this, but facts show that it is far from imagination. It is actually happening at a rapidly scary pace. In fact, new research from China has shown that people in their 20s itself are losing hair and becoming bald much sooner than the generation that came before them.

We tend to usually associate hair loss with an advancing age. However, statistics are now showing that more and more people are starting to lose their hair at a very young age. In fact, many dermatologists are reporting that men and women as young as 18 years of age are not reporting hair loss. Hair stylists are also reporting that an increasing number of younger clients are seeking help with receding hairlines and thinning hair. So, what has suddenly changed that is causing hair loss at a young age?

What Can Cause Hair Loss At A Young Age?

What Can Cause Hair Loss At A Young Age?

Well, to begin with, youngsters today are facing some of the highest levels of stress as compared to before. Hormonal changes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and of course, stress, are some of the factors that are causing young women and men to lose their hair. Having no time to eat and compensating by eating run-of-the-mill junk foods are also influencing hair health at younger ages.

In fact, experts believe that even the growing popularity of vegan diets and vegetarianism could well be contributing to hair loss. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Emily Guo at the Baylor College of Medicine based in Texas has shown that due to having a severely lowered consumption of proteins, zinc, vitamin D, and other nutrients, will negatively impact the growth of hair.

Is Stress Really The Reason Behind Hair Loss?

On a day-to-day basis, we tend to shed hair. Shedding is considered to be a normal part of your hair’s life cycle. This phase can last for anywhere between two to seven years for each strand of hair. But if you start noticing a lot more hair in your drain after a shower, or even on your hairbrush, then it is likely that you are having hair loss. Usually, the risk of hair loss increases with age, but nowadays, even young people are no longer immune.

Generally what happens is that your hair grows, then it stops growing for some time, and then it finally falls out. These stages are known as the anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen phases.

Anagen is the growth phase of a human scalp hair and it lasts for two to six years. After this stage, the hair enters the catagen phase for a few days. The hair follicles shrink slightly during the catagen phase. The telogen phase is when the hair remains stable and the exogen phase is when the hair starts to fall out. This is a continuous process and it is considered normal for a person to shed around 50 to 100 hairs each day. However, the growing levels of stress in the lives of young people are responsible for higher amounts of hair to fall out on a daily basis, leading to baldness.

According to Doris Day, the MD of Day Dermatology and Aesthetics, stress is indeed an important factor that is causing hair loss at a young age. How is this so you may ask? Well, stress interrupts the process of hair growth and moves the hairs out of the growth phase prematurely, causing greater number of hair to fall out.

In fact, a study conducted on mice has exposed stress-induced hair loss. Exposed to loud noises, the study confirmed that the rodents’ hair entered the catagen phase prematurely. Yet another study conducted on monkeys also demonstrated that there is a higher chance of hair loss in animals that have high levels of the hormone cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.

There is no doubt that today’s younger people are reporting higher levels of stress as compared to the older generations. Youngsters today are also having difficulty dealing with stress.

Faulty Hair Maintenance

The manner in which younger people are maintaining their hair is also leading to more hair fall. Excessive bleaching, dying, use of styling products, etc., are causing severe harm to the hair. Hair extensions are also another fashion trend that has caught on tremendously. The weight and tension caused by hair extensions weaken the hair follicles and thus causes more hair to fall out.

The increased focus on appearance is making people more sensitive to hair changes nowadays. While it is considered normal for people in their 20s and 30s to experience some hair fall, the desire for getting thicker, and more attractive hair is now a trend that is being observed in younger and younger ages.

The fact is that the way you care for your hair and the way you style your hair dictates the growth phase and life of your hair strands. Even heated tools and frequent perms, relaxer treatments, will cause increased breakage. Shampooing too often also places stress on the hair follicles, and they can actually stop producing new hairs altogether. The same kind of stress is placed on your scalp if you are frequently pulling back your hair into tight styles requiring the use of elastic bands or clips.

You should also avoid over-brushing. The old saying of 100 brush strokes actually holds true, but it should be limited to 100s strokes or less in the entire day and not for every time you brush your hair.


If you are suffering from hair loss and you are sure you do not have any medical reason behind it, then adjusting your lifestyle will promote the healthy growth of hair follicles. There are many things that you can do in order to stop your hair fall and also boost the production of new hairs. For example, many women remain unaware that there are many oral contraceptives, which have been attributed to causing hair loss. Changing over to a non-hormonal type of birth control will give immediate relief if hair fall is happening for this reason. Here are some other suggestions you can try to increase hair growth and preventing hair fall.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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