Hair Loss in Men in Their Teens and Early Twenties
Although hair loss is typically considered to be an affliction associated with old age, it occurs in younger men as well. Hair loss is generally unexpected in young men and, therefore, the realization that they are losing their hair, can be a devastating shock to younger individuals. Hair loss typically presents itself as thinning in the temporal area of the frontal hairline, resulting in the appearance of a high forehead. Men in the early stages of hair loss may also begin to notice excess shedding when they shower or comb their hair.
Even with a known genetic predisposition, hair loss can be highly distressing for a young man in his teens or early twenties. Premature hair loss can put these men in an emotionally vulnerable and psychology fragile position, leaving them feeling alienated, unattractive, hindered socially, or even disfigured. These men may be particularly susceptible to the numerous expensive ‘scam’ products and treatments advertised on the internet and television.
What should I do as a young man experiencing hair loss?
A good first step would be to visit your general practitioner, a dermatologist or a hair restoration specialist to evaluate your hair loss. A physician should first educate the young patient about the likely cause of their hair loss, explain that hair loss is a progressive condition and go over possible treatment options, as well as any possible ramifications or side effects of such treatments.
Is hair transplantation a good option for young men with hair loss?
In the vast majority of cases, hair transplant is not a reasonable option for young hair loss patients. One reason for this is that it is difficult to evaluate, at a young age, what pattern and progression hair loss will take, and therefore difficult to create a long-term plan. Once a patient elects to have a hair transplant procedure, additional future surgeries will almost always be necessary to maintain a natural appearance as further native hair is lost. In addition to being costly, there is a danger that hair loss will exceed limited donor supply. Unfortunately, the younger you are when you first experience hair loss, the more hair loss you can expect will occur over the remainder of your life.
What are some better treatment options for young men experiencing hair loss?
A good first line of defense in treating hair loss is Propecia (finasteride). Propecia can slow the progression of your hair loss, prevent further hair loss, and occasionally even regrow hair. However, Propecia works primarily in the crown region and will do little for a maturing hairline. Another option is Rogaine (minoxidil) which is applied topically and also slows or stops hair loss, and can promote hair regrowth. Both therapies work best when they are started early on, though any benefits will be lost if use is discontinued. These treatments generally will not grow a significant amount of hair back in most individuals, but they will buy you some time and hopefully limit the amount of hair restoration you will require over the course of your lifetime.
But what if I really believe surgery is the right solution for my hair loss?
Hair restoration surgery should almost always be delayed until at least the age of 23. If, at this age, you are set on having surgery, you should only consider CIT or FUE. Strip procedures are never advisable for young patients as they leave a linear strip scar that you will have to camouflage for the rest of your life. With CIT or FUE, you can elect to shave your head later down the road and still maintain a natural appearance because you will not have the severe scarring that strip procedures leave. However, remember that the longer you can delay your procedure, the better off you will be.