Teenage Hair Loss

 

As women age, they often yearn for the vibrant, bouncy hair of their teenage years. Beautiful, thick hair has always been highly regarded as a symbol of youth. With today’s teens this isn’t always the case. Shimmering glowing youthful hair is slowing being replaced by dry, brittle thinning hair in the teenage population.

Hair loss among teens is becoming a common occurrence. Girls seem to be particularly susceptible. Although teenage girls are known to be obsessed with their looks, concerns about hair loss should not be taken in vain. Excessive or unusual hair loss often signifies a disturbance or imbalance.

Telogen effluvium is one of several types of hair loss that affect teenager girls. This type of hair loss can be suspected if an increased amount of hair begins shedding fairly evenly throughout the scalp. Girls may notice more hair in their brush, in the shower, or lying all over the floor. Suddenly the flirty, bouncing ponytail they used to flaunt may become noticeably thinner.

Any change, disturbance or imbalance can cause telogen effluvium. If the body has a difficult time trying to adjust or repair, the hair growth cycle can become disrupted--causing large amounts of hair to retreat to the resting phase. Any hair in the resting phase will be shed within a few months. For this reason it is important to recall the events happening in the months preceding the hair loss. 

Some of the more common causes of telogen effluvium in teenage girls are outlined below.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Today’s teens are more susceptible to adverse effects of hormonal changes. Hormonal changes require optimal care and support. Poor diet, inadequate sleep and other bad habits (common with many teens) can cause chaos to the hormonal system. An over or under production of hormones is a common cause of hair loss and other skin conditions.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills create a change in the hormonal environment which may cause hair loss in some teens. On the other hand, the hormonal change created by the pill can also be used to help young girls overcome hair loss. A person cannot predict the effects. Symptoms will not surface until the medication has been in the system for several months. If hair loss occurs during this time frame, the pill can be considered as a possible cause.

Extreme Dieting

Many teens are self-conscious about their body and will go to extreme measures to fit into size zero jeans. Extreme dieting, especially when combined with rapid weight loss and severe nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are common causes of teenage hair loss.

Poor Diet

Typical teenage diets often lack vital nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth. In addition to lacking adequate nutrition, junk food diets, especially when high in sugar can create an inflammatory environment in the body. Inflammatory conditions often lead to hair loss.

As teens begin asserting their independence they often become attracted to popular diets such as vegetarian, vegan, raw food etc.  These diets can be very healthy as long as meals are carefully planned. Inexperienced teens could create a nutritional imbalance when trying new diets.

Acne Medications

Powerful acne medications are often prescribed to teens. Although they are very effective for clearing up skin, they may have adverse effects on hair. Certain acne medications   reduce the size of the sebaceous gland to reduce sebum production.  Without adequate sebum, hair may become dry, fragile, weak--and more likely to fall out. Some acne medicines cause a biotin deficiency and an overabundance of vitamin A. Both of these conditions are known to cause hair loss.

Other Medications

Over the years it has become more common for adolescents and teens to be medicated for various reasons. Starting or stopping any medication can cause hair loss even if it is not listed as a symptom. Certain stimulants used for attention disorders, and certain medications used for psychological purposes are known to cause hair loss.

Vaccinations

The number of vaccinations children receive has dramatically increased over the years.  There have been reported cases linking hair loss to vaccinations. Most reported cases involve female patients. Reported cases include hepatitis B vaccination, Gardasil vaccination, and even the flu shot. Hair loss associated with vaccinations generally begins one to three months later.

Illness

Any illness, especially when accompanied by high fever or viral or bacterial infection can cause telogen effluvium. When such an illness is the cause, normal growth usually resumes once the body recovers.

Stress

Teens today are faced with an incredible amount of stress and pressure. Although they may not express it, on some level they all feel it. Severe, long lasting stress--especially when it is internalized can cause physiological changes leading to hair loss.

Changes

Many teens exhibit hair loss symptoms after a major change that they may have trouble adjusting to such as going away to college, or the divorce of one’s parents.

Allergens

Exposures to toxins, pollutants, pesticides or other allergens can cause inflammation and other physiological changes that may cause hair loss.

Trauma

A physical or emotional trauma can cause a shock to the system that will disrupt the hair growth cycle, causing hair loss. This can include accident, death of loved one, physical or mental abuse, surgery, etc.

Medical Conditions

Telogen effluvium can be a symptom of many medical conditions including anemia, diabetes, candidiasis albicans and any thyroid condition.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is another type of hair loss which can affect teens. Alopecia areata is an auto-immune condition which causes the hair to fall out in patches. More severe forms of alopecia areata can also affect teens.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder which causes a person to pull out their own hair. A teen with this condition often feels too ashamed to admit to the behavior. Bare patches that are scraggly and uneven could indicate trichotillomania.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is caused by sustained pressure on the follicles. Cheerleaders and dance team members are often required to wear their hair in tightly pulled styles. The sustained traction from these hairstyles can loosen the hair from its follicular roots. Prolonged traction can cause follicle damage.
Over processing

It has become much more common for adolescents and teens to use bleach, dyes and other harsh chemicals on a continual basis. Daily use of gels, sprays and heat create an unhealthy environment on the scalp and hair. Allergic reactions from these chemicals can cause dermatitis and other undesirable scalp condition which could lead to hair loss. The damaging effects can cause hair to become brittle and weak. In this fragile state, thinning due to breakage is likely to occur.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Although the prevalence of androgenetic alopecia increases with age, women who are predisposed may begin exhibiting signs as early as the teenage years. Androgenetic alopecia causes certain follicles to shrink resulting in thinner, weaker, shorter growing hairs.

Fortunately, most cases of teenage hair loss can be reversed or improved. Custom blended essential oil scalp treatments for teens provide a safe and effective natural hair loss solution that can have a profound effect on teenage hair loss conditions.

Related Articles
Why the Increase in Teenage Hair Loss?
How to Handle Teenage Hair Loss

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