It’s a common misconception that only older men lose their hair, but going bald can actually occur from any age. 16% of men between 18 and 29 have experienced hair loss, so balding in your twenties isn’t all that rare. Here’s everything you need to know about how balding at 20 happens, why it happens, and what you can do about it.
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What causes hair loss at a young age?
Male Pattern Hair Loss
All male pattern hair loss or androgentic alopecia is caused by a hormone called DHT, short for Dihydrotestosterone. DHT forms when testosterone undergoes a conversion process. It causes hormonal hair loss by shrinking the follicles and reducing their ability to support hair growth and maintenance until eventually, no follicles can produce or sustain a strand of hair.
All men have DHT in their bodies, but some men are more genetically inclined to lose their hair because of it. That is why some men go bald, and some reach old age with a full head of hair. The same is true for the various ages at which men start to lose their hair. Some men are genetically predisposed to lose their hair at a young age, while others are only affected by DHT later on in life.
A 2011 study found that men with early-onset male pattern hair loss have insulin resistance – another hormonal condition that affects the way your body can break down and use sugar. It is unclear whether insulin resistance causes male pattern baldness and further research is needed to fully understand the connection.
While insulin resistance is largely caused by a sedentary lifestyle and a diet high in refined foods, a person’s genetics play a significant role in how easy or how difficult it is for them to develop insulin resistance in the first place.
Alopecia Areata is hair loss triggered by an autoimmune response. It can affect both men and women at any age, and starts in childhood in about 50% of cases. Alopecia Areata is triggered by many things and as you may have guessed, genetics play a heavy role.
In some cases, however, balding can be an indicator for other things. For example, traumatic events like certain diseases and medical treatments, or the loss of a loved one, can cause short-term hair loss for people of every age.
Ongoing stress from work, finances, or family life can also cause hair loss.
It’s important to know that stress-induced hair loss will always go away, and your hair will regenerate, so if you have been losing your hair for longer than a few months, stress is probably not the cause.
For solutions for stress-related hair loss, it's here.
Your lifestyle impacts your health, and the same is true for hair health. Ensuring an active lifestyle and a healthy, nutritious diet is vital for optimal hair retention. Even if you are genetically predisposed to balding, you should prioritise a healthy way of living. For best results, avoid smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, certain fitness enhancers, and excessive consumption of junk food. Additionally, sleep also plays a factor.
Multiple factors can lead to hair loss in your twenties, but a significant portion of balding young men is due to male pattern balding. In short, you have the genetic lottery to thank for balding at 20.
Is it normal to lose hair in your twenties?
You may think that going bald in your twenties is quite abnormal and strange, but it’s actually fairly common. It’s a myth that only older men go bald, and many men start losing their hair due to male pattern baldness as young as their teenage years. And, as discussed above, people of all ages can lose their hair as the result of a number of factors like stress or other conditions like Alopecia Areata.
What should I look out for?
If you are concerned about losing your hair in your twenties, there are things you can look out for that are early balding signs.
Male pattern baldness at every age starts with the thinning and receding of the hairline, particularly at the temples. Gradually, these changes form an M-shaped hairline, and ultimately lead to total baldness.
As soon as you notice hair thinning at the front of your scalp, you should seek treatment. That is the first and earliest identifier of male pattern hair loss, and it’s your que to get help. Specialised hair care products are one of the best ways to start preventing further hair loss, and medical treatments like topical solutions are also highly effective.
If you notice your hair thinning, it’s important that you seek treatment as early as possible, as that will give you the best prognosis and it will ensure that treatment will be most effective at preventing further balding. The sooner you seek out treatment, the more effective the treatment will be, and the better your chances are of slowing or even reversing the hair loss process.
How can I prevent going bald in my twenties?
Now that you know the various causes of balding at 20, here’s what you can do about it.
Seek treatment urgently
As discussed above, early intervention is key in securing the longevity of your hair. The sooner you intervene and seek treatment, the more likely it is that treatment will work, and the higher the chance of effective treatment.
Include hair-growth products in your hair care regime
Part of slowing and stopping male pattern baldness in your twenties is incorporating high-quality hair-growth products in your regular hair care routine.
Specially formulated hair growth serum can change the game with professionally curated ingredients that stimulate hair growth and aid hair loss recovery.
Incorporating conditioner designed to aid recovery of damaged hair strands and shampoo made to strengthen hair is another important addition to your hair care regimen if you want to retain your hair, encourage growth, and encourage strength in every strand.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
As discussed above, your lifestyle heavily affects your hair health, and staying away from junk foods, cigarettes, alcohol, and other substances will ensure the best chances of retaining your hair. Hair products and medications are obviously good at preventing and slowing hair loss, but a healthy and holistic lifestyle is also key and will enable the medications or treatments to work optimally.
There are many reasons a person in their twenties may start balding, and most of it is down to genetics. The good news is, balding at 20 isn’t a death sentence for your scalp, but targeted hair products, medication, and a healthy lifestyle provide a huge window for prevention and recovery.