Starting to bald at twenty years old is extremely worrisome to experience. Most people associate balding with getting older, but even children can start balding due to medical conditions like alopecia areata and hyperthyroidism.
These types of balding can affect both men and women and are sometimes quite progressed by the time you reach twenty. So, though you may start balding at twenty, it is also possible that you are nearly half bald by this age.
Causes Of Balding At Twenty
There are many reasons you could be balding at twenty. Each cause affects your hair differently, resulting in different signs of balding you need to watch for. So, let’s examine some of the main causes of hair loss for twenty-year-olds. Some of these are:
- Pattern baldness
- Medical conditions
- Imbalanced hormones
- Damaged follicles
If you are struggling to tell if your hair is thinning or not, pay attention to your scalp and sunburn. If your hair is the same length it was last summer, and you are spending the same amount of time in the sun, yet your scalp feels more sunburned this year than it did last year, then your hair is probably a little thinner, even if you can’t really see it.
The American Academy Of Dermatology says that male pattern baldness can start in your late teens or early twenties. This hair loss condition is one that tends to progress slowly over years, sometimes even decades. However, severe cases of pattern baldness can cause hair loss to happen quickly.
The first sign of pattern baldness is a receding hairline, usually at the corners of your forehead. You may also notice your hair isn’t as thick on the crown of your head.
The hairs in these two places may get thinner or simply not grow back in at all. As this only happens a few at a time, you probably won’t notice it at first, even if you are looking for it.
For this reason, paying attention to your hairline is vital to avoid missing any changes to it. If you are likely to have male pattern baldness, take regular pictures of your hairline from different angles. This will let you catch this sign as early as possible.
Stress can have many causes and can have different effects on your hair depending on what the cause of your stress is. For now, we’ll divide it into two types. The most common type of stress-related hair loss is the one that involves a long period of stress.
When this type of stress is bad enough to affect your hair, you will usually notice increased hair shedding all over your scalp. This happens a few weeks to a few months after the stressful period.
The other type of stress that can cause hair loss is when you are in a short but highly stressful situation. Two examples would be being in a bank that is being robbed or nearly being kidnapped. Again, this will cause hair loss some time after the event.
However, in this case, your hair is more likely to come out in coin-sized patches in one or more places over your scalp. You may have general hair thinning on top of this.
A few medical conditions can cause balding, both directly and indirectly. Alopecia areata, for example, directly affects your hair growth, as it is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks your hair follicles.
Ringworm, as well as various bacteria and funguses, infect your scalp and cause balding in that area no matter what age you are. Signs of these often include itching and redness of your scalp in the infected area.
An antibiotic treatment is needed for these. If not taken soon enough, the follicles in that area may be permanently damaged, causing permanent balding.
Hypothyroidism affects your hair growth indirectly. It harms your thyroid, which in turn affects your hormones, and that is what causes your hair loss.
Also, medical conditions can require certain treatments, and the treatment can have the side effect of causing hair loss. Cancer requiring chemotherapy is a good example of this, but many blood pressure medications negatively affect hair growth as well.
Your hormones can be unbalanced at any age and for different reasons. According to Dr. Donna Sergi, a Licensed Nutrition Response Practitioner, the hormones that are directly involved with hair growth include:
- Thyroid gland hormones
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)
- Galanin (GAL)
Both stress and hypothyroidism affect your hormones, as already mentioned, but so do birth control pills, pregnancy, hormone therapy, and other things. With pregnancy, your hormones usually have to readjust after the baby is born, which is why postpartum hair loss is fairly common.
Women are slightly more likely to have hair loss due to hormones than men. This makes sense considering only women have pregnancies etc.; they have more reasons why their hormones could be out of balance.
Damage of any kind to your follicles causes you to lose hair. Sometimes damage is unavoidable, such as if you need to have surgery on your scalp. Working in an environment with chemicals can also damage your hair follicles over time.
Speaking of chemicals, overuse of hair products, many of which tend to have harmful chemicals in them, will damage your follicles. If you started using hair products at a young age, you may start experiencing hair loss due to this by the time you are twenty.
There is also the chance that you are simply sensitive to chemicals to such a degree that you don’t see any signs it bothers your scalp, and yet it has just enough of an effect on you that it causes hair loss over time.
In either case, it is likely that the worst of the hair loss will occur wherever it is that you tend to use the largest amount of hair products.
Another type of damage comes when your hair is pulled out. This can be due to hairstyles that are too tight or something you do yourself due to a mental condition. Scratching your head too much will cause damage as well. In these cases, it should be easy to match up what is causing the damage to your hair loss.
Those are not the only reasons why you may be seeing signs of balding at twenty years old. Nutritional deficiencies can cause general hair thinning across your head.
Then, there are also times when a dermatologist won’t be able to tell you why your hair is falling out. Even with all we know about hair growth, there are still things we don’t know, after all. So, you may have a balding head for none of the reasons on this list.
If you have one of these signs of balding at twenty, it can be devastating to your self-esteem and can make you self-conscious about how you look. Fortunately, most things that can cause you to bald at twenty are ones that are manageable.
For example, if you catch male pattern baldness early enough, you usually have enough time to find a treatment that works without having to go bald.
In short, the earlier you catch it, the better your chance of keeping your hair. So, start watching for the first signs of hair loss when you are twenty, or even younger, so that you can keep your hair thick and healthy.