Losing hair can be difficult at any age, but it’s especially distressing if it happens when you’re young. So, if you’re going thin on top and you feel like this is robbing you of your youthful appearance, you might be wondering why exactly this is happening. Here, we take a look at the possible causes of this process, and examine effective treatment options.
It’s in your genes
There are plenty of myths surrounding hair loss. You might have heard that it’s caused by washing your hair too often, wearing hats or over-styling your tresses. In reality, the vast majority of cases are hereditary. Male pattern baldness affects approximately half of all men by the time they reach the age of 50, and it can strike at a much younger age. Nearly one in three men are noticeably losing their locks by the time they reach the age of 30 and, for some, this process can start in their teenage years. The male pattern baldness gene can be passed down from either the mother or father’s side of the family and the condition is characterised by a receding hairline and a thinning of tresses on top of the head.
It’s not just men who suffer thinning tresses either. Many women experience female pattern baldness. This condition, which is characterised by a general thinning of hair across the head, tends to be more noticeable in postmenopausal women, but it can affect younger women too. For example, if you have a hormonal imbalance, you may be more likely to experience this problem.
Taking action to stop female or male pattern baldness
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for either female or male pattern baldness. However, there are treatment options available. Men can take finasteride, which you may know under the brand name Propecia. A prescription-only oral hair loss treatment for men, you can find out more about it online or by speaking to your GP. Meanwhile, both men and women can use minoxidil. This is applied in lotion form directly to the scalp. It’s important to bear in mind that whether you’re using finasteride or minoxidil, it can take several months before you start to see positive results, but many people find their hair loss slows, stops or even reverses when they take these treatments.
Other possible causes
Although female and male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss, there are other potential triggers. For example, if you are noticing patches of baldness around your scalp or elsewhere on your body, you might have the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata. In most of these cases, hair grows back after a few months. Another condition to be aware of is telogen effluvium. This is characterised by a widespread thinning of tresses and it can be caused by a range of things, including extreme physical or emotional stress, illness, hormonal changes and crash dieting. Usually, people with this condition start to see hair regrowth within a period of around six months.
If you’re still not sure what’s causing your hair loss, it’s worth booking an appointment with your doctor to find out more.