Our confidence and self-esteem are often deeply entwined with our personal appearance. This is true for all of us and provides an important motive for carefully monitoring and attending to our health. However, teenage girls in particular often find that hair loss can be a particularly emotionally devastating experience. Hair loss, therefore, at such a critical and formative period of life should be handled promptly and with the utmost seriousness.
It is important to understand that a certain amount of hair loss is entirely natural. It is normal and healthy to shed between 50 to 100 strands per day as your hair goes through an ongoing cycle of growth and rest. New hairs grow back in the same follicle replacing and renewing older hair which are lost.
Dramatic hair loss, while uncommon in the teenage years, can happen.
There are several potential causes that may underlie excessive hair loss in teenage girls. Here at Modena Hair Institute our specialists are well prepared to provide you or your loved ones with a variety of personalized hair loss treatments. After carefully considering the causes of the problem we will be sure to provide an individually tailored course of therapy addressing your specific needs.
Thankfully, hair loss in teens is usually temporary and the hair can be expected to grow back once the underlying causes are addressed. However, in cases of serious hair loss, patients may suffer from thinning, bald patches and clumps of hair falling out; an undoubtedly distressing and uncomfortable experience for the young.
Let’s take a moment to discuss some of the most common causes of hair loss in teenage girls.
Vitamin deficiencies can be particularly detrimental to one’s health. If our bodies lack the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to feed and restore our cells hair loss and related complications are likely to occur. Some of the most important vitamins for maintaining healthy hair are B1, B2, C and Iron; a teenager deficient in one or more of these vitamins has an increased likelihood of suffering from hair loss.
The teenage years are a time of change. Puberty in particular is accompanied by hormonal fluctuations. Since the operation of hair follicles is regulated by hormones such fluctuations may affect hair growth. While any hormonal imbalance can be damaging an imbalance of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is particularly related to hair loss. However, the good news is that, with proper treatment, hair should begin to grow again once the hormones are balanced out.
If a hormone imbalance has been ruled out it is important to understand that a patient’s hair loss may signal a border medical issue. In particular, diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, and polycystic ovary syndrome can affect the body’s natural hair production cycle. Teenagers with such conditions are at a much higher risk of developing hair loss. Moreover, high fevers, the recovery period following surgery and PTSD have all been noted to occasionally cause temporary, but significant, hair loss.
Conversely, certain prescription medications used to treat acne, thyroid disorders, bipolar disorder, ADHD and also birth control pills have the potential, in certain cases, to cause hair loss.
Chemotherapy drugs are well known to often carry this unfortunate side effect. Consult with your physician before changing any medications if you feel they might be related to your hair loss or that of your child.
Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia as well as extreme or poorly thought out diets can cause significant hair loss. Good nutrition is vital to hair health and the body, deprived of protein, vitamins, and minerals and other important nutrients, will struggle to support and sustain proper hair growth.
Another unfortunate cause of hair loss is the psychological condition of trichotillomania involves a compulsion to pull out one’s own hair. Trichotillomania often leaves sufferers with large bald patches; seeking help from a medical professional is imperative for those struggling with this condition.
Another common cause of loss is often easy to overlook. Styling, straightening, braiding and coloring are fun of course, but all of us must be careful not to damage our hair in the process.
Excessive heat from blow dryers and hot irons as well as the harsh chemical products involved in dying, bleaching, perming and straightening hair can all cause serious damage. Even certain hairstyles like braids and tight ponytails can contribute to hair loss. Excessive force and tension applied to the hair follicles can result in traction alopecia, a serious condition which may cause permanent damage.
Thankfully, there are many easy ways in which teenage girls can prevent or combat hair loss.
Some important guidelines to keep in mind are:
- Eating a nutrient rich diet high in protein and essential vitamins, to avoid extreme diets and unscientific dieting trends and to stay hydrated.
- Limit the use of harsh chemical hair styling products and dyes. Put the blow dryer away, let your hair air dry instead; brush your hair gently and avoid styling it when wet.
- Have yourself checked for vitamin deficiencies and hormone imbalances, do your best to reduce stress and give yourself frequent, but gentle, scalp massages.
Hair loss in teenage girls can have a profound impact on their self-image and general well being. If you or your loved ones experience hair loss, please contact us for a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.