What can a young man do about hair loss? This is a question our clinic has heard before from several distressed individuals. Unfortunately hair loss doesn’t have an age limit and symptoms of male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) can begin to manifest as early as the teenage years. It can certainly appear jarring and feel distressing when a young individual suffers from a condition commonly, but wrongly, associated with the elderly. College and workplace stress is often a contributing factor that leads to many young patients noticing the first signs of hair loss. However, it is important to note that while stress itself does not necessarily cause hair loss, it can activate and accelerate the underlying genetic factors which govern male pattern hair loss. Patients who suffer from thinning hair during the course of their college years are often quite eager to restore their hairline before entering the career world.
As psychologically distressing as hair loss can be at a young age the situation is by no means bleak. Young patients are often in their physical prime and as such make excellent candidates for hair transplant surgery. Young patients can expect to heal quickly and to grow thick, healthy and natural looking transplant hair with very little fuss or risk of complications. However, we must note here that young patients, and doctors, ought to approach hair transplant surgery in a somewhat different manner than is typical. It is essential to understand that androgenic alopecia is a progressive condition and that hair transplantation, by its nature, is a static solution. Hair transplant surgery can easily replace hair that has already been lost, but it does not prevent further hair loss in untreated regions of the scalp.
The secret to winning at chess is to try and think three, four, five, or even more, moves ahead of your opponent. For a variety of reasons hair transplant surgery in young patients must be approached with careful judgement and a certain sensibility of long-term strategic thinking- very much like a chess game. Consider that all patients have a finite amount of donor hair available for surgical harvesting; also that the results of a hair transplant are permanent. Therefore, a hairline designed for a 20 something must be done in such a way as to still appear natural when the patient reaches their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. A conservative approach to hairline recreation is therefore essential.
A low, flat hairline, characteristic of youth, may sound like a good idea for a young person in need of a hair transplant; however, such a hairline is unlikely to age well and may also call for the use of more grafts than is feasible to maintain. Having exhausted most of the available donor regions on the front of the scalp the patient will be left in the awkward situation of being unable to restore the middle and crown regions in the highly likely eventuality that such should become necessary. Considerations of this nature mandate that young patients and their consulting doctor make wise use of the donor area’s finite capacity.
Moreover, young patients should accept that multiple surgeries likely will be required to maintain a full head of hair over the course of a lifetime. This is not as daunting as it may seem at first. The initial procedure will likely be the largest while subsequent ‘touch up’ FUE procedures may be required later; also the results of a hair transplant are permanent and will provide excellent coverage for as long as further balding in untreated areas does not occur.
Regarding the subject of preventive hair loss medications like Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) which many young patients have used to treat their hair loss it must be stated that medications and surgery are not mutually exclusive. Many patients take medications before, during and after hair restoration surgery. Such an approach helps to slow the progression of hair loss and to maintain the integrity of actively thinning regions of the scalp. Remember, however, that the usefulness of medications is limited and that results vary widely from patient to patient. Also medications are unable to fully stop hair loss or to regrow previously lost hair, some medications also come with unpleasant side effects; surgery is the only 100% effective solution for restoring one’s scalp to it’s full and former glory.
For more information about restoring your hairline at any age or to discuss any questions you may have regarding our available procedures, be sure to contact our hair restoration center today. At Modena Hair Institute we pride ourselves on consistently providing our patients with the highest standard of custom hair restoration treatment available, directly tailored to their individual needs. Dr. Yazdan and his team of specialists are eagerly awaiting your visit or digital consultation. Contact us today!
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.