Hair loss can be a distressing thing for anyone to go through.
Whether you’re male or female; have long or short hair; curly or straight, our hair can feel like a defining feature and part of our personality. To find it thinning or receding can be hard to get used to.
It can be especially difficult if you’re still quite young when it starts happening. And it’s more common than you might think.
A US study found that two-thirds of men will experience hair loss by the time they’re 35 years old. And for those who experience male pattern baldness, 25% will have hair loss by the time they’re 21.
But why does it happen?
You’ll hear plenty of theories about why hair loss occurs. But the simple truth is that the major cause of hair loss is genes.
We all have a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in our bodies. A gene that gets passed down from your family can react with the DHT and cause hair follicles to shrink and the hair itself to get smaller and thinner. Ultimately, the hair will just stop growing altogether.
Men have much higher levels of DHT than women in their bodies so baldness and hair loss is more common. But the same thing can happen to women as well.
So the best indicator of whether your hair will thin in your mid-20s is to look at your parents. The likelihood is that you will follow a similar pattern to them in terms of when and how your hair might recede.
And by the way, the well-worn myth about baldness coming from your mother’s father is just that – a myth. The gene can be passed down from either side of the family.
‘Smoking causes hair loss.’ ‘A bad diet can make you bald.’ ‘Don’t get stressed or your hair will fall out.’
There are a wealth of theories out there and all sorts of articles online about what changes you can make to prevent – or even reverse – hair loss. Our advice is not to go down that rabbit hole.
It is true that smoking is bad for your hair and can cause damage. It is also true that a bad diet with no exercise, or extreme stress will have a negative effect on your hair – just as it will to your skin or your nails. So to give yourself the best chance of healthy hair, eating well, regular exercise and avoiding smoking will all help.
But these are not the defining factors – genetics are what counts here.
Hair loss in young women
It’s a similar story for young women as it is for young men experiencing hair loss in their mid-20s. It mostly comes down to a gene from the family reacting to DHT in the body.
There are a couple of other caveats. Young women are more likely than men to experience temporary hair loss because of hormonal fluctuations. Contraceptive pills and pregnancy both strongly affect hormone levels and those can be reasons for temporary hair loss.
One other difference between hair loss in men and women is the way in which it might occur. Hair loss in women tends to be spread more evenly across the head rather than in specific places – like the temples or the crown, for example. For women it’s more often a general thinning across the head.
What to do
If you’re in your mid-20s and you’re experiencing hair loss then it’s worth considering the lifestyle aspects first.
Check your diet and speak to a dietician if necessary. There are food tracking apps that can monitor what you’re eating and let you know if you’re lacking specific nutrients that could be contributing to your hair receding – a lack of protein, for example – by weakening your hair follicles.
But the next step is to talk to a specialist. At Wimpole, we have a team of experts and trichologists that can help you understand what’s happening and what to do next.
Our initial assessment is always free and will give you the complete picture about your options.
You can book your free consultation here.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
Book a consultation
Simply fill in your details in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.