Balding in Your 20s: Possible Causes and Proven Solutions

Ismail Yusibov
Ismail Yusibov is the founder and content writer of the AlopeciaTips.

 Fact checked by Jessica Anderson

Written by Ismail Yusibov | Reviewed by Dr. Michael Carter


This article is about balding in your 20s.

Hair loss can happen to both men and women, even as early as age 15. Losing 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal, but if it goes over 150 hairs at age 20, you might be facing baldness. It’s important to keep an eye on your hair loss to understand if there’s a concern.


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Losing hair in your 20s is normal. But if you’re losing more than 150 hairs a day, it’s worth figuring out why. It could be because of things like not getting enough vitamins, feeling stressed, or using alcohol. Sometimes, it’s just in your genes – male pattern baldness is a thing. Check it out if it’s bothering you.

Balding in your 20s: Is it normal?

Losing hair when you’re young is pretty common. It’s a regular part of the hair growth cycle. But sometimes, it can become a bit much.

You might start noticing hair on your brush, in the shower, on your pillow, or even your desk. If it’s been happening for a while, you might also see your hairline moving backward, especially if you’re in your 20s. That can be stressful.

Is it normal to lose hair in your 20s? Yeah, for the most part. Lots of guys lose their hair – like, up to 70 percent of them at some point.

A study found that 16 percent of guys aged 18 to 29 had “moderate to severe hair loss.” And as you get older, those numbers go up. About 53 percent of guys between 40 and 49 deal with hair loss.

Figuring out why you’re losing hair is key to fixing it early. Usually, it’s because of things like stress, not-so-great eating habits, messed-up sleep, or missing some vitamins. But sometimes, it’s genetic (like your family’s hair history) or a condition called alopecia.

This article has all the info you need about hair loss in your 20s – what’s normal, what’s not, early signs, reasons, and how to handle it.

What percentage of men goes bald at 20s?

Let’s help you understand how common the problem actually is with a few statistics:

  • In a recent study at Tsinghua University in Beijing, almost 60% of 4,000 students reported significant hair loss.
  • The NHS notes that 25% of men with male pattern baldness (MPB) start losing hair before the age of 20-21, affecting about 50% of men by the age of 50.
  • Alopecia Areata impacts people aged 15 to 29, with an average incidence of 2 in 1,000 individuals in the UK.
  • Research reveals that nearly 30% of men experience some degree of hair loss before turning 30.

Losing hair when you’re in your 20s might seem unexpected, but it’s not that uncommon. Stats show it can kick in as early as 15. Hair loss often begins during your teens and can stick around. Surprisingly, around 80% of men face hair loss at some time in their lives.

Signs and stages of early hair loss

Losing more than 150 hairs a day means you might be dealing with hair loss. Signs like a receding hairline and thinning hair suggest baldness could be happening. Pay attention to these symptoms—they could be the first signals of a hair loss issue.

Losing hair when you’re young happens in stages. If you’re in your 20s, your hair loss typically goes through these stages:

  • Hair thinning: Hair thinning often marks the beginning of hair loss. It typically starts at the top of the head and around the temples, making these areas appear finer. This gradual process may or may not be a sign of Male Pattern Baldness.
  • Moderate hair loss: Moderate hair loss indicates a more widespread thinning and a receding hairline. Recognizing these signs suggests that it’s time to consider intervention to address the issue.
  • Advanced hair loss: If left untreated, moderate hair loss can progress to severe hair loss, leading to complete baldness. This advanced stage involves excessive thinning, and it’s important to take action to prevent further hair loss.

It’s worth noting that these stages may not always follow a set pattern. Sudden and severe hair loss can also occur unexpectedly. Understanding these developments is key to managing and addressing hair loss effectively.

Causes of hair loss in 20s

If you’re in your 20s and losing hair, it’s not just alopecia to blame. Various things can make your hair fall out, and figuring out what’s behind it takes time.

For many men, hormones, and genetics team up to cause hair loss. But sometimes, it’s about not getting enough nutrients, lacking vitamins, or dealing with physical issues.

To find out why you’re losing hair, you need a professional dermatologist to check you out. They’ll do blood tests, and skin tests, and give you a physical once-over.

Let’s talk about some factors that may be the cause of your hair loss.

Male pattern baldness

Losing hair in your 20s is often caused by male pattern baldness, where hair starts thinning or falling out. This happens because of hormones and genes, and it can begin early in life.

If people in your family have lost hair, you might be going through the same thing because of your family genes.

Male pattern baldness occurs when hair follicles get smaller, causing the hair to lack proper nourishment and eventually leading to the follicles disappearing.

Dealing with male pattern baldness can be a challenge, as it can’t be fully cured. Finasteride and Minoxidil, both approved by the FDA, can help slow down hair loss and promote growth. It’s important to note that once you stop using these treatments, hair loss may resume.

Stress and anxiety

Stress and hair loss go hand in hand. While stress doesn’t directly lead to male pattern baldness, it can still make your hair thin out.

Stress messes with the usual hair cycle, making your hair break and fall out. Sometimes, stress can even bring on temporary hair loss known as telogen effluvium, making existing hair loss worse. Luckily, telogen effluvium is temporary and goes away when the root cause is treated.

Stress doesn’t stop there; it can indirectly contribute to hair loss. Take trichotillomania, for example. It’s a condition where people compulsively pull out their own hair due to stress, making it thin out. Especially in the 20s, when life gets pretty overwhelming with academic pressure, career stress, or future worries, stress can naturally lead to hair loss. The key is managing stress to prevent both hair loss and behaviors like constant hair pulling.

Vitamin deficiency

Vitamins are vital for our hair and overall health. They help keep our hair follicles healthy and support hair growth. Here’s why they matter:

  • Maintaining growth: Vitamins keep the hair growth cycle on track.
  • Promoting new hair: They aid in making proteins for new hair.
  • Preventing issues: They stop hair breakage, thinning, and follicle shrinkage.
  • Protection: Antioxidant vitamins shield hair cells from damage.

Vitamins A, B, D, and E are especially good for hair growth. Getting these from your diet benefits your hair. However, if your diet lacks these vitamins, your hair can suffer.

Research suggests that taking vitamin D may help hair regrowth for those dealing with androgenic alopecia and telogen effluvium.

Not meeting your daily vitamin needs can lead to vitamin deficiency, harming your hair. Vitamin D and B deficiency directly causes hair loss, while A, C, and E deficiencies weaken your hair. So, a balanced diet is key for healthy hair.

Medication use and side effects

Medications play a crucial role in managing health issues, but it’s important to be aware that they can come with side effects. One common side effect is hair-related problems such as loss, fading, or breakage.

Certain types of medications are more likely to cause hair issues, including:

  • Medicines with vitamin A
  • Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Steroids
  • Medications for cancer treatment
  • Thyroid drugs
  • Weight loss medications
  • Immune system-suppressing drugs

The good news is that once you stop using the medication responsible for hair problems, the hair loss usually stops. It’s essential to be mindful of these potential effects when considering or using medications.

Weight loss

Losing a lot of weight quickly can lead to hair loss. Whether it’s from crash diets, weight loss surgery, or other rapid methods, the body gets stressed out, and that stress can cause what’s called telogen effluvium.

The reason for losing hair after shedding too many pounds is mainly due to not getting enough nutrients and hormones changing in the body.

Telogen effluvium, linked to sudden weight loss, kicks in about 3-4 months after you’ve dropped those pounds.

A big factor in extreme weight loss is not getting sufficient protein. Hair needs amino acids, the building blocks of protein, to grow. Without enough protein, your body can’t make keratin, the main structural protein for hair, and that might lead to hair loss.

When your body lacks protein, it focuses on essential tasks like fixing tissues, digestion, maintaining pH and water balance, and making hormones. Hair growth isn’t a top priority because it’s not critical for survival.

After weight loss surgery, hair loss might happen due to quick weight reduction. A major reason is that the stomach’s role in absorbing vitamin B12 is restricted, leading to a deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency directly causes hair loss. So, post-surgery, your doctor might suggest vitamin B12 supplements to prevent this.

Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol isn’t just bad for your overall health; it’s also bad for your hair. While it doesn’t directly cause baldness, it can contribute to hair falling out. Here’s why:

  • Nutrient shortage: Too much alcohol can mess with your body’s ability to absorb important nutrients like zinc, copper, and protein. These nutrients are essential for healthy hair, and their shortage can lead to hair loss.
  • Iron deficiency: Excessive alcohol use often results in nutrient deficiencies, making iron deficiency one of the most common nutritional shortages globally. Though the link between iron deficiency and hair loss isn’t entirely proven, many studies suggest a connection.
  • Zinc and copper absorption: Alcohol interferes with the absorption of zinc and copper, which can trigger alopecia. Low levels of copper are linked to hair loss and premature graying.
  • Protein absorption: Alcohol also hampers the absorption of protein from your food. This protein deficiency can contribute to hair loss.
  • Thyroid and hormones: Regular and excessive alcohol consumption can affect your thyroid and mess with hormone interactions responsible for regulating various body processes, including hair growth. Issues with the thyroid gland may lead to hair thinning and loss across the scalp.

So, if you want to keep your hair healthy, moderation with alcohol might be a good idea.

Smoking

Smoking harms your skin and makes you lose hair. Nicotine and other bad chemicals in cigarettes can mess up your skin. Breathing in smoke from others or smoking yourself can squeeze your blood vessels and mess up how blood moves around. When your hair doesn’t get enough oxygen, it shrinks and falls out.

A study checked if smoking makes you go bald. Turns out, there’s a big link between smoking and losing hair. The smoke probably messes with your hair and makes it fall out.

Medical conditions

Hair loss can be triggered by various illnesses. Conditions such as lupus, hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, hormone imbalances, alopecia areata, skin fungus, and infections are known culprits. These health issues can impact your hair, causing it to fall out.

How do you know if balding is temporary?

Not all hair loss means you’re going bald. It’s important to understand the difference between normal and worrisome hair loss so you can take action early.

If your hair is thinning and the thinning occurs all over your scalp, the causes of your hair loss are vitamin deficiency, telogen effluvium, nutritional deficiency, poor physical conditions, or something else.

But if your hair is mostly disappearing from your temples and your hairline is moving backward, that’s likely male pattern baldness.

When your hairline recedes, the hair roots go to sleep and eventually die. While you can’t cure this type of hair loss, you can slow it down and sometimes stop it. Taking action early is key to managing it.

Can your hair grow back on its own?

Your hair loss situation depends on what’s causing it.

For instance, if it’s due to low vitamins or nutrition, getting those levels back to normal can stop the loss and bring your hair back. This applies to medication side effects, alcohol use, and certain health conditions too.

But if it’s male pattern baldness, waiting won’t help – it’s time that might be better spent exploring other options.

Natural methods, vitamin supplements, lifestyle changes, and stress management won’t help treat male pattern baldness.

Minoxidil and Finasteride are the main treatments approved by the FDA for male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).

Hair transplantation offers a solution for those dealing with male pattern baldness, improving their physical appearance and boosting self-confidence. While it doesn’t cure baldness, it adds new hair follicles to your thinning scalp, enhancing your overall look positively.

Figuring out why you’re losing hair is key to finding out if it’ll grow back.

How to treat hair loss in your 20s

If you’re losing hair, it’s crucial to identify the root cause before deciding on a treatment.

Many young people opt for solutions like lotions, medications, serums, vitamin supplements, or lifestyle adjustments. However, the effectiveness of these approaches largely depends on whether they address the specific cause of your hair loss. Simply put, if your chosen treatment doesn’t align with the underlying issue, it might not yield the desired results.

So, take the time to understand the cause and make an informed decision when selecting a solution for your hair loss.

Here are some of my solutions to treat your hair loss.

  • Cut down on drinking for better health.
  • Manage stress through relaxation techniques.
  • Stay hydrated to support overall well-being.
  • Keep vitamin levels optimal with regular check-ups.
  • Prevent anemia by getting routine blood tests.
  • Use shampoos with biotin for healthier hair.
  • Include vitamin D (with K2), B complex, and vitamin C in your routine.
  • Treat your hair gently—avoid excessive wringing and hot water exposure.
  • Limit UV light exposure for better hair health.
  • Combat dandruff with anti-dandruff shampoos containing Biotin, vitamin A, D, and C.

Keep in mind that my advice will not work to solve male pattern baldness.

Ismail YusibovIsmail Yusibov is the founder and content writer of the AlopeciaTips.

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