How Common Is Teenage Hair Loss?

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Some things are expected as a teenage guy: You’ll get a zit at a bad time, there’ll be some petty school drama, your parents will embarrass you or you’ll embarrass yourself in front of your crush. 

But you may not be prepared to deal with hair loss in your teens. 

Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is most common in men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s (and it affects up to half of men by age 50). But hair loss can actually start in your teens, whether it’s androgenetic alopecia or something else.

Below, we’ll talk about balding in teenagers and its potential causes — and because we’d never leave you hanging, we’ll also dive into the best treatments for hair loss in teenage guys.

How Common Is Teenage Hair Loss?

You may feel like you’re the only one noticing hair loss in your teens or seeing a receding hairline at 18, but teenage hair loss isn’t all that uncommon. Plenty of people Google “balding at 17” and “why am I losing hair at 14?”

An estimated 16 percent of males aged 15 to 17 have male pattern baldness. Genetics plays a starring role in the development of male androgenetic alopecia.

Potential Causes of Hair Loss In Teens

There are several causes of hair loss in men under 25 (including teens). Potential causes of hair loss for the 20-and-under set include:

  • Male androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness)

  • Alopecia areata

  • Telogen effluvium

  • Certain illnesses and medical conditions

  • Certain medications

  • Lifestyle and environmental factors

  • Genetics

(RelatedDo Hair Growth Products Work?)

Adolescent Androgenetic Alopecia

Pediatric or adolescent androgenetic alopecia could cause balding in your teens. This is an underrecognized medical disorder, meaning there isn’t a ton of research on the topic.

As noted, androgenetic alopecia is male pattern baldness. As with the androgenetic alopecia adult men get, a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) alters the hair growth cycle with this form of hair loss.

DHT is cool during puberty — it’s responsible for deepening your voice and growing facial and body hair. But after puberty, the hormone may mess with your hair follicles, causing them to shrink (known as miniaturization).

When the follicle diameters are smaller, individual hair strands are smaller, too, so hair looks thinner, patchy and may even fall out.

If every man has DHT, why doesn’t every man go bald? Great question. Your genetics determine how your hair follicles respond to DHT. If you’re predisposed to hair loss (thanks, Dad), you may see signs of baldness in your teenage years.

Some men aren’t as sensitive to the effects of DHT and will probably not lose their hair — at least not from androgenetic alopecia.

Alopecia Areata

Another possible reason for hair loss in a teenage male is called alopecia areata. It’s an autoimmune disease rather than a genetic factor but may cause hair loss that looks similar to androgenetic alopecia.

This condition causes patchy hair loss, often creating a visible bald spot or diffuse thinning all over the head.

Alopecia areata is somewhat common in children and teenagers (most people get it in their teens, 20s or 30s) and might be the result of an immune reaction to one’s own hair.

Telogen Effluvium

It’s normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs a day (no one’s asking you to go around counting how many strands you’re losing, unless you’re into that kind of thing).

When the body sheds significantly more hair every day (you’ll know by the amount of hair coming out in the shower or when you brush), it’s considered excessive hair shedding. The medical term for this condition is telogen effluvium.

“Telogen” refers to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, and “effluvium” translates to “flowing out.” So hair that’s at rest begins to “flow out” — which is to say, it sheds everywhere, clings to your shirt and clogs your shower drain.

Normal, fleeting stressors — like getting a bad grade on a test or a weird DM — aren’t going to cause your hair to fall out. But stress hair loss is a thing. And it can lead to telogen effluvium.

Excessive hair shedding is common among people who’ve recently experienced::

  • Weight loss of 20 pounds or more

  • Childbirth

  • Illness with a high fever

  • Surgery

  • Chronic stress from life circumstances

One of the main differences between telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia is that the former is usually reversible with time and stress management.

Nutritional Deficiencies

“You are what you eat” is a bit of a stretch. But in a sense, your hair comprises what you eat.

Growing hair is like a workout for your scalp — hair follicle cells are the most rapidly dividing cells in the body, so it takes lots of energy to produce new hair. Your hair mostly consists of a protein known as keratin, so getting enough protein is vital for hair growth.

There are also vitamin deficiencies that cause hair loss. Though most people get enough of these nutrients through a balanced diet, you could see hair loss if you’re severely lacking:

  • Iron

  • Ferritin

  • Niacin

  • Zinc

  • Fatty acids

  • Selenium

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin B

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin E

  • Folic acid

  • Amino acids

  • Biotin

Before you start chugging milk and eating spinach by the fistful, it’s best to see a healthcare provider. They can do a blood test to help isolate exactly which nutrient you’re not getting enough of — you don’t want to swing too far in the other direction and end up consuming too much of a certain vitamin or mineral.

Health Conditions

Some medical conditions may cause hair loss. But in most cases, the hair loss can be reversed once the underlying cause is addressed.

Illnesses that cause hair loss include:

  • Autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata

  • Thyroid disease (both hypo and hyperthyroidism)

  • Scalp fungus (like ringworm) or any other fungal infection on the scalp

  • Skin disorders that cause excessive scratching (like psoriasis of the scalp)

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

Hormonal issues can also play a role in hair loss. Then there’s trichotillomania, a mental disorder characterized by the frequent urge to pull hair from the scalp.

Medications

Certain medications can cause hair loss, including:

  • Antidepressants (like Prozac or Zoloft)

  • Anticoagulants (like heparin and warfarin)

  • Beta-blockers (like propranolol and Tenormin)

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (like Anaprox and Clinoril)

  • Certain thyroid drugs

  • Some ulcer drugs (like Pepcid)

If you’re seeing signs of balding at 16 or 17 and recently started a new medication, speak to your healthcare provider about whether hair loss is a potential side effect of the drug.

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Perhaps unsurprisingly, lifestyle and environmental factors can contribute to damaged hair and potentially cause hair loss over time. These include:

  • Drying hair care products (like those containing alcohol or sulfates)

  • Smoking

  • Free radical damage

Tight hairstyles like braids or ponytails can cause a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia.

How to Tell If You Have Hair Loss In Your Teens

So your friend made a crack about your hair, or you noticed your hairline is receding in that selfie you took. Here are some telltale signs you might have hair loss in your teens:

  • A change in hairline 

  • Noticeable thinning

  • Excessive hair loss after showering or brushing

  • Photographic evidence of less hair over time

  • Hair takes longer than usual to grow

  • Your barber or hair stylist mentions something

How to Stop Hair Loss In Teenage Guys

The good news is if you’re noticing hair loss in your teens, you’ve caught it early. It’s much harder to grow back hair you’ve lost than it is to hold on to the hair you have. Here’s how to slow or stop hair loss in teenage guys.

Talk to a Healthcare Professional

When you’re experiencing hair loss in your teens, the first step is to seek an expert opinion from a healthcare provider. It’s really hard to treat hair loss without understanding what’s causing it, and a hair loss doctor (or dermatologist) will help you isolate the specific cause.

Consider Hair Loss Treatments

A few research-backed hair loss treatments are available to help with hair regrowth.

Finasteride

Finasteride (generic for Propecia) is a prescription medication for treating male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT.

By preventing your body from converting testosterone into DHT, finasteride lowers DHT levels in your body and stops much of the DHT-related hair follicle damage that causes hair loss.

For hair loss, finasteride is available as a 1-milligram tablet. Research shows it can slow down and stop hair loss caused by male pattern baldness. Some studies have even found that it can stimulate new hair growth in areas of the scalp affected by hair loss.

We offer finasteride online for men aged 18 and older (it’s currently only FDA-approved for men 18 and up). You can get a prescription following a virtual consultation with a healthcare provider.

(RelatedHow to Get Finasteride: Is It Over the Counter?)

Minoxidil

Minoxidil (generic for Rogaine) is a topical medication for treating hair loss. It comes as a liquid or foam and is applied directly to areas of your scalp affected by male pattern baldness.

Unlike finasteride, minoxidil doesn’t reduce DHT levels. It increases blood flow to the scalp and stimulates hair follicles to transition to and stay in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle. Several studies have shown that minoxidil helps improve hair growth.

Minoxidil is available without a prescription (aka over-the-counter). We offer minoxidil foam and minoxidil liquid solution online. Note that the medication is only FDA-approved for those 18 and older, mostly because there hasn’t been research on younger folks.

Finasteride and Minoxidil Together

Indecisive? You don’t have to choose between finasteride and minoxidil. We sell a topical finasteride & minoxidil spray that combines the two ingredients — and it seems to be more effective than using either solo.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that using oral finasteride and topical minoxidil together was more efficacious and just as safe as using one or the other on its own. Plus, it’s a fine mist that dries quickly, so it won’t get in the way of styling your hair.

Treat Underlying Health Conditions 

Hair loss is often a symptom of a health condition rather than a condition itself. Working with a healthcare provider to treat any of the health conditions that cause hair loss (we mentioned these earlier) will generally resolve the problem — in most cases, regrowth is very possible, though it may take time.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

There are some simple ways to manage anxiety and depression that don’t involve spending a bunch of money on a meditation retreat or a 20-pack of yoga classes (those sound great, though).

Online therapy is a great place to start if you don’t have a ton of time (or reliable transport) and you’re looking for help managing chronic stress. You could also try calming breath techniques or take a free yoga or meditation class online.

Improve Your Hair Care Routine

Getting thicker hair can be as simple as switching up your shower products or popping a gummy (not that kind). Here are a few things you can do to improve your hair care routine.

  • Take biotin. Biotin could help with hair growth, but supplementing with this B vitamin is most effective for people with a true deficiency, which is rare. Our biotin gummies contain more than just biotin — they’re chock-full of folic acid and other nutrients.

  • Use volumizing shampoo. Whether you choose to take hair loss medication or not, volumizing shampoo and volumizing conditioner will have your hair looking thicker and fuller at the roots. It’s the ultimate fake-it-til-you-make-it solution. Plus, ours smells great (toot-toot).

  • Try dandruff shampoo. Our dandruff detox shampoo contains a blend of pyrithione zinc 1% and salicylic acid. It can make your hair look flake-free and clean at the root. Plus, a healthy scalp is essential for growing healthy hair.

  • Consider saw palmetto products. A thickening shampoo with saw palmetto helps if your teenage hair loss is a result of male androgenetic alopecia (the most common form of hair loss in men). Saw palmetto is a plant extract that works like finasteride (so it can block DHT to some degree). But unlike finasteride, you don’t have to be 18 to use it.

Coping With Hair Loss in Your Teens

It’s never a good time to experience hair loss, but hair loss in your teens can be especially disorienting. But luckily, there are plenty of other hair products and treatment options that can slow hair loss and help you hold on to the hair you have.

Here’s what to remember:

The earlier you notice you’re losing hair, the sooner you can take action to protect your hair and prevent things from getting worse. We’re not trying to put a shine on hair loss in your teens, but you have plenty of time to take action.

Hair loss treatments for a balding teenager range from prescriptions like finasteride and minoxidil (for those over 18) to easy lifestyle tweaks and volumizing hair care products.

By doing your research (precisely what you’re doing now, class pet) and working with a dermatologist, you’ll find the right medications and hair care products to stop your hair loss and maintain your hair as you enter your 20s, 30s and beyond.

This article originally appeared on Hims.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

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You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.

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Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.


(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

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If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.

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Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.

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Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.

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Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)

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These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

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Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

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Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.

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There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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