Losing your hair is something you might expect to happen in old age. But research shows a different reality: some Millennials are dealing with hair loss in their 20s and 30s
In 2018, a number of Chinese news services reported that Chinese students were losing their hair earlier than ever before. A survey conducted at Tsinghua University in Beijing revealed that 60% of the participants (all students) were suffering from some degree of hair loss.
“About 40% of the people who took part said they had noticed their hairline receding, while 25% said they learned about the problem from friends or family,” the South China Morning Post reported.
Some of the doctors quoted in the reports believed that stress, insomnia, societal changes and irregular schedules could have been causing hair loss in the young study participants.
If you’re a Millennial and worrying about unexplained hair loss, read on. We take a look at the possible causes.
Hair loss: possible causes
Healthy people lose about 100 hairs from the scalp every day and many people naturally lose some of their hair as they grow older, especially if thinning hair or baldness runs in the family.
But hair loss can also be caused by other, non-genetic factors – all of which can occur in younger people, too.
According to Medlineplus.gov, possible causes of hair loss include:
- Disease (e.g. thyroid problems, diabetes, lupus)
- Medicines (e.g. chemotherapy for cancer)
- A low protein diet
- Poor nutrition
Time to change your hairdo?
If you’re losing your hair faster than you think you should, it’s also worth considering whether the way you in which you style and wear your hair could play a role.
A recent study from Johns Hopkins University in the United States found that certain hairstyles can lead to “traction alopecia” – the medical term for the gradual loss of hair from damage to the follicles due to prolonged or repeated tension on the roots.
“Most damaging are hairstyles with a lot of tension or pulling in one direction, like tight ponytails, braids, knots and buns, as well as dreadlocks, weaves and extensions – especially when these are attached to chemically straightened hair,” HealthDay reported when the study was released in January 2019.
“Straightening can also lead to breakage,” the article continues. “Extensions can also cause damage when glued directly onto the scalp and later removed, and tight styles and the added weight of hair enhancements can lead to breakage and eventually loss.”
What you can do if you’re losing your hair
The treatment for your hair loss will ultimately depend on what’s causing the problem. For example, if your hair loss is caused by a hormonal imbalance linked to a thyroid problem, you may continue losing your hair until the condition is treated.
The good news is that hair loss is often a temporary problem that can be reversed.
Get in touch with a dermatologist if you’re worried. These skin specialists can help you to determine the cause and if you need to consult with other specialists to treat any underlying diseases or problems.
Speak to your medical aid. Most medical aid plans will provide some kind of out-of-hospital doctors’ visits, tests and medication unless you are on a hospital plan. Both affordable medical aid options, as well as comprehensive medical aid options with medical savings, usually offer benefits in this regard from your available medical savings account.
In the meantime, follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle to give your hair a boost: eat a variety of nutritious foods every day, sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night, exercise most days of the week, and manage your stress levels as best as you can.
By Carine Visagie
The Content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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