The teen years are stressful enough without adding hair loss to the picture. Unfortunately, a receding hairline is something many teens, primarily males, have to deal with. This specific type of hair loss is often called male pattern baldness, or Androgenetic alopecia. It is different from the overall hair loss that can result from poor nutrition or an illness. A receding hairline is hereditary in nature and is sometimes triggered or made worse by hormonal changes.
Androgenetic alopecia is a type of permanent hair loss. It is caused primarily by genetics and can begin as early as the teen years, especially in men, according to the Mayo Clinic. This type of hair loss is the most common and occurs in about one out of every three men.
A receding hairline is just that — it looks as if the hair is pulling back from the face. First the hair starts to thin at the temples on either side, leaving a patch in front. In time, that patch eventually begins to recede as well, leaving hair only on the sides and back of the head.
There’s no cure for a receding hairline, but some medications may slow the hair loss. Minoxidil, which is found in many over-the-counter hair loss medications has been shown to effectively slow hair loss from Androgenetic alopecia. The use of this medication has not been tested in teens younger than the age of 18, so it is not recommended for that age group.
There are ways to slow the loss of hair other than the use of medications. Shampoo your hair only once a day, and lather it gently, using baby shampoo or other mild shampoos. Air dry your hair rather than using a hot electric hair dryer, and avoid using chemicals such as hair dyes.
A receding hairline can affect a teen’s self esteem. Some teens wear hats in an effort to hide their hair loss. Others may even avoid social situations. If your teen seems to be strongly affected by his hair loss, or the loss is severe, see a doctor. In rare cases, the cause is an underlying hormonal problem, especially with testosterone production, that can sometimes be treated with hormone therapy.