Hair loss can begin at any age, with one in five men experiencing hair loss before they turn 20. Typically, male pattern baldness – the main culprit behind hair loss – starts to become more prevalent with age. It’s not just men that are affected, either, as women also experience pattern baldness, usually after going through the menopause.
Pattern baldness affects around 70 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women, and is caused by the male hormone dihydrotestosterone – known as DHT – stimulating the hormone receptors in the roots of the hair, triggering hair loss. With each subsequent hair growth cycle, the follicles shrink, meaning the hair starts to initially grow back finer and eventually stop growing altogether.
Realising that your hair is starting to shed can be a traumatic experience at any age, but younger people can find it particularly impacts their self-esteem – in fact, a third of men have stated that hair loss is the driving force behind their confidence issues. As such, we frequently hear from men in their late twenties enquiring about undergoing a hair transplant.
Although there’s no legal lower age limit on hair transplant surgery, there are many reasons why we would advise those under 25 to exercise extreme caution. At such a young age, it’s very difficult to say what kind of hair loss and balding patterns someone will have in the future, as hair loss is progressive. For example, if a young man was concerned about his hairline and had grafts in this area, the surrounding hair would still be liable to recede and fall out, producing a patchy result.
It’s also important to note that donor hair is limited. If you have a transplant when you are young and find that, inevitably, more hair is falling out, you may not have enough hair to keep chasing the hair loss. If someone is presenting with hair loss under the age of 25, they are more likely to experience extensive hair loss in the future – there’s only a finite supply that can be transplanted, so it needs to be used wisely.
If you are in your early to mid twenties and struggling with hair loss, a hair transplant shouldn’t be the first choice. Medications such as Minoxidil and Finasteride are effective treatments for strengthening the hair, stimulating growth and preventing further loss, which should be the priority at this age. Non-surgical treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy or Low-Level Laser Light Therapy can also have a noticeable impact.
After the age of around 25, we will have a far better idea of how a patient’s hair loss will progress, and therefore can discuss if hair transplant surgery is the right way to go. If you’d like to find out more about what we can do for you, book in for a free consultation.