white brunette woman looking at her scalp in mirror reflection
Hair Loss

Teenage Hair Loss

Causes & Treatments
Professionally reviewed by
Samantha Stewart MITInstitute of TrichologistsDirector & Tutor

Hair loss and hair thinning are typically associated with older age, however, teenagers can be affected by this issue more often than we think. Hair loss in teens can be particularly stressful as this is a time when most young men and women are struggling with issues related to confidence and body image.

If you've noticed your hair is thinning, you might be noticing your self-esteem worsening. Maybe you're experiencing teasing and bullying, which can amplify the emotional stress you may be going through, possibly leading to stress-related hair loss.

In most cases, teen hair loss can be stopped, but the underlying issue needs to be identified first by a doctor or a trichologist, as it could be a sign of an undiagnosed health condition.

What Causes Hair Loss In Teens?

Hormonal Problems

During our teenage years, hormone levels change significantly and can affect hair growth. These changes happen in both girls and boys and can lead to hair thinning and even hair loss. Hormone-related hair loss should be investigated by a doctor to prescribe the best treatment. In some cases, hair loss associated with hormonal imbalance could be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in girls. If you take birth control pills, you may have noticed hair thinning or hair loss after you started taking them. This can often be remedied by changing to a different form of contraceptive. It's always best to seek advice from your doctor to understand the best options for you.

Poor Diet

A healthy diet and good nutrition play an essential role in the health of our hair. Teenagers with a diet lacking essential vitamins and mineralslike biotin, iron, zinc, and vitamin A may experience dull, thinning hair and even hair loss. Extreme dieting can also lead to hair loss. Reducing the consumption of processed and fast food, cutting back on refined sugar, and changing your diet to include the right foods for healthy hair will help.

Unconscious Hair Pulling and Plucking

Trichotillomania is a psychological condition where the hair is pulled until it's uprooted, leaving areas of thin or no hair. -It can often form as a habit in childhood and can progressively damage the follicles leading to permanent hair loss in teens and young adults.


Alopecia is a medical condition that causes hair to fall out, and it can manifest itself in several different forms. There are different types of alopecia, and each comes with multiple causes.

Alopecia Areata

One of the most well-known forms of alopecia is alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that typically affects teenagers and young adults. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition whereby the hair follicle loses its immune privilege, causing inflammation to develop around the hair bulb at the base of the follicle, resulting in ‘patchy’ hair loss. The condition can be hereditary, and it appears more frequently in people with a family history of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, or type 1 diabetes. If you or the teen in your life suffers from alopecia areata, you will notice some bald spots rather than a receding hairline. There are also other, more advanced forms of alopecia, such as alopecia totalis, where all the hair from the scalp is lost, or alopecia universalis, where hair loss occurs across the entire body. Depending on the size of the bald patches, it is possible that the hair can grow back and become thicker. However, it's best to be seen by a doctor who will be able to advise you on treatment. Some common treatments for alopecia areata are:

  • Steroid-based creams, tablets, and/or injections

  • Ultraviolet light

  • Contact sensitization treatments

  • Minoxidil lotion

  • Dithranol cream

  • Immunosuppressant tablets

Dealing with the emotional impact of alopecia areata might be difficult, especially during a time in your life when it feels like your peers are heavily focused on physical appearance. If you're struggling, it's important that you get psychological and social support to help you deal with and understand this condition. Organizations like the National Alopecia Areata Foundation are a good place to turn. You can also reach out to loved ones or medical professionals for support.

Traction Alopecia

This type of alopecia usually occurs when the hair is being stressed by either pulling it tightly in braids, buns, or by using hair extensions. The effects may be reversed if diagnosed early enough and the 'causative factors’ are removed.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Also known as male or female pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss that can start as early as mid-teen years. Though it can affect both sexes, male pattern baldness is more common. Most male pattern baldness cases are related to inherited genes, many of which dictate the sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a testosterone-produced hormone. DHT sensitivity leads to weakened hair follicles, causing strands to become shorter and thinner. This will trigger thinning around the crown and men will see more of a pronounced M-shaped hairline developing, as well as a lighter pigment. This sensitivity to DHT and the beginning of hair thinning can start as soon as you hit puberty. It has been found that 20% of young men experience substantial thinning by the age of 20, and this percentage will increase with age. Of course, there are other causes of hair loss and thinning for both sexes, but for men and boys, genetics play a critical role.

What Are the Best Hairstyles for Boys With Thinning Hair?

Your hair might be thinning, but that doesn't mean it has to show. There are different ways to style thinning hair that can make it look fuller.

  • Side swept pompadour.


    A side-swept quiff provides plenty of styling opportunities for a look that’s full of texture and volume.

  • Spiky hair.


    This is a messier look that’s fun to style and wear. 

  • Pompadour with an undercut.


    For a sleek and stylish look, try a pompadour with a deep fade to really embrace your thin hair and add thickness to the top of your head.

The right haircut and styling products can work wonders. A professional hair stylist will be able to advise you on the best haircut for your face shape, but it's always best to have an idea in mind.

What Are the Best Hairstyles for Girls With Thinning Hair?

If your hair loss or hair thinning is impacting your confidence and self-esteem, there are ways to diminish the appearance of thinning hair with hairstyles that will make strands look fuller and thicker:

  • Beachy waves.


    Loose waves will add instant volume and texture to your locks.

  • An updo.


    An updo will help make your hair appear thicker if you use the right techniques and styling tools. Try lightly teasing your hair before styling a bun or ponytail, or gently pulling your braid for added volume. 

  • Bangs.


    Side-swept bangs, curtain bags, or long bangs will help frame your face and add more fullness to your locks.

How Can Nioxin Help Thinning Teenage Hair?

If thinning hair is a cause of concern, Nioxin's range of hair thickening products have proven results. Unlike other products that just mask thinning hair, Nioxin has an innovative approach inspired by premium skincare. Our experts have identified the key signs of hair thinning and have formulated a complete program with targeted solutions focusing on derma, density, and diameter. To get started you can use the Nioxin consultation tool for advice on which products will suit your needs. Our range of products includes:

Nioxin's products will leave thinning teen hair healthy, refreshed, and stronger. Designed for all hair types, they also help to restore moisture while improving the hair’s texture and density. If you're worrying about hair thinning daily, Nioxin's System Kits for progressed and light thinning will help you achieve fuller-looking hair.


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