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The fact that hair often begins to thin, lose density and lustre, or recede as we age is widely known and accepted. However, you may be asking why your hair is thinning in your 20s. You could find that your hair density and texture changes as early as your 20s due to issues such as stress, lifestyle, hormonal changes, and underlying medical conditions.

Recent studies have found that hair loss in males affects an astonishing 42% of people, and while the prevalence of hair loss is greater in those aged 40 to 49, as many as 16% of men aged younger than 29 have seen changes to their hair.[1]

Further research has identified that thinning hair also affects younger women more often than previously thought due to genetic and hormonal factors that may influence the best possible treatment program.[2]

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the primary causes of hair loss in men and women in their 20’s, clarify which are likely to be temporary and permanent and discuss some of the therapies, treatments, and hair transplantation techniques that can help.

Key Takeaways

  • While many people assume that hair thinning primarily affects men over 50, a loss of hair density or growth can impact anybody at any age and of any gender.
  • Thinning hair in your hair 20’s can occur at specific points around your scalp and hairline, across the entirety of your hair, or in patches where thinning progresses over time to larger areas.
  • Hair transplantation and therapies can provide effective, confidence-boosting, and permanent results for those with thinning hair in their 20s, addressing your thinning hair at the root with entirely natural outcomes.

hair thinning 20s

Causes of Thinning Hair and Hair Loss at a Younger Age

As we’ve indicated, hair loss is far from reserved for older adults and can strike at any point. Some clients as young as 18 have issues with sudden changes to their hair or have found that some parts of their hair or facial hair simply do not grow as they might have expected.

The first step is to try and pinpoint the cause or look at factors that could be contributing to or exacerbating hair loss. For instance, some people find that wearing their hair tightly tied back for long hours or wearing a restrictive helmet for the duration of every working day begins to cause damage and friction to the scalp, creating location-specific hair thinning and loss.

Short-Term Causes of Thinning Hair for Men and Women in Their 20s

We’ll start by looking at some of the causes of thinning hair in your 20s that you may be able to resolve or correct relatively quickly or by changing your habits and routines to better protect your scalp and hair health.

Cause: Traction Alopecia

Over-styled hair, where you frequently use strong hair dyes, chemical hair treatments such as perming, or hair relaxers can damage your hair or create tension on your roots that gradually pulls the follicles away from your scalp.[3]

This type of hair thinning is most common in young people who wear long or heavy hair extensions, wear their hair in tight ponytails, or wear restrictive hats or safety headgear for prolonged periods of time.

Potential Solutions

  • Changes to your hair styling, ensuring your hair and scalp aren’t restricted, or using different styles each day to avoid repetitively pulling your hair into the same style may help.
  • Minoxidil is a hair loss treatment that can boost blood flow to the scalp and stimulate new hair growth. It can be effective if your traction alopecia has not damaged the follicles to the point that they cannot regrow.
  • Medical professionals sometimes prescribe steroids and corticosteroids to help if an inflamed scalp has stopped hair from growing healthily.
  • Laser hair therapy can help to restore hair growth in areas where your hair has begun to thin, reactivating damaged follicles.

If your hair loss is permanent or extensive, you might also be advised to consider an FUE hair transplant, where a skilled hair transplant surgeon will relocate healthy follicles outside of the affected area to those locations where you have thinning hair or have experienced hair loss.

Cause: Stress and Anxiety

Our mental well-being has a direct correlation with the health of our hair, where people who are exposed to severe stress or who have mental health conditions linked with stress and anxiety may see physical side effects characterised by thinning hair or patches of hair loss.

Trichotillomania is a type of hair loss related to stress. In this condition, the sufferer tries to control their stress levels by pulling at their hair—over time, the effects can be significant.

Potential Solutions

  • Medical treatments and counselling are advisable to relieve the underlying issues that are causing stress or impacting your mental well-being.

Other solutions, as outlined above, including minoxidil and laser hair therapy, can also help restore your confidence alongside eliminating the causes of stress by helping your hair regrow to a healthy condition.

Cause: Telogen Effluvium

This medical condition is temporary and is linked to some of the factors we’ve mentioned above, alongside injuries and illnesses and some hormonal changes. Many women with thinning hair find that they have suffered short-term hair shedding above the normal level following changes to their hormones due to contraception, pregnancy and birth.[4]

Potential Solutions

The best way to address hair thinning due to telogen effluvium is to try and identify the reasons—such as changes to contraceptives. Most people find that this temporary hair thinning will be remedied in time. It is common postpartum when many women find that their thick, luscious hair growth during pregnancy rapidly reverses.

If you are concerned about hair thinning, please book a consultation with our hair transplant specialists, and we will advise you on the right options, often using laser therapy to stimulate regrowth and prevent excessive hair loss.

Cause: Lifestyle Habits

Smoking, a poor diet and alcohol use can affect the health of your hair follicles, with regular smokers around twice as likely to find that their hair begins to thin or recede than non-smokers.[5]

Likewise, a diet low in essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins can manifest physically as unhealthy hair. Some health conditions that limit the amount of nutrition you absorb and digest, such as eating disorders and extremely restricted diets, can have a similar effect.

Potential Solutions

In most cases, lifestyle habits that have caused hair thinning are best addressed by changing your nutrition or cutting back on smoking. Other more proactive routes, such as laser therapy and topical minoxidil treatments, can also help, whereas a hair transplant might be recommended if your hair loss does not self-correct.

Free consultation

Looking to fix hair thinning? Book a free consultation with us today to see what we can do for you.

Permanent or Long-Term Factors in Thinning Hair in Your 20s

All of the above causes of thinning hair can potentially be resolved with medical assistance and lifestyle changes. However, it is important to reiterate that even short-term causes of thinning hair can become permanent. If you have experienced hair loss or thinning hair over a number of years, this may not be quick or easy to correct.

Therefore, the potential solutions we’ll explore next may be just as relevant to any symptoms or causes contributing to your thinning hair. Our advice is always to speak with our expert hair transplant surgeons for personalised recommendations about the best way forward.

Cause: Alopecia Areata

This type of alopecia is a medical disease [6] where the immune system attacks your follicles, including hair on your head and other areas – people with alopecia may find that they lose thickness or all of the hair on their eyebrows, body and beard for men.

Most clients with alopecia areata find that hair loss is gradual rather than sudden, where patches of hair loss begin to form and can progressively become larger and more noticeable.[7]

Potential Solutions

Alopecia doesn’t typically go away without intervention, and the loss of hair isn’t normally something the NHS can assist with. The right options will depend on a thorough evaluation of your hair health and scalp but can include customised laser hair therapy to stimulate healthier, stronger hair growth.

If the follicles have ceased to grow hair, a hair transplant offers a pain-free and permanent solution, often accompanied by platelet-rich plasma therapy to maximise the results. PRP creates an ideal microenvironment for hair regrowth while expediting recovery from the hair transplant procedure.

Cause: Hormonal Changes

Although some causes of thinning hair linked to hormones can be rectified with a change in medication, it is important to recognise that other issues are long-term healthcare concerns, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

In some instances, a healthcare professional can adjust the prescribed medications or treatments used to control these conditions. Still, in others, the effects on your natural hormonal balance may have a long-term impact on your health and the growth of your hair.

Potential Solutions

Our advice will depend on whether you have a long-term or permanent health condition that has impacted your hair growth and whether any changes to your medications or treatments to manage the underlying cause have proven successful.

Some hair thinning due to hormonal changes can be rectified with a simple series of laser therapy, whereas permanent and irreversible hair loss may require a hair transplant – we provide walk-in/walk-out procedures to ensure you can correct areas of hair loss without extensive downtime.

Cause: Androgenetic Alopecia

This different type of alopecia is better known as genetic hair loss or male pattern baldness – although it can certainly affect women as well as men.[8] Most people with androgenetic alopecia inherit the condition and may have relatives who have experienced thinning hair or hair loss as they age.

While this form of alopecia may not be clinically serious, it means that your hair follicles are very sensitive and can bind with a substance called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).[9] DHT makes the hair follicle shrink, which eventually means it cannot produce healthy hair.

Potential Solutions

Male and female pattern baldness is far more common than many people realise, and the best approach is to check whether there are dormant hair follicles that can be re-energised and activated through laser hair therapy.

If this is not suitable, the other solutions include bespoke hair transplantation, depending on the availability of donor hair follicles, and PRP therapies to help augment your results and ensure your new hair regrowth meets your expectations.

“Androgenetic alopecia can affect anybody at any age, and we’d suggest a private consultation rather than recommending any one treatment since the best strategy to achieve full hair regrowth and restoration is wholly dependent on your current hair and the aesthetic you’d like to achieve.”

Expert Advice on Tackling Hair Thinning

While we have covered several of the leading causes of hair thinning in your 20s, various other conditions and factors can contribute to hair loss as a young adult. Should you need any further advice or wish to book a free consultation with your nearest KSL Clinic, please complete our quick contact form, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Hair Thinning in Men and Women in Their 20s: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Normal for Hair to Start Thinning in My 20s?

Hair thinning is normally thought of as impacting older adults, but it can occur at any age, even as young as 18. The good news is that most causes of hair thinning and hair loss can be corrected or improved with professional therapies and treatments, from laser therapy to PRP injection treatments and hair transplantation.

What Is the Best Way to Correct Thinning Hair as a Young Woman?

Presumptions that thinning hair only affects men are simply untrue. We speak with hundreds of women seeking hair transplants and restoration who feel that thinning hair, patches, or hair loss is detrimental to their appearance and self-esteem. No one solution is appropriate for everybody, but our consultants can offer further advice based on a thorough evaluation of your current hair and scalp health and the results you’d like to achieve.

Will Thinning Hair in My 20s Start to Grow Back?

The prospects of regrowth in your 20s really depend on the reason behind your thinning hair. We’ve mentioned several treatment programmes designed to reinvigorate hair growth and to stimulate dormant hair follicles, all of which can help to reverse thinning hair before it becomes permanent.


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