Have you noticed all the young guys walking around with bald patches? Does it feel like everyone’s going gray in their 30’s? It might not all be an overactive imagination! Studies are showing that men in their 20’s are actually losing their hair soon then any of the previous generations before them – or at least they are in China.
A survey of Chinese students found that many were reporting that they had lost significant amounts of hair already, in fact more than half had reported that, that was the case. A lot of these people noticed that their hairlines were receding, although others had to be told by their parents. Most of the students reporting hair loss were studying subjects like math and engineering which seems to suggest that the increased hair loss experienced by younger generations might be the result of increased stress and increasingly busy lives.
If you’re interested in the factors causing this interesting phenomenon, or perhaps experiencing it yourself then read on below to find out more.
Millennial hair loss
Balding and hair thinning usually happens as a natural part of aging, but it seems that an increasing number of millennial men and women are reporting it an issue. Anecdotal evidence from Dermatologists suggests that higher numbers of men and women are seeking out help in combatting hair loss issues. In some case, even people in their teens are struggling with significant hair loss. More hairdressers are also noticing issues with younger people losing their hair or expressing concerns around receding hairlines and bald patches.
Hormonal changes, autoimmune disease, thyroid issues, stress and dietary concerns are frequently the culprits for hair loss in younger men and women. Although for some people there can be a genetic component in losing hair younger or going gray earlier. If your parents lost hair or went gray earlier, than it’s likely that you will too!
The health of your body has a big influence on the overall health of your hair, so modern changes in diet and lifestyle might be contributing to people experiencing hair loss younger. High sugar diets, or increasing rates of young people taking up vegetarian or vegan diets could be contributing to earlier hair loss in young men and women. Protein consumption and certain vitamin like vitamin D, zinc or other nutrients are all important for hair growth, so reduced consumption of important dietary factors can cause hair loss.
It’s also no secret that changes in technology have made the pace of life increasingly busy, stress levels are at an all-time high and many young people today are increasingly reporting high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Stress and other strong emotions can have an impact on hair growth and can cause hair to fall out.
How does stress affect your hair?
It might seem strange that stress could affect your hair, it’s a relatively intangible thing after all, isn’t it? Stress can actually cause a range of physiological changes in the body which can affect the growth lifecycle of your hair. The normal growth cycle of your hair usually involves three stages known scientifically as the anagen phase, also known as the growth phase, the catagen or ‘resting’ phase and the telogen or shedding phase.
The growth phase is the stage that most of the hair on your scalp is usually in at any one point in time. Every follicle of your hair is actually independent of the surrounding follicles and will be at a slightly different stage of the growth cycle than all of the other hair follicles. Usually about 90% of the hair on your scalp will be in growth phase at any given time. This stage usually lasts around two to six years. This is when you’ll notice the strands of your hair growing out, usually at a rate of about 1 cm per month.
The growth phase is followed by the resting phase, which usually lasts a few days to a few weeks. Scientists can tell when hair is in the catagen phase because the hair follicle will shrink slightly.
The telogen phase usually follows this, this is when the strand will loosen and fall away from the follicle. This is when you will usually notice hair fall. It’s a normal part of a healthy growth lifecycle for some hair shed, and most people will shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day. Factors like stress, illness or injury however can disrupt the normal growth cycle and it’s believed that stress is the biggest contributor to early hair loss for millennials.
Chronic stress can interrupt the normal hair cycle and cause hair to shed prematurely by causing hair to enter the catagen cycle early. Hormones related to stress like cortisol can cause hair to become dry and brittle, causing it to fall out early. Stress basically upsets the body’s normal processes.
Millennials and stress
Millennials are reporting high stress levels on a regular basis, so its little wonder that they are also finding their hair is falling out. Most millennials report that they feel isolated, lonely and stress out on a regular basis. The rise of social media, phones and the internet has made the pace of life busier than ever before. Younger generations are reporting higher stress levels than previous generation suggesting that lifestyle changes are heightening stress. It’s likely that financial pressures, school and university pressures, and work-life balance challenges are all contributing to the stress levels of millennials.
Millennials and other factors
In addition to excessive stress, it’s also possible that changing hair routines could be contributing to hair loss for younger generations. New technology and hair products have made it possible to do exciting new things with hair, whether it be heat styling the perfect curls, getting the perfect blonde colour or gelling the perfect spikes. Millennial hair maintenance and hair treatments however could be contributing to hair loss. Bleaching, dying and heat styling hair can cause serious damage which can be responsible for hair loss. Products like hair extension can also add unnecessary weight and tension to the hair follicle, causing hair to loosen and fall out. Nowadays the way we style and treat our hair is very different to previous generations. It was much more common to leave hair natural or styleit with gentler products back in the day. Whilst we understand hair better and are developing more and more products designed to protect the hair, a lot of chemical processes can be damaging to the hair. Luckily we’ve come a long way from 80’s perms and hair dyes. Chemical formulas continue to become gentler, so hopefully the damage and hair loss millennials experience decreases as hair products improve.
Younger generations are more aware of their hair
Hair didn’t used to be as big of a deal as it is now. It’s likely that the increased spotlight on hair from the media has made millennials much more aware of their hair than they previously ever were before. Heightened focus on hair and a wider proliferation around issues of hair loss and concerns have likely made people much more aware of hair loss, balding and damage than they ever previously were. Some of the rise in younger generations experiencing hair loss might just be attributed to more millennials being aware of hair loss.
It’s actually very normal for people in their twenties and thirties to experience some mild hair loss, but the rise in celebrities and media personalities with long, thick hair and extensions has changed people’s expectations of what hair should look like. The reality is that the hair that celebrities are sporting is rarely what hair would normally look like for people in their twenties or thirties.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or think that you’re losing more hair then you should then it might be time to visit the doctor or dermatologist to determine the cause.
Tips for slowing down hair loss
If your experiencing a bit of additional hair fall in your twenties or thirties then you should take them time to consider why it might be happening. If you’ve made any big changes to your diet or lifestyle then that could be contributing to any hair loss you might be noticing.
There are a few things you can do to slow down or avoid any unnecessary hair loss. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
To keep your hair healthy you should make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Certain nutritional deficiencies’ such as a lack of iron, zinc, vitamin A and protein deficiencies can contribute to hair loss. Eating the right foods will keep your hair strong and healthy.
Managing stress levels is also extremely important for managing hair loss. If you’re experiencing chronic stress then it’s likely you’re experiencing a number of the ill effects that high levels of stress can cause. Stress contributes to a lot of different health issues, which is why finding good coping mechanisms for dealing with and managing stress is so important. Everyone needs to blow off steam occasionally, so if you’re feeling stressed then it might be time to do an activity like exercise, meditation or yoga or start a hobby like painting to help you decrease your stress levels. Everyone will have different way to de-stress, but it’s important to regularly take the time to look after one’s health and well-being. Ignoring your own self-care needs is essential for keeping your health in check. Chronic stress can contribute to a lot of long term physical and mental health problems, so controlling your stress levels is about much more than just hair loss.
If there is something in your life that is causing undue levels of stress, like a high stress job, then it might be worth evaluating whether or not you can cope with it, or if it’s worth it to try and remove it from your life.
You should also massage your scalp regularly if you are experiencing hair breakage or shedding. Massaging the scalp encourages blood flow, which helps stimulate the hair follicle which improves nutrient delivery to the hair follicle. Regular scalp massages can improve the health of your hair, and also helps to spread natural oils through the hair which will keep it feeling stronger and healthier.
Another tip to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t overwash your hair. A mistake that a lot of younger men make is overwashing their hair. Most people do not need to wash their hair daily with shampoo. Products like shampoo can strip the natural oils from the hair which can leave hair dry and brittle. Hair that doesn’t have natural oils to keep it healthy and shiny is at a higher risk of breakage and shedding.
If you’re young and noticing a lot of hair shedding, even after following our healthy hair tips then it might be time to visit the doctor.