Hair Loss

Everyone loses about 50-100 hairs from their head a day. This is perfectly normal and they will be replaced.

If you feel that you are losing more, your hair is visibly thin or you can see balding patches you must visit your Doctor/G.P.

It is important to keep your hair healthy. Hair is made of a protein called keratin. A single hair consists of a root below the skin and a follicle, from which the hair root grows. At the lower end of the follicle is the hair bulb, where the hair gets its colour pigment from also known as melanin.

What causes hair loss?

Although hair loss is very rare in teens some illnesses and medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes and liver problems, can cause hair loss in teens. If you are on strong medications, being treated with chemotherapy or you have leukaemia or alopecia, hair loss is a side effect.

Such hair loss can be stressful so make sure you talk to your Doctor/G.P. about all your concerns. In some cases once you have finished treatment your hair will grow back.

Keeping your hair healthy

There are a number of ways you can keep your hair healthy and strong:

  • Hair treatments, styling products and chemical treatments such as having your hair coloured, bleached or straightened can cause damage and may even make hair break off or temporarily fall out.
  • Try not to use hair straighteners regularly as the intense heat can damage the hair. Save straighteners for special occasions.
  • If you wear your hair up in a ponytail or bun, make sure that you don’t pull it too tight as this can place tension on the scalp.
  • Eat sensibly. Teens with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can experience hair loss.
  • Make sure you take protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain hair growth. If you are vegetarian make sure you have protein supplements.
  • If you weight train or body-build don’t take any form of testosterone steroids as this can cause premature hair loss.

Who can help?

Visit the NHS web site at www.nhs.uk. You can also visit the NHS Direct website at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or call the NHS Direct helpline on 0845 46 47 with any problems you may have.

Youth Health Talk is a website about young people’s real life health experiences, covering topics including teenage cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and sexual health. You can watch videos of young people talking about their experiences and join in the conversation on the forums at www.youthhealthtalk.org.

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