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What Are the Causes of Thinning Hair in Young Women?

Lainie Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Causes of thinning hair in young women can vary widely and may be related to genetics, a medical condition, or even certain types of hairstyles or styling methods. While losing hair is often distressing and embarrassing for many young women, it is generally a good idea for these women to speak to a medical professional about their hair loss to determine its cause. This is because thinning hair in young women can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition that should be addressed. A physician can also inform his or her patients about options for restoring hair, including the use of medications or even a hair transplant. In situations where the thinning hair is not caused by a medical or genetic condition, a young woman may benefit from instruction in proper hair care techniques that will prevent hair breakage in the future.

Many women are affected by a condition called androgenetic alopecia, a genetic condition that is also known as female pattern baldness. While this type of hair loss may not fully develop until a woman enters middle age, it can be a cause of thinning hair in young women as well. A physician can examine the scalp in order to look for differently sized hair folicles, which is a typical symptom of androgenetic alopecia. If a woman has this condition, she will have a few choices for treatment. She may choose to apply minoxidil, a hair restoration drug, to her scalp daily, and her doctor may also prescribe an oral version of the drug if the topical minoxidil proves ineffective.

Thinning hair in young women can also be caused by other medical conditions. A woman may have, for example, too many male hormones in her system, which can be addressed through the use of various drugs to balance her hormones. Her physician may also check her thyroid levels, as both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can result in hair loss. Women may also be tested for various autoimmune disorders as well as for nutritional deficiencies. For example, low iron levels can result in thinning hair in young women, as can various eating disorders in which a woman suffers from malnourishment.

Other often temporary causes of thinning hair in young women include stress, pregnancy, and a significant illness or medical condition that requires surgery. It is also possible for a woman to inadvertently pull out hair during vigorous back combing and teasing. Hair may also break off from the scalp if a woman wears dreadlocks or tight braids or ponytails. Once a woman discontinues these practices, she may see hair regrowth with no need for additional treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen , Former Writer
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.

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Lainie Petersen

Lainie Petersen

Former Writer

Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
Learn more
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