What Causes Hair Loss in Women? Especially at an Early Age Like in Their 20s?

Is there anything that can be done to fix it?

Doctor Answers 3

Hair loss in young women

  • There are two main causes of hair loss in a female in her 20s:
  1. Genetic hair loss. About 10% of women start to develop hair loss in their 20s. The key feature is worsening hair loss in the centre of the scalp and progressive "miniaturization" of hairs. 
  2. Telogen effluvium (hair shedding). About 30 % of women under 30 have low iron. This can sometimes cause hair loss 
Other causes of hair loss are possible to - so if you are worried see a dermatologist. Low thyroid levels, hairstyles, excessive heat, illnesses, dieting, high stress can all give hair loss.

At minimum, most would recommend a few simple blood tests and a detailed scalp examination.  

Hair Loss in Women Can Be Complicated...

Although women can, and do, suffer from genetic pattern hair loss similar to that experienced by men, women’s hair loss can also be triggered or even worsened by a variety of medical conditions, ranging from hormonal fluctuations to thyroid problems to vitamin deficiencies. It may also be exacerbated by environmental factors like stress, diet, a woman’s choice of birth control, or even the way that she wears her hair. Because the issues surrounding women’s hair loss are so complex, they often require highly specialized methods of diagnosis and approaches to treatment. That is why it is vital, in all cases of women’s hair loss, to seek out a hair restoration specialist for a comprehensive, individual diagnosis.

In younger women, particularly those in their twenties, one of the more common causes of hair loss is telogen effluvium. Any physiological shock to the body, such as a traumatic injury, major surgery, or even a crash diet can potentially trigger this condition, which causes a disproportionately large number of hair follicles to enter the telogen phase all at once so that they are all lost at once to the natural shedding process weeks or months after the initial triggering event. Further, other hormonal shifts in the body, like those that occur both before and after the birth of a child, can also cause women to experience drastic changes in the thickness and density of their hair. Fortunately, patients do not go completely bald from telogen effluvium and the hair loss they experience is usually only temporary. If the external cause is correctly identified and dealt with, the follicles go right back to producing hair normally, and in most cases those affected recover as much as 90% of the hair lost. To promote hair growth faster, we can prescribe certain compounded medications and supplements. Red light therapy, which uses focused light to increase the energy production around the hair follicles and awaken cells from dormancy into an active growth phase, has also proven to slow the progression of hair loss and, in some cases, to help new hairs grow. Finally, we have also found that platelet rich plasma, a specially prepared concentration of the patient’s own blood, can help accelerate the transition of the hair follicle from the dormant telogen state back to the actively growing anagen state, not only accelerating regrowth, but also potentially reducing the necessary recovery time after hair restoration surgery.

Again, every woman is unique and every case of women’s hair loss requires its own diagnosis. That’s why, at The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, we make it a point to provide every one of our patients with a comprehensive diagnostic analysis of their hair loss by an experienced specialist so that we can determine what form of treatment is right for their specific needs.

Hair loss

First, go get a blood test:   CBC, CMP, TSH, T4, ferritin. Anemia , iron deficiency, and hypothyroidism are common causes of hair loss that can be treated fairly easily.   If they are within normal limits, then start to look at stress level,  endurance exercises, and hormones can be an issue.

Erik Suh, MD
Bellevue Family Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.