Answered by James Harris
, on The IAHRS Hair Transplant Info Center
My daughter is currently 16 years old. She started experiencing hair loss when she hit puberty (approximately 11 years old) as well as fairly serious acne. She has had numerous blood tests to check for various hormonal issues, but to date, no definitive diagnosis — everything appears within normal range. Oral contraceptives have greatly improved the acne but have not helped at all with the hair loss. Her hair loss has now stabilized (does not appear to be getting any thinner); however her hair is very thin on top (you can clearly see through to her scalp and there is no way to do a “comb over” — just not enough hair). The hair on sides and back is fine (normally thick).
My question is: Is she old enough to consider a hair transplant? I’ve read that it is generally preferred to be 25 years or older (???), however I am concerned that female hair loss is a serious social burden that will be especially difficult through the remainder of her high school and college career. I’d really like to be able to help her now.
- - - - - -
Thank you for your letter. Hair loss can be difficult to deal with at any age but it can be particularly hard for a young woman. Before addressing the possibility of surgery there are some other issues that should be mentioned. I think it‘s important that she had the work up to evaluate hormone levels even though it sounds as if this isn’t the primary issue related to her hair loss. Other common medical conditions that can contribute to hair loss are iron deficiency anemia and thyroid function abnormalities. She should be seen by her primary care physician to rule out these treatable causes of hair loss. If she is having any other medical signs or symptoms they should be discussed with the physician even if they seem unrelated to hair loss such as skin or nail problems as they may point to a genetic condition. You didn’t mention if she was on any medications but if she is and the use of these medications preceded her hair loss, they could be contributing to the problem as well. Dietary issues, such as stringent dieting and low calorie intake, may be associated with hair loss.