As Gen-Yers (more colloquially known as “millennials), age into their twenties and thirties, they are faced with a sobering condition, hair loss. The American Hair Loss Association explains that two-thirds of men will have some hair loss by age 35 (which is just about the upper range for millennials), while 85% will have a relatively thinned out mop up top by age 50. Mistakenly thought to be an exclusively male condition, 40% of hair loss sufferers are actually women. Recently, millennials are reporting hair loss much earlier than previous generations. As the first generation to grow up in the internet age, they’re far more likely to seek out information and share in experiences, online or otherwise. Generation Y is not one to accept defeat at the hands of mother nature either. In fact, millennials are proving to be far more proactive about meeting the challenge of hair loss head on.
5 Reasons Millennials are Losing Hair
There are a ton of treatment options on the market for hair loss. However, in order to accurately address treatment, it’s important to first have an understanding of the underlying factors that contribute to thinning hair. We’ve broken down five reasons why Gen-Yers may be losing their hair.
1. Hair Loss and the Aging Process
While millennials are reporting hair loss at a higher rate, the reality is that none of the age-related factors have actually changed for us. There are unavoidable genetic factors at play that make this an inescapable fact of life. The single most important factor to hair loss will always be those troublesome family traits. If thinning hair runs in your family (carried on the X chromosome) then you can expect to see it happening to you eventually. Those genetic factors will only present themselves more fully as you age.
Don’t blame genetics for your thinning hair just yet though. Poor nutrition can be another contributing factor to hair loss. What you eat can directly impact whether you keep your full head of hair or whether you start noticing handfuls falling out before the age of 25. Millennials are more likely to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle than most other generations. Given that meat is a primary source of protein, and a key ingredient in hair, protein deficiency may be the culprit to thinning hair. While meat can indeed be replaced with other sources of protein, many of those on meat-free diets are not adequately replacing the valuable protein from other sources, like nuts and beans. Lysine is an aminoacid that helps iron absorption and it is an useful supplement in case of meat free diet.
What are toxins, exactly? They’re biological or chemical subtancesl that causes harm to the body in low concentrations. Unfortunately for millennials, toxins appear to be pretty much everywhere these days. Metallic toxins are fairly common now, and one of the most prominent sources of toxic exposure is pollution. Hair follicles are particularly affected by air pollution, which has been linked to thinning hair and breakage. One hair loss study even showed that millennials flocking to cities has a direct correlation to female hair loss. The hustle and bustle of city-living comes at a price as residents of urban areas experience increased exposure to all kinds of toxins, such as smoke, lead, nickel, and sulfur dioxide.
Additionally, in spite of growing up in the anti-tobacco age, the Center for Disease Control reported that 13% of 18-24 year olds and nearly 18% of 25-44 year olds smoke. The reasons for this appear to be varied, though social pressure appears to be the most common factor. Not surprisingly, the toxins in cigarettes have a huge impact on skin, nails, teeth, and yes, even hair growth. For fuller, healthier hair, it’s recommended to eliminate this habit as soon as possible.
4. Stress on Hair Follicles
Recently we spoke with Dr. Tosti about traction alopecia, that is, hair loss resulting from a pulling force applied to your hair. Unfortunately, this is one reason millennial hair loss is more common than in older generations, particularly amongst young women. Many popular hair styles, such as tight ponytails, sew-in hair extensions, and braids involve a significant amount of hair pulling. Over time, as someone tugs on hair during styling, the hair shafts will weaken causing thinning around the hair line and, eventually, bald patches. This is reversible if tension relief comes early on. Thankfully natural, free flowing hair is having a major comeback so there’s no better time to let your hair down!
5. Mental Health
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) millennials are more likely (52%) to have stressed-induced sleepless nights than any other generation. Millennials are also more likely to experience anger and irritability due to stress. There is a strong correlation between high levels of stress and hair loss. Stress induced hair loss can present as increased and diffuse shedding ( also known as telogen effluvium) or as patchy alopecia, as in the case of alopecia areata. Although the APA found that millennials tend to stress about a number of things, one unique stressor to Gen Y is social media. Of course there are a number of healthy ways to counteract stress including therapy, meditation, and physical activity. However, finding ways to disconnect from devices should be a high priority for this generation.
Managing Your Hair Loss
While there are a number of causes of premature hair loss, there are steps to mitigate a poor hair situation. The obvious first step is to consult with a physician and identify the cause of your hair loss. A physician may be able to help you identify appropriate lifestyle changes such as adopting a protein rich diet, quitting smoking, or easing up on the tight hairstyles. Secondly, incorporating hair stimulating products such as Revita Shampoo into your beauty routine, is an effective way to preserve hair, avoid fallout, and maintain a healthy scalp.