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6 Signs of Balding Men Should Watch for in their 20s

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 6/30/2021

Hair loss is something that happens to many men at some point. Despite the fact that most of us have a slim chance of keeping the same head of hair throughout our lives, we still cling to the idea that hair loss won’t happen to us.

Unfortunately, this denial makes it more difficult to stop male pattern baldness from claiming most of our hair.

We refuse to accept the signs of thinning hair until that critical moment comes — we’re looking in the mirror one morning and notice that half our hair is gone.

Want to know why it’s hard to treat the average guy in his 20s for hair loss? Because most people have a hard time believing that male pattern baldness affects young adults.

The notion that only middle-aged men experience baldness isn’t not only false; it’s damaging. It causes 20-year-old men to feel self-conscious about their hair loss, meaning that most of them refuse to confront the reality that their hair is thinning. 

Accepting this reality is the first step towards preventing hair loss from accelerating and getting worse.

Top Signs of Hair Loss in Your 20s

The good news is that hair loss is completely treatable as long as you catch it early. For this reason, it’s important that men are able to spot the signs of balding in their 20s so that they can begin a hair loss treatment program that stops male pattern baldness.

Here are some signs of thinning hair men of all ages should be on the lookout for:

1. A Receding Hairline

This is probably the most common sign that your hair is starting to thin out. The receding hairline usually starts out as something small – maybe the hair around your temples gets a little bit thinner than the rest of your hair, or your forehead is a centimeter taller. 

At first, it’s not that big of a deal. But when you leave the receding hairline unchecked, it usually continues to grow until it creates a large M-shape pattern in the hair.

To learn more about spotting the different stages of male pattern baldness, have a look at the Norwood Scale.

2. Noticeably Thinning Hair

Maybe your hair just doesn’t feel as thick and luscious as it once did. Maybe when you shampoo, you just feel like you are washing less hair. 

Whatever it is, you know your hair best and you are likely to notice thin hair before anyone else does.

If you feel that your head is less full of hair than it once was, you may be experiencing hair thinning.

3. Less Hair on Your Crown

A few years back, your hair was so thick that we could barely see your scalp. But these days, parting your hair leaves a noticeable bald spot on the top of your head that everyone can see. 

This is because you’ve lost some of the hair in your crown area, effectively losing some of your hair’s volume.

The problem is that you never really know how much thinning is going to happen. For some men, it could just be a little bit of shedding. For others, their hair could continue thinning until there are large bald patches.

4. Your Hair Doesn’t Hold its Style

Let’s face it, there are only two reasons why your hair isn’t styling the same way it used to: you’re putting relaxers or different hair care products in it, or you’ve lost so much hair that it sits differently on your head. 

If you’re having problems getting that hairstyle that you’ve always had, you may be losing more hair than you think.

Learn about hair-loss friendly hairstyles.

5. You See Hairs Lying Around

While it’s true that we all shed hair (the average adult can expect to lose 70 to 100 hairs per day, according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care), if you’re experiencing male pattern baldness then you can expect a lot more hair to be falling out. 

Check your combs, hairbrushes, shower drain and pillowcases for hair. If you see more than the usual strands lying about, you’re losing your hair.

6. Sunburn on Your Scalp

The benefit of having a thick head of hair is that the top of your head stays protected from UV rays. 

But once your hair starts thinning and you begin to lose that protection, you’ll find that your scalp is more susceptible to sunburn. 

If you’re not spending more time outdoors than usual and your scalp is becoming more sensitive to the sun, you could be losing some of your hair.

What are the Causes of Hair Loss in Your 20s?

Balding in your 20s may be alarming, but it is actually quite common to start experiencing hair loss in your early 20s. 

The first step to treating your hair loss is to identify the root cause. 

Here are the most common types of hair loss in your 20s.

Androgenic Alopecia

Also known as male pattern baldness, this is the most common cause of hair loss. With androgenetic alopecia, hormonal changes cause an increase in androgens, which causes hair follicles to shrink and makes hair thinner and shorter. 

This usually happens gradually over time and often runs in families (check out your family history for clues).

Alopecia Areata

This is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by non-scarring hair loss and the preservation of the hair follicle. 

This causes your hair to fall out and makes it difficult for hair to regrow. Alopecia areata happens more suddenly than male pattern baldness, and may cause a more dramatic loss of hair.

Telogen Effluvium

Aka stress-related hair loss, telogen effluvium may occur after a traumatic event, like a surgery or serious illness. 

Keep in mind that telogen effluvium is not caused by everyday stresses like a hard day at work. However, if you have experienced a recent traumatic event, know that telogen effluvium is typically short-lived.

Trichotillomania

Sometimes, people experiencing a mental health issue will pull out their own hair. If this is the cause of your hair loss, seek out the help of a mental health professional, as therapy or medication may be able to help.

Thyroid Disorders

Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism that are left untreated for a prolonged period of time can cause hair shedding or breakage. 

However, if a thyroid condition is the cause, you will very likely have other symptoms, such as fatigue and weight loss or gain.

Read more about the different types of hair loss in our guide.

Hair Loss (and Hair Care) Treatments for Your 20s

The good news is that if you spot hair loss in your 20s, there’s a very good chance that you have caught it in the very early stages. 

The even better news is that hair loss prevention and treatments work best when used early. Here are some of the treatment plans available that can prevent further hair loss, promote a healthy hair growth cycle and can even help with hair regrowth.

  • Finasteride (generic for Propecia): This oral treatment is very effective at treating male pattern baldness. It works by reducing the androgens (DHT) that lead to male pattern baldness. Through hims, you can also get finasteride as a topical finasteride spray.

  • Minoxidil

    (generic for Rogaine): Minoxidil is an FDA-approved topical treatment for hair loss. Because it is topical, you may experience fewer side effects than a treatment like finasteride. You also can get minoxidil over the counter in the United States. Through hims, you can get both minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam.

  • Biotin Vitamins

    : While biotin vitamins are not a hair loss treatment, biotin is an essential building block for new hair. May help your body grow healthy hair with an extra biotin boost.

  • Hair Thickening Shampoo: Saw palmetto shampoos can ensure that your scalp is clean and healthy to help that hair grow.

  • Other Treatments: If you think your hair loss might have a cause other than male pattern hair loss, see your healthcare provider. Your medical provider can run tests to ensure that nothing else is going on, like a thyroid problem.

Hair Loss in Your 20s

Long story short, if you are experiencing hair loss in your 20s, you are not alone AND you are in a great position to treat your hair loss early and prevent any further balding. 

If you are curious about your options to treat hair loss, read more about how to fix thinning hair on the hims’ blog. 

If you are ready to dive in and get a healthcare provider-recommended hair loss treatment today, meet with a medical provider online from the comfort of your home.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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