Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/15/2021
Losing your hair can be a stressful, difficult experience, especially when you first start to notice it early in your life.
Although we usually associate hair loss with middle age, it’s quite common to begin to lose hair before the age of 25.
In fact, research shows that approximately 16 percent of men between 18 and 29 years of age are affected by moderate to extensive hair loss.
If you’re below the age of 25 and have already noticed some level of hair loss, it’s important not to panic. Hair loss is treatable and preventable.
However, it’s important to take action as quickly as you can to prevent your hair loss from worsening.
Below, we’ve explained how and why hair loss can happen in men under the age of 25. Our list covers male pattern baldness and five much less common causes of hair loss, including certain medical conditions and lifestyle-related causes.
To help you keep your hair well into your 30s, 40s and beyond, we’ve also explained what you can do to treat, prevent and even reverse hair loss.
Although hair loss is often associated with older men, it can begin at any age, including in your mid-20s.
Most hair loss in men is caused by androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness — a form of hair loss that’s linked to hormonal and genetic factors.
Hair loss from male pattern baldness is permanent, meaning it’s important to take action quickly if you’re starting to lose your hair and want to keep it for as long as possible.
These medications are effective, but you’ll need to take them for several months before you’ll notice any significant improvements.
As well as using medication, it’s important to maintain healthy habits to keep your hair in good condition.
In addition to male pattern baldness, certain other factors, such as stress, diet and some medical conditions, may cause temporary hair loss during your 20s.
A variety of factors can cause hair loss throughout your life, including before you reach the age of 25. Common causes of hair loss include:
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men of all ages. It’s caused by a mix of genetic and hormonal factors and typically starts in your 20s or thirties.
If you’re otherwise fit and healthy but have started to notice your hairline receding or the hair on your scalp becoming thinner, it’s likely due to male pattern baldness.
Hair loss from male pattern baldness is permanent, but it’s also treatable. We’ve talked more about how this form of hair loss happens and how you can treat it further down the page.
Hair loss can occur due to severe forms of stress or trauma. This type of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium and often results in diffuse, rapid hair loss that affects your entire scalp.
We’ve talked more about how this form of hair loss occurs in our guide to stress and hair loss.
Some diseases and medical conditions can cause hair loss. These include thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, fungal infections of your scalp, lupus, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances and other conditions.
Sometimes, hair loss can develop if you’re deficient in certain essential vitamins, minerals or nutrients. For example, you may notice your hair thinning if you’re deficient in zinc, iron, biotin or protein.
We’ve talked more about nutrients and hair health in our guide to essential vitamins for healthy hair.
Some medications, including certain beta-blockers, amphetamines and anticoagulants, may cause hair loss.
Injury to your skin and hair follicles can also cause hair loss. For example, some people experience traction alopecia — a form of hair loss caused by hair styling techniques that put stress on the hair.
While several different things can cause hair loss, the most common form of hair loss in men — and as such, the most likely culprit if you’re beginning to lose your hair in your early or mid-20s — is male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is caused by a combination of your genetics and the effects of male sex hormones. More specifically, it’s caused by the effects of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
DHT is created as a byproduct of testosterone. Like other hormones, it binds to receptors within your body. When DHT binds to the receptors in your hair follicles, it can damage the follicles and stop them from producing new hairs.
The effects of DHT on your hair aren’t immediate. Instead, DHT can gradually damage your hair follicles over the course of months or years, leading to everything from a receding hairline to full baldness.
It’s common to notice the first signs of male pattern baldness during your 20s. If you’re prone to male pattern baldness, you may notice mild recession in your hairline as you enter your 20s, or significant hair loss that worsens over the course of several years.
We’ve talked more about the relationship between DHT and male pattern baldness in our guide to DHT and hair loss.
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Hair loss is almost always treatable. Today, several FDA-approved medications are available to prevent and treat hair loss.
There are also safe, effective cosmetic procedures that can improve your hair if you’ve already lost a significant amount.
If you’re starting to lose your hair and you’re under 25, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible to prevent it from worsening.
Currently, the most effective medications for treating and preventing hair loss from male pattern baldness are finasteride and minoxidil.
Finasteride is a prescription medication. It comes in tablet form and needs to be taken on a daily basis.
Although finasteride doesn’t cure hair loss, it can prevent it from worsening and may even help you to regrow some of your “lost” hair.
Finasteride works by stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT. A typical dose of finasteride has been shown to reduce DHT levels by upwards of 70 percent.
By doing this, finasteride prevents DHT from damaging your hair follicles and stops your hair loss from worsening.
Research shows that finasteride is highly effective at treating hair loss. In a 10-year study, about 99 percent of men who used finasteride experienced no further hair loss. Around 91 percent of the men experienced improvements in hair growth after starting treatment with finasteride.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
You can also learn more about how finasteride works in our full guide to using finasteride to treat hair loss.
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical medication that stimulates hair growth. Like finasteride, it doesn’t cure male pattern baldness. However, it may improve the growth, thickness and general appearance of your hair.
Minoxidil is available as a liquid solution or foam. It’s easy to apply and is designed for use twice daily.
Research shows that minoxidil is effective. In a large study from 2004, 84.3 percent of men with male pattern baldness who used minoxidil rated it as “very effective,” “effective” or “moderately effective” at improving their hair growth.
Other research has found that minoxidil is even more effective when it’s used at the same time as finasteride.
Although minoxidil is mostly used to treat male pattern baldness, it’s also effective at stimulating growth after other forms of hair loss, including hair loss due to medical conditions or medication use.
We offer minoxidil online, either on its own or with finasteride in our Hair Power Pack. You can also learn more about how minoxidil works and how you can use it to treat hair loss in our full guide to applying minoxidil for hair growth.
While good habits won’t prevent male pattern baldness, maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help to improve your hair growth and general hair health. Try to:
Use a hair loss prevention shampoo. Some shampoos, including those that contain ingredients such as saw palmetto and/or ketoconazole, may have preventative effects against male pattern baldness. We’ve provided more information about this topic in our guide to what you should look for in a men’s hair loss shampoo.
Get enough hair-friendly vitamins, minerals and nutrients. From specific vitamins to minerals like zinc and iron, a variety of nutrients play a role in fueling the growth of your hair.
If you smoke, try to quit. Research shows that smoking may damage your hair at the DNA level as well as in other fundamental ways.
Talk to your healthcare provider about medications. If you’re prescribed medication that’s linked to hair loss, talk to your healthcare provider. You may be able to switch to a different medication or adjust your dosage to avoid any negative effects on your hair. It’s important not to make any changes to your use of medication by yourself. Reach out to healthcare provider for help and follow their advice closely to keep yourself safe while using any type of medication.
You can learn more about maintaining good habits for optimal hair health in our guide to habits and lifestyle changes for improved hair growth.
Hair loss can begin at any age, including before you reach 25. If you’re starting to lose your hair and think that it could be male pattern baldness, it’s important to act quickly to stop more of your hair from falling out.
The most effective treatments for stopping and reversing male pattern baldness are finasteride and minoxidil. You can start these treatments in your 20s and continue using them as you grow older to prevent your hair from worsening with age.
If your hair loss is caused by a medical condition, medication or other factor, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider for more information on your treatment options.