ZocdocAnswersWhy would a young guy have hair loss?

Question

Why would a young guy have hair loss?

I'm an 18 year old guy, and I have definitely been experiencing hair loss. You can notice if My hair is short that my hairline is recedingat the corners. Is it true this can be caused by the sodium laurel sulfate in shampoo and soap? What can I do to stop it? It's crazy that this is happening to me at such a young age, because there's no baldness in my family.

Answer

Hair loss at any age can be very distressing. Since you are young, and you do not have a clearly defined family history of hair loss, then you should probably be seen by a specialist. In this case the best type of physician for you to see is a dermatologist. Hairline receding at the corners is most consistent with androgenic alopecia (also known as male pattern baldness). Although it usually starts later in life, it is not unheard of for it to start at your age. Sodium laurel sulfate is a detergent found in some shampoos and toothpaste. It can be irritating to the skin and cause rashes, but has not been shown to cause hair loss. If you are really worried about this ingredient, you can try using a soap without it. There are treatments for androgenic alopecia if that is what you end up having. The first line treatment is a drug called finasteride (also known as Propecia). It has been shown to halt hair loss for at least a year in around 80% of men with male pattern baldness. Second line treatment is a topical drug called minoxidil (Rogaine) which can be effective as well. The dermatologist you see will be able to go over the details of these options with you.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.