Hair Loss at 23: A Young Man’s Struggle

I started losing my hair at age 19. It has gone from being absolutely thick to being very thin, and sparse. I am 23 now and have lost a significant amount of hair, people freak out when I tell them I am 23, I look like im 40 or something. I am also suffering from premature hair greying so that adds to the turmoil. About 60% of my hair is grey. Everytime I go out with my friends, I feel so depressed at the sight of a full head of thick black hair. All it takes to spoil a great day is a look in the mirror. I was a very handsome guy, had a great personality and my hair was very dense, thick and pitch black but thats when genetics decided to spoil the day. I feel so depressed sometimes when I look at the mirror, I’ve become very nervous over the years and I’m tired of fighting with my feelings for the past 5 years dealing with this mess. My confidence has shattered and this is taking so my much of my attention that I cannot focus on what is important in life. I see my friends going out, getting girlfriends, checking out 20 year olds and everytime I look at a 20 year old she thinks I’m some sick 30 year old hitting on college chicks. I don’t know how to deal with this and I have made myself to believe that I’ll be made to suffer for life for no fault of my own. I know people say ” its just hair loss, suck it up” but I wouldn’t want this curse to haunt the worst of my enemies.

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Dear Needless,

What you are describing is exactly what most young hair loss sufferers go through, and I always say, you are not alone!

Experiencing  hair loss at this stage of your life can be extremely difficult, however, I believe that dealing with this issue early on only makes you better equipped to deal with everything else that life is going to throw at you. I know that this was the case for me.

By the time I was your age I realized that life simply was not fair, and that we have two choices when faced with adversity. The first choice is to just lay down and allow hair loss to take over your life, and the second choice is to play the hell out of the cards you’ve been dealt. I choose door number two.

Don’t get me wrong, I suffered for many years because of my hair loss. I still get down at times when I have a really bad hair day, or take a good look in the mirror at what I really look like when I don’t hide my hair loss with creative combing etc.

We’re all in agreement that hair loss sucks! I liken it to being a “cancer of the spirit,” but I am hear to tell you that there is life after hair loss and that you will find a way to get through it.

It is now possible to stop or slow the progression of your hair loss using FDA approved medication, so It’s important to see a doctor to discuss your options. No matter what you decide to do, you should use this time in your life to work on your career and to move forward emotionally. Do not let hair loss paralyze or rob you of your life, like it has done to so many people before.

Here’s something to keep in mind: As men our stock goes up as we get older and more established. Before you know it, you will be getting those 20 year-olds even when your in your 30′s, and no one will think twice.

Hair loss is NOT a death sentence even though it might feel that way right now. Dealing with hair loss will be a process, but you will find a way to empower yourself and to enrich your life if you want it bad enough.

I think you should check out our new hair loss community to share your story. It’s a great place to find support from others in your exact situation. http://www.baldtruthtalk.com

Be strong!

Spencer Kobren
Host of The Bald Truth Radio Show
Founder, American Hair Loss Association
Founder and Director of Consumer/Patient Affairs, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS.ORG)

 

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27 Comments

  • hey I understand everything you are going through. I am 21 year old male and feel the sameway everytime i look un the miror. i thank you for writing this, and wanted to know if there was a age to get hair transplant

  • Hi,

    I need some advice on scalp reductions please!!!

    I started to lose my hair at the age of 17-18 and it had a profound impact on me. I went to a dermatologist who recommended a very good hair transplant doctor and at the age of 19, I had my first hair transplant which really helped my confidence. As the years progressed, I started to lose hair in the crown area and it was suggested to have a scalp reduction.

    Well, i’m 33 years old and i’ve had 5 transplants and 5 scalp reductions. Along with some cover up, my hair looks pretty good!

    But i’m still losing air in the crown area! My question is: Do scalp reductions really work? What about stretch back?

    I still wonder back to the days when I was 17, and wonder if I had just shaved my head bald!!

    Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated, thanks.

  • alsoconcerned

    What you’ve written here describes exactly what I’m going through, word for word in fact. I’m also 23, started losing at 19 and it’s got to the point where I can’t walk down the street without feeling nervous. I can’t shave my head and can’t afford a hair transplant at the minute, but I’m looking into hair replacement systems. No-one wants to have to do that, but imagine the confidence you can regain if you’re not worrying about it. Hey, it’s better that than live a life of being depressed, hairdirect and coolpiece are pretty good from what I gather. You’re not alone mate, I’m right there with you.

  • Fallen Skork

    I’m 21 , I started to lose my hair at age 16, I remember crying myself to sleep because I like any guy at that age was always worried about my looks and what people thought of me. Throughout my early teenage years I used to comb my hair back, but in highschool I decided to change hair styles so I parted it because I decided I was going to grow long hair. Well my hair is a little over 12 inches long now, one day I combed it back to my old hair style and I really noticed how much hair I’ve lost, my current style conceals it well but its starting to become more noticeable. My hairs thin on top and as months go by my forehead looks like its growing. More and more people are starting to notice, and I’ve gotten some rude remarks by bald guys themselves lol. The thing is before I had my long hair and before I combed it back I used to have it bald ( like a 2 ) and people always told me I used to look ugly, so when I go completely bald, I’m just going to shave it all off.
    I’m just worried that ill never find a girl my age and that people will look at me differently, which I know they will. I just hate the fact that I’m going bald at this age and I wish there was a cure, I just cannot afford transplants which they tell me someone as young as me shouldn’t get because of the progressing male pattern, I don’t want to take propecia because I hear it has very nasty side effects, and I’d rather go bald than not have a dick haha. Rogaine, that’s just a waste of money. Your hair will still fall out and it makes your scalp very itchy. It seems that nobody really has a choice when it comes to male pattern baldness..I feel bad for women who have this. All I can really do is wait for mother nature to do its thing…still when I look at the mirror I tell myself that this isn’t the last time ill have hair, eventually someone will find a cure ( not a treatment), the best bet we have now is stem cell research. Goodluck guys, remember…..our looks fade away one day and this happens to all.

  • scousetox

    i know how youfeel i got alopecia when i was like 6 or 7 and im now 33 i had bald patches when i was younger but wheni was like 21 ilost all my hair i dont know if its related i also have severe ocd (like washing my hands fifty times a day) im really nervous i have had mild agrophobia for like 10 years i also rely heavily on cannabis (probably were most of the stress iscoming from)thats me peace out any waypeps hope yall get better

  • riseagan

    I feel you man. I’ll be 20 next month and i’ve been losing my hair for a about 2 years. It hurts quite a bit. Every time i get out of the shower i feel depressed when i look in the mirror. All it takes to ruin my mood for the rest of the night is looking at it. Whenever i’m outside of my home, I don’t feel comfortable unless i’m wearing a hat because I can’t stand it when someone makes a short little joke about it. They forget about it a minute later, but what they said is on my mind for a day or two. I have massive hair envy as well. Whenever i’m watching t.v, the first thing i look at is the actors hair, I can’t help it, i just do. And every time one of them has a nice head of hair I can’t help but wish with I had the same. Its the same even walking down the street.
    You’re not a lone my friend. Thank you for posting this too, it helps knowing I myself am not alone.

  • bald@27

    Im browsing in the Internet on baldness in young man and I found this site. Im 27 years old and Im getting bald at my crown area and more obvious at the left back of my head. Ive started to notice this since last year. It irritates me most when other people comment on my baldness and make assumption on what causes my baldness like im using too much of hair product, I have cancer, Ive been taking too much of fried chicken, how pity I am of having baldness at young age etc.

    Im not sure whether Im hearing voices or not, but I get the feeling of people are commenting my hair whenever I walk pass them. It makes me very sad and angry all at the same time. Not to mention, everytime I take bath and wake up from bed, Ill check how much hair follicles will stick on my towel or on my pillow. I even check my back hair everytime before I go out hoping I will know how severe is my baldness condition and Ill not be too sad when other people comment me later.

    So far, Ive not visit a doctor to ask for treatment. Maybe I should do so. Deep down in me, I hope all the hair falling is due to stress or imbalance diet. But I know, late treatment might make the condition worse.

    I just post here to vent my feelings. Good luck guys. Bald guys can be stylish or sexy too, I think.

  • started losing my hair at age 19. It has gone from being absolutely thick to being very thin, and sparse. I am 23 now and have lost a significant amount of hair, people freak out when I tell them I am 28, my girl friend not impreseed to me. please give idea how to protest my hair fall.

  • bald@27

    @ravi. First of all, you must know the cause of your hair fall. Seeking advice from a dermatologist is a good idea. Once you know the cause then you can start on treatment under the dermatologist advice. Hair fall can be due to stress, diet, fungal infection, hormonal imbalance etc. There are medicine out there to halt hair fall and promote hair growth, though the effectiveness varies among individuals.

    Good luck. Accepting the fact that you will be bald will make you feel better and less affected by other people comments.

  • Think I noticed losing my hair when i was around 19 and I’m turning 21 this yr. It has receeded for sure, I’ve always been thin around the temples but if I pull my hair back it’s obvious. None of my friends have noticed cause my hair seems to be able to cover it up. I have thick hair every else and I just think if only I had a good hair line. I can’t push my hair back unless i want it exposed fricken sucks. It really eats me up at times and I haven’t been back to the hairdresser in ages. I use to love the hair dresser and girls washing my hair. But now I’m too embarassed to go and I get my mum to cut my hair. My last haircut I was happy with but then i have days when i push my hair back and realise my haireline is shite then I feel like shit. I have a twin brother completly different to me and he hasn’t got a problem. It sucks. it’s unfair I know how u guys feel. Like apart from receeded area my hair is really thick and nice which pisses me off cause im in 2 minds of what to do. I’m thinking should I just shave it or just have it short cause it seems I got enough to cover the sides. But I’d rather have a nice hairline to show off and lose it all later even at like late 20′s than have a recession in the hairline and be young and self conscious about it. It’s fine if ur balding when ur older but when ur late teens early 20′s it’s crippling. I don’t want to take drugs or anything my doctor said to wait but I won’t get any anyways.

  • well it all started when went to college ,my hair starting falling.i did everything homeopathy,medicines,lotions,everything but it wont stop.now i am 20 and i have only one option shave my head.now i remain like this only…

  • Hi everyone, I hope you are all feeling better about your situations. I too am struggling with hair loss at an early age. Every male member in my family is completely bald so I expected the same result eventually. I first noticed hair loss at 18, and now that I am 25 I can’t even cover it up anymore. I was lucky enough (or was I?) to be able to afford a hair transplant which I did between 23 – 24, however, it was not successful. I know the sooner I accept the fact that I will be completely bald I will be able to lead a better life, but I can’t help but constantly feel ugly and just lack any self-confidence. In addition to that, I can no longer completely shave my head as I now have a long scar along the back of my head where the donor hair was taken during my surgery. Anyway, thank you all for listening, this has actually made me feel a little better. My best wishes to all of you, hopefully some day we can walk with our heads up high. Good luck.

  • hii guys…….iam raj iam also victim of same disease dats baldness in younger age……..i had thick hairs till 20 den all of sudden i started loosin hairs n nw iam 24 n iam bald in crown area………..ill be alwys insecure in sittin in front of ma frends bcuz dey may do fun of me………baldness is okkk but whyy @ dis young whyy us onlyyyyyy…….u said right baldness colepses our selfconfidence……………

  • hi guys!!! offcourse i am at this page because i am having the same problem im 24 and started to note my hair loss at 22. my hair were very very thick just 3,4 years back but now becoming thinner and more thinner. like all of you i also feel depressed and sometimes i feel life has just been ruined because maybe oneday i will be bald :(
    my father’s and all my uncles hairlines are still intact and none is bald in my whole family except my grand father but he’s too old to be bald. i just wish this had never been happened to anyone in this whole universe because it hurts alot and all the times i say my prayers i pray for a CURE to be found soon so that we should not be worried about our pathetic problem. please guys you too pray for a cure to be found soon

  • Horseshoe

    Rajesh, you got more than hair to worry about. Go to school and retake English 101. You see, when you compare two guys of equal education and experience but one has hair and the other is bald, they are more likely to hire the guy with hair. But if you compare a guy with a full head of hair and no education with a bald guy with education, the bald guy will get the job and be able to afford a treatment for his hairloss.
    Good Luck.

  • NW777

    Horseshoe, you are correct. I can’t understand what rajesh, wrote and barely what he was trying to convey. We already come to bat at the plate with one strike against us for being bald and then to add a second strike leaves you with only one more swing at the plate. Fix/Correct/change what you have control over. Accept/endure/tolerate what you can’t change.

  • I started seeing hair loss at about 16-17 years old in high school, and I even once had a teacher point it out in front of other students, but no one really ever said anything to me until I started getting shorter hair cuts instead of having long hair. At around 18-19 it began to get very noticable, and I got more “feedback”, and ever since its gotten worse and worse, I’m now 20 (almost 21), and I must say it made me very upset for a long time, especially the first time I shaved my hair down to a level 1 on the clippers, but honestly I realized the hair doesn’t change who you are, if you let it drag you down you will never be yourself, and thats what people should see, if you start to accept it, you can slowly gain confidence back, yes some women do just judge you by how you look, but a lot of women judge by how you present yourself, and if you’re slouching around like I was for a long time, you’re not presenting yourself well at all. I still have some days where I swear it looks worse and itll drag me down for a morning but I get over it. Enjoy the life you have while you can.

  • Howdy fellas,

    Well hair loss eh! Well there are many causes to hair loss, and no doctor will tell you exactly what you cause is. Sure it is genetics, but what causes the genes to behave in such a way? I am more than convinced that hair loss is a combination of many things, from genetics, to kidney, liver spleen toxic levels, to a weak metabolism, to stress. At least for us people in the 20s and 30s. All of these changes occur in combination with changes in our hormonal levels and since nowadays we no longer consume healthy organic food as nature intended, we are doomed to alternate our hormonal production ways through the food and chemicals we eat which in the long run ruin our bodies. Hair being the most useless “organ” so to speak is the first that goes away. All of these things together combined with the sexual behaviour and activity simply alter how our bodies function. There is not much you can do about it, but seriously you must learn to know yourself better, and not be so weak. If hair is what defines you as a human being than that life is a waste of oxygen. Bald away gracefully, if you want to shave it go ahead, but don’t buy into the bs market of dealing with hair loss. The people in your life or those you will meet will know what you have done, and that speaks more about your lack of confidence with being who you are. It’s a shame that our culture is so superficial where people pass judgement all the time from baldness to obesity, to looks. Just be who you are…as far as women, you definitely don’t want to tie yourself to a woman that is with your because of your hair. You would have to be f* insane to do so.

  • I’m 25 and experiencing the same thing. All through my life I’ve had long hair to go with my rocker way of life, my flag, my showing of freedom in this world, along with my style. Im losing my mane, and my mind. I’ve always been happy and joyful, laughing. Never have I been more depressed. Never have I though of the easy way out of this life so much. I cry when i look in the mirror to see the one thing I loved so much about me just fall away. I use Nioxin to try to help my strive, but i feel as though its just heartbreak to see its giving me very small results. Im broke, trying to get through school, work 2 jobs and am doing my best. But its hard to even wake up in the morning with my completely shattered confidence. I hate the fact i have to hide this behind a hat, or wear a bandana like Bret Michaels to hide my top. I can’t afford any hair transplants, and I’m not oblivious to the fact of aging. I don’t mind wrinkles, or even grey hair. But when I see a 50 year old guy with a hair line, while mine is becoming a horseshoe, I’m devastated. I don’t feel sexy anymore, I don’t feel good about myself, I can’t enjoy the wind in my hair anymore. Im surprised there’s products for women hair loss out there like crazy, but nothing for us men. I don’t care for the comment “Let Nature Take Its Course” because its a bullshit statement. If we were to be natural, we’d be dead at 40 from natural diseases that are treated by unnatural drugs, and we’d all be running around naked in the forests hunting our meals with our bare hands. My hair is who I am, as vein and cheesy as that sounds. And since I’m losing my hair, I’m losing myself along with it.

  • I am 21. I started losing hair when I was 16. I used to be quite handsome, but now ( I think ) I look like that bald hobbit from lord of the rings! :D You know, first of all I am so glad I found this page & read everyone’s stories. They are so similar to mine.. I feel happy (strangely) knowing that I’m not the only one.

    I certainly learned that my hairline doesn’t define me. Yes I’m not handsome & I admit it, yes I’m not confident, yes I’m always nervous around people, & yes I’m jealous of other people with hairs. But feeling this way won’t bring hairs back on my head. Infact, it’s making me depressed and too self-consious. But I’m gonna change. Today I was actually surfing trying to find a good doctor to discuss my options. I already took minoxidil but stoped about an year ago. Transplants are too expensive for me and today I completely ruled it out after knowing about it’s after and side effects. After reading all the posts here, I feel much better. It certainly would help me dealing with the growing inferior complexities in me.

    I had a girlfriend when I was better looking. Then I started losing hairs but she’s still with me. She says she doesn’t care how I look as long as I love her! :) That really boosted some confidence in me when I’m with her. I’m a humourous guy & believe me despite being half-bald, people mingles with me, laughs…& this makes me feel better. Of course some pass rude funny comments which definitely puts me down, but I learned to recover by ignoring my hair & be myself: a smart, humourous guy! Believe me, your true friends will always be with you & even if they pass comments, dealing with them will be easier. Be yourself. Focus on your career. You are not going to have hairs just face it, the sooner the better. Don’t worry about girls. Try to impress others by words & deeds and not by looks.

    I’m feeling so good sharing my feelings with people that I know will understand me. Thank you so much everyone. :)

  • Lindsay

    Hi , I’m 50 been bald for 30 years. Yes it is a worry when you are young but life will go on with or without hair. The truth is the only person who cares is you. Your wife and kids won’t . Look into your heart not the mirror and get on with it.

  • Josh,

    We understand how you feel mate. Been there done that. But you are limiting your world to hair. Sure it sucks, but it sucks because you are using a stardard that is shoved down your throat through the media 24/7. There was a time in human history and still is in many cultures where bald is the way to go.

    But in our country it isn’t the interest of the money hungry lobby to make people like you feel sick about themselves so you go out there, with hope in your hand wasting your money and time while they drink the beer to the bank.

    first thing to know, is life is not fair, some lose hair, others lose arms and legs. Put things into perspective mate. Besides what makes you think that people who have hair are actually happy?

    Be strong man, grow a character. You are a victim only if you make yourself vulnerable to being a victim. Either way, the reality will not change. It’s just a matter of getting used to. A good exercise is to think back when you were younger and your legs and arms didn’t have the same hair they do at your age now…Do you remember freaking out about that hair showing up in your arms and legs?

    Be strong man. And as far as girls, trust me, you don’t want to be with a girl who is with you because of your hair.

  • Im 23 yrs nw…. my hair strtd fallin a the age of 18.At childhood days usually my teacher will say, you are a handsome guy.Nw im feelin very depressed about my hair loss..Usually i have a bike,i like to drive fast but nw im feelin very depressed to go out witth my frnds and avoided lot of my frnds because of this fucking hair loss.Why god created us and im crying daily and why i want to be alive???????????????????????

  • Rocco

    I felt the need to chime in here. I know how you all feel because I was in the same place (kind of still am). The first time I noticed I was losing my hair was at a party where a girl standing on a balcony above me said “hey you have a bald spot.” I snuck off after a few minutes and looked in the mirror and sure enough my hair was thinning at the crown. Not a completly bald spot but much thinner and lighter. For the rest of the night and next year or two I obsessed over my hair loss. It seemed like the end of the world. No more hot
    young girls, no more swimming without the anxiety of someone seeing it, wearing hats everywhere in public. I wanted to shave it but wasn’t sure how I’d look: head shape, scars, etc. One day though, after a few beers I said screw it and busted out the clippers. When I
    Woke up in the morning I thought “oh god what did I just do, now everyone will know what I’ve been hiding for 2 years” At first I got the expected shocked looks and jokes from my buddies but after the initial shock wore off so did the jokes. I’ll tell you, shaving my head was the best thing I could have done. No more hiding under hats or staying home. It was an amazing feeling. That shite will drive you crazy, but once you accept that that’s who you are the better you’ll feel. It’s been since feb of 2011 since I first shaved it and since then I’ve managed to pull some of the best looking
    Girls of my life. Some women LOVE shaved heads. Some hate them but it’s not Like all girls liked me when I had hair so no big deal, right? Now at 23, I have an amazing 19 year old girlfriend now who doesn’t care one bit about me being bald,(even when I let it grow in a bit and look 40 lol) so don’t think you’ll never get a girl again and accept the cards you’ve been dealt in life. Sure I’d like a full head of hair ( just like I’d like to be a 6’5″ millionaire with a ten inch dick) Bit I don’t so I dealt with it on my own way. What trying to say is accept who you are and enjoy life. Be happy you’re not in a wheelchair or mentally challenged or starving to death. It could always be worse, it’s just hair. Hopefully I helped at least one of you and if not and you need more help check out “sly bald guys.” just google that. There’s a lot of guys there going through the same thing and they have a lot of good advice and experiences to share. Good luck guys
    -Rocco

  • Hey guys,

    Im 24 and losing my hair. i understand how everyone feels etc but i just want to say, remember that over 75% of men go bald eventually, yeah we are going bald early but a good handful of people have lost it by the time they hit their 30′s. dont give in to the media’s self image bullshit.

    if ur having trouble finding a girl i want you to also remember this, most girls: 1) are also extremely self conscious. 2) by their late 20′s realise that its not all about looks and will look for someone that will provide for them and a family. 3) everyone eventually looks like their grandparents.

    girls may not find u attractive now but they eventually will look passed the lack of hair and realise they arent perfect themselves. no one is. trust me odds are u wouldnt be getting glamours even if u had a full head of hair. go get urself a sweet girl, lower your “look standards” and stop envying the bloke with the full head of hair and model girlfriend cos garaunteed he will have a few mis-comings of his own.

    hang in there its only gonna get better!

  • hii friends im 24yrs and i started thinning and losing ma hairs at 19.I am very glad to read this forum and happy to know that im not alone. I have got good frnds who understands me , sometimes i become frustrated and nervous while looking at the mirror but now im coping with this.There are some people who likes to see the negatives in us , first of all we have to ignore their comments , they are born to criticize others.One fact is there if you are having a girlfriend who loves you and ur bald head!!! , her love comes from the deep of her heart.
    your comments are very inspiring MAK. I like ur positive attitude . All who posts here have the same feelings…you are not alone frnds….

  • I started going bald at about 17, and it only got worse from there. I’m 22 now and still dealing with it. In school I tried to hide it the best I could with a hat and longer hair, and while the hat is still a mainstay in my wardrobe, I’ve decided to go the way of Bruce Willis. I started Shaving my head a year or so ago, and it instantly helped my self esteem. I get the occasional “Chrome dome” or “Skin head” comment, but I treat it as if someone said I had a big nose, and just blow them off. I was already big guy, and a bald head only added to my intimidating looks, but the ladies don’t seem to mind, infact they seem to love it. Trying to fight it and worrying about it seems to only make the problem worse, so why not embrace it? By not worrying about has actually seemed to help, and I’ve started to see some minor regrowth. I hope I’ve helped the rest of you in some way. I went through a lot of the same things that you have, and I know how hard it is. Stay strong and don’t give up hope, there’s life after baldness.

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