Baldness or hair loss is typically something only adults need to worry about. But in a few cases, teens lose their hair, too — and it may be a sign that something's going on. Hair loss during adolescence can mean a person's sick or maybe just not eating right. Some medications or medical treatments, like chemotherapy treatment for cancer, also cause people to lose their hair. And people can even lose their hair if they wear a hairstyle that pulls on their hair for a long time, such as braids.
Losing hair can be stressful during a time when appearance really matters, but the good news is that hair loss that happens during the teen years is often temporary. Once the problem that causes it is corrected, the hair usually grows back.
Our hair is made of a type of protein called keratin. A single hair consists of a hair shaft (the part that shows), a root below the skin, and a follicle, from which the hair root grows. At the lower end of the follicle is the hair bulb, where the hair's color pigment, or melanin, is produced.
Most people lose about 50 to 100 head hairs a day. These hairs are replaced — they grow back in the same follicle on your head. This amount of hair loss is totally normal and no cause for worry. If you're losing more than that, though, something may be wrong. The medical term for hair loss — losing enough hair that a person has visibly thin or balding patches — is alopecia.
If you have unusual hair loss and don't know what's causing it, it's a good idea to see your doctor. A doctor can determine why the hair is falling out and suggest a treatment that will correct the underlying problem, if necessary.