Typically, hair loss is associated with aging. Around 85 percent of men see significant thinning or balding by the time they reach 50-years-old. But thinning and shedding are not conditions limited to parents, retirees and seniors. Millennials are detecting hair loss and seeking treatment more often, even though early onset hair loss is traditionally viewed as rare.
One possible link between Millennials and hair loss is stress. Telogen effluvium (TE), or stress-induced hair loss, affects individuals of all ages. However, Millennials may be at a higher risk given their unusually high stress levels.
According to the 2015 Stress in America report from the American Psychological Association, Millennials share significantly higher trauma and worry compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers. More Millennials said their stress had increased in the year prior compared to older respondents. Despite being the most likely age group to practice coping methods to minimize stress, most said they don’t feel they are doing enough to manage their emotional discomfort.
Millennials, especially young women, are more likely to experience depression. One in 5 young workers get depressed at work, compared to just 16 percent of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. Over half say their emotional state disrupts their sleep and 40 percent say their condition is getting worse.¹
Unlike male pattern baldness, TE is a diffuse form of hair loss that spreads across the scalp, similar to female pattern hair loss (FPHL). Symptoms typically arise 2-3 months after a triggering event and last for around 6 months, research shows.² Often, less than 50 percent of the total scalp hair count is lost. And, the condition usually reverses itself.
For individuals who suffer persistent stress and anxiety, chronic telogen effluvium (CTE) can occur. CTE lasts for more than 6 months and is characterized by alarming and abrupt – but diffuse – thinning across the scalp.
Telogen effluvium is likely the second most common cause of hair loss, but specific statistics are not available due to a lack of substantial research on the condition and its causes specifically. We know TE occurs when there is a change in the number of active hair follicles – essentially getting “stuck” in the resting (telogen) phase of hair growth. And, emotionally traumatic events can interrupt the transition of follicles back to the anagen (growing) stage.
Given the causes of TE, it’s clear that emotional wellbeing is a driving factor in early onset or unexpected hair loss. With Millennials reporting higher levels of stress than any other generation, they may see unexpected hair loss because of worry more often than other age groups.
In addition, Millennials may express outwardly concern over hair loss due to their drive for information and answers. Thanks to online resources, non-invasive hair loss treatments and a general sense of open-mindedness among Generation Y, the stigma surrounding hair loss and seeking treatment is fading.
To understand your hair loss and see if you’re a candidate for low-level laser therapy with Capillus®, fill out our hair loss evaluation form. Check out our guide to fighting hair loss for more information on hair loss conditions, causes and treatment options.
² Malkud, S. (2015). Telogen Effluvium: A Review. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 9(9), WE01–WE03. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2015/15219.6492