I am 21 years old and I have been losing my hair since I was 18. My hair loss is severely affecting my self-esteem and confidence and I want to have a hair transplant, but I’ve been told I’m too young is that true?
Some hair transplant surgeons require their patients to be at least twenty-five years of age before considering them for surgery. However, there are exceptions and some surgeons do accept patients that are younger than twenty-five years of age, but this depends on several factors.
Sadly, the majority of individuals who lose their hair at an early age are more likely to develop an aggressive hair loss pattern, which can accelerate rapidly without warning. In addition, hair loss is unstable in the beginning stages of androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss), this makes it difficult for a hair transplant surgeon to plan a long-term strategy that meets the patients current and future needs. Furthermore, the possibility of telogen effluvium (shock loss) is increased when a patient has a large number of miniaturized hair follicles, which is generally the case with young patients.
Moreover, younger patients tend to have unrealistic expectations because they want to restore their hair to match their peers. While this is understandable it is unfortunately not a realistic expectation. The majority of individuals are born with approximately 100,000 hairs on their head which translates to roughly 50,000 follicular unit grafts. Considering the future, it is likely that an individual suffering from hair loss at a young age will eventually lose the front, mid-section and crown (vertex). Thus, requiring upwards to 25,000 grafts to completely restore the entire top of the scalp with original density, which is not surgically possible.
Fortunately, the average donor supply can restore the appearance of fullness in the front two thirds of the scalp with light coverage in the crown (vertex). With that said, there are always exceptions to the rule and some patients under the age of twenty-five may be candidates for hair restoration, as long as they have stabilized their hair loss and have realistic expectations. Genetic hair loss can be stabilized by using Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride) both of these drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss).
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