Most people know that hair loss, whether its minor hair thinning or complete balding, is extremely prevalent for both women and men. However, when people imagine someone experiencing hair loss, they tend to think of someone older, perhaps in their 40s or 50s.
The unfortunate truth of hair loss is that it can happen to adults of all ages. Whether the hair loss is specifically caused by a genetic predisposition, stress, illness, or some combination of factors, hair loss can occur in people as early as their 20s. In fact, hair loss in millennials has been found to be even more prevalent than early adulthood hair loss in previous generations.
Millennials and Hair Loss: Why Are People Losing Their Hair Earlier?
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s. Therefore, millennials are now the young adults of today, ranging from their mid-20s to their mid to late 30s. Research suggests that millennials are experiencing hair loss at a much higher rate when compared to their mothers and fathers at their age.
Hair loss can be caused by a wide variety of factors, especially for young people. Here are the top two reasons why this specific generation of young adults might be losing their hair:
Stress. There’s no doubt about it: young people today are under more stress professionally than many other generations. Though today’s young adults aren’t getting married as young on average and may not have to support a family in their 20s the way previous generations have, living costs have skyrocketed in recent years, making it more and more difficult to support even yourself on an average salary.
Additionally, due to an oversaturated job market, many millennials find it difficult to land a well-paying job in their field, even with a college degree. Some grads with advanced degrees even struggle to make ends meet after years of intensive schooling. Therefore, it’s no wonder that today’s young adults are under more stress in their professional lives than previous generations—things like affordable housing and high-paying jobs just aren’t as guaranteed as they used to be, even for well-educated people.
Extreme stress can cause a lot of undesirable side effects, but one of the most prominent is hair loss. Though stress can be a catalyst for anxiety, depression, low motivation, and other mental symptoms, it can also manifest itself in physical symptoms, one prominent example being the slowing down or pausing of the natural hair growth cycle.
Incorporating a self-care routine can greatly diminish the mental and physical effects of stress, and most people experiencing hair loss as a stress symptom should notice their hair return to normal after a few months once their stress levels have been reduced. However, if your hair loss continues into normal pattern baldness (usually manifesting as a receding hairline in men
and thinning at the hair part for women), you may be slipping into genetic hair loss early due to the effects of stress.
Diet. Being deficient in vital nutrients can cause a host of health problems. When it comes to maintaining healthy hair, however, some of the most important nutrients to pack into your diet are vitamins, iron, biotin, and protein.
With the rise of processed food in the past few decades, most young people don’t prioritize the inclusion of whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources like meat, fish, tofu, and legumes into their diet, especially if money is an object. Unfortunately, those that are trying to feed themselves on a strict budget will often have to forgo fresh food and choose cheaper, less healthy options, therefore reducing their intake of vitamins and minerals.
Another huge factor in terms of the diets of millennials is the ever-growing popularity of vegetarianism and veganism. Though these diets have been around for thousands of years in different cultures, millennials have adopted them at staggering rates. Though there are many known health benefits associated with cutting out meat or cutting out all animal products from your diet including reduced inflammation and better digestion, there are also some significant downsides.
Some of the most prominent sources of protein and iron in the human diet come from animal products, particularly meat. When a diet excludes meat, you’ll have to work twice as hard to receive your daily necessary intake of these crucial nutrients, meaning many vegetarians and vegans end up massively undereating protein and iron. Maintaining a deficiency in these nutrients can not only stall hair growth and cause hair to thin and fall out, it can greatly decrease energy and affect your circulatory system, especially for those with anemia or other red blood cell-affecting conditions.