Androgenetic Alopecia in Children and Teens: Early Detection and Treatment

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, or male- and female-patterned hair loss, can affect people of all ages, including children and teens. If detected early, treatment can be effective to control and improve the condition. However, identifying the condition in children and teens can be very difficult, as symptoms may not be immediately obvious. Here, we provide background on Androgenetic Alopecia in children and teens, early detection tips and advice on maximising the benefits of early treatment.

Understanding Androgenetic Alopecia in Children and Teens

Androgenetic alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by a combination of hereditary and hormonal factors. It generally appears as a gradual thinning of hair on the scalp, which can be more difficult to detect in children and teens. The condition can be distressing for children and adolescents, and can impact their wellbeing, making early diagnosis and treatment essential.

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Early Symptoms to Watch For

Adult pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia typically begins with an increase of shedding of hairs, along with a widening of the middle parting. This can be hard to detect in young people, as the middle parting may not have become established yet. Other symptoms to look out for include a shrinking of the hair follicles, leading to a shortening of each hair’s lifespan, as well as an increase of vellous hairs.

Tips to Enable Early Detection

If your child is displaying any of the above symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with a dermatologist to diagnose androgenetic alopecia. One way to detect the issue more quickly is to use the ‘pull test’. This involves gently running fingers through the hair and then gently pulling it out. If more than ten hairs are pulled out, it may be an indication of hair-loss. It is advised not to use this method too often, as it can damage the scalp making it harder for the hair to regrow.

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Treatment for Early Detection

Once diagnosed, androgenetic alopecia can be successfully treated in the early stages. Minoxidil is often the go-to treatment option, as it has been proven to improve the symptoms of the condition in children, teens and adults. Minoxidil works to slow and stop the progression of the condition, as well as promoting new hair growth. The medication is available as a lotion or foam, and is applied directly to the scalp twice daily. In addition to Minoxidil, Finasteride may be prescribed to women and adolescents under certain circumstances. The medication helps to reduce the levels of DHT, the hormone responsible for causing baldness. Again, the drug is not suitable for all, but can be a useful treatment for children and teens.

Maximising Health Benefits

Although hair loss is distressing, it is important to consider the wider health implications associated with androgenetic alopecia. In some cases, it can be linked to other conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome. As such, it is important to seek medical advice if necessary. Additionally, research suggests that early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of other physical and mental health issues, which can arise from the psychological distress associated with hair-loss.

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Conclusion

Androgenetic alopecia in children and teens is not a rare condition, and is important to spot early on to facilitate successful treatment, and protect from third parties from any resulting psychological distress. The ‘pull test’ is a useful technique to detect the condition early. If symptoms are spotted, medical advice should be sought immediately, and if the condition is diagnosed, early treatment with Minoxidil or Finasteride may help to slow or stop the progression of the condition. Alongside this, any wider health risks should also be kept in mind to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Keywords: androgenetic alopecia, children, teens, early detection, treatment, diagnosis, Minoxidil, Finasteride, pull test, mental health, physical health.