Where Did All Of My Hair Go? I Had Hair Loss As A Teenager!

hair loss as a teenager

Seriously, what the hell, hair?! | Source: Shutterstock

Back in high school, I had awesome hair. Thick and perfectly curly without any issues. I used to get compliments on it all the time. Then, I turned 18 and my hair changed. It started to get thin–but I thought, only dudes have hair loss, so it couldn’t be anything serious. When I was home visiting my parents once, my mom started playing with my hair. She pulled my hair into a ponytail and said, “Whoa! Where did all of your hair go?”

I thought something was weird with my hair, but I didn’t realize it was a real problem until she said something. She thought it could even be a medical issue. So, I did what I normally do with medical problems . . . ignore it until it goes away. (Spoiler alert: This plan never, ever works.)

I managed to ignore it for a while, until this family wedding. There was a professional photographer snapping pics the whole night and within 24 hours, there were oodles of pictures on Facebook. What I saw in one of those pics horrified me. There, a picture of someone taken from behind with a big old bald spot on their head was tagged as me–in fact, it was me! I immediately untagged and then called a dermatologist. The ignore all my medical problems plan had failed again!

I went to see the dermatologist and after a series of tests for more serious diseases that could cause hair loss came back clean (phew!), she told me that I was a girl who just happened to be balding. She said I should pick up Rogaine for Women (an over-the-counter hair growth treatment), apply twice a day and go along on my merry way.

Well, I did the first two steps, but the last one—go along on my merry way—was way tougher. I cried in CVS when I paid for the Rogaine and cried even harder when I applied it for the first time. And every other time that week.

hair loss

I was devastated. | Source: Shutterstock

There’s something really emotional for me about my hair and I’m guessing it’s the same for most girls. The thought that I was losing my hair was overwhelming. It felt like I was losing a big part of me. Also, I was embarrassed. What if people found out? Or someone saw the Rogaine in my bathroom? I really couldn’t handle the thought of it. So, I decided to keep my hair loss a total secret.

And then Hurricane Sandy hit. The storm shook up a lot of New York, and it also shook up my relationship. See, I just started dating this guy and thanks to the storm, our Sunday night date turned into a 48-hour marathon together.

To pass the time, we played an epic game of truth or dare with this deck of “truth cards” that I have leftover from my sleepover days. One of the questions was, “What’s the part of your body that you’re most self-conscious about?”

I knew my answer right away. My hair. But, I hesitated before telling him. Would he still like me if he knew that I was balding? That I was a girl using Rogaine? After considering for a few seconds, I spilled the beans.

And he was fine. He just moved on to the next question. “Ok, so, have you ever cheated on a significant other?”

“Wait, you’re not weirded out by that?” I asked. “You don’t want to leave?”

“First of all, not at all,” he said. “I think you have great hair. Who cares how you keep it looking great? And second of all, it’s a hurricane. Leaving would be a death wish.”

That was it. He didn’t care at all. And that’s when I realized that this hair thing is just as big of a deal as I make it. Honestly, right now it still feels like a pretty big deal, but I’m working on caring a lot less. And working on focusing on the fact that someone called my hair “great!” That hasn’t happened in a while.

Has your hair gotten thinner at all? What would you do if you found out you were losing your hair? Tell me in the comments!

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  • Karen

    I am now a 49 year old woman, however, my hair started thinning up front at the hairline when I was around 14. Now at the age of 49 the bald spot is around the size of my palm and I’ve stopped attempting to cover it up. I also have one along the hairline a the temple area of my head just above the ear. I know my mom had bald patches as did my aunt so I just took it as being genetic. Maybe it is, but I know how hard it is for those of you who may be dealing with it. Most of the time the guys could care less, at least in my experience, but it sure takes a strike at the self confidence. Even at my age it is something that greatly effects my confidence or should I say lack there of.

  • Tyrone Johnson

    I’ve read that using natural products is the way, and its actually not that hard to find. It’s the small little house hold items actually. I read it at teenagehairloss.org where this girl actually had troubled hair, and was able to produce hair growth with some household ingredients.

  • Julia

    I’m only 20, and my hair is really thinning on top of my head. It has made me lose a lot of confidence. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for sharing this article :). I think I’ll try seeing a dermatologist now.

  • Melany

    I’m 17. I’m losing my hair in front next to my hair line it’s the size of my thumb it’s not that noticeable thought. I know I have stress but what should I do?

  • putri

    i am 16 and my hair is falling like soo much, it is actually falls gradually. i used to have this thick wavy hair that im very proud of, until i went to high school and start losing hair from junior year, i never take it seriously, i thought it was caused by stress, and all the highschool adjustment, its been 3 years, and now i already graduated and i noticed i lose probably half of my hair, it becomes soo thin, and if i put my hand through my hair, i can see the scalp clearly, im so scared.. i dont live in america so i dont even know if rogine is available in my country.. so ya.. 🙁

  • lost petal

    im also facing dramatic hair loss problem… now sculp is getiing very prominent… infact not too far from blady head…. 🙁 totally puzzled!!! dont know wat can i do for them. i have used rogine too. but for just a month, seems like useless for me… but im less fortunate than u.. my hairs matter alot to my love!! losing hairs is no doubt really upsetting for me but when it upsets ur love too, its feel like…………. :’-(…. no words……………

  • sakurasan99

    I am not sure if I suffered from hair thinning but I have lost some hair .I have pretty thick hair but when my hair starts to fall out I put a certain shampoo and conditioner in my hair .The shampoo I use is any head and shoulders scent but I use classic clean or silky smooth regularly .The conditioner I use is down under naturals .I have used this in my hair and after 2 uses my hair was instantly stronger and it also smells amazing.When I rinse the conditioner off I rinse it until my hair is still slippery so when i straighten it it is nice and smooth.The 2 products I use in my hair when I straighten my hair is Biosilk oil and Tresemme`s heat protectant .I put my hair up in a towel for 15 mins .After the 15 mins I brush all of my hair back and towel dry it, then I apply about a palm of the Biosilk oil to my damp hair so it is easier to work with.Next I spray tons of heat protectant all over my hair (mostly my ends) and then blow dry them with cool air or alternate with warm and cool every few mins.Once your hair is dry you can start to straighten it.I section my hair with 2 medium sized clips and a tiny one for my bangs, the first section is the front of my ears and the second section is in the back of my ears. I make mini buns so that they are out of the way .The last layer should not be on any clips and I apply a small palm or the Biosilk oil again and evenly coat the section that is down start to straighten that layer .once you have finished that layer put all of the hair you have straightened to the side and bring down the next layer but split it in half so that the hair that you have put all to the side doesn`t have hair from the new section and clip that up .Apply another coat of oil to the “about to“ straighten hair and straighten that. Once that section is done move to the other side but make sure to put the straightened hair on the opposite side. and continued until you get to your bangs.Once you get to your bangs you apply the Biosilk oil until it reaches the top line of your index finger.and apply that to your bangs.When I straighten my bangs I split them in half and straighten them individually.Once I am done straightening and before I leave I spray my favourite bath and body works spray(Sweet Pea) all over my hair and voila you hair is complete

  • Virginia

    I also suffered from hair thinning (no bold spots or receding hairline though), it was most noticeable because of my widened side part. Anyway I started to use an all organic shampoo and conditioner (from Aubrey Organics) and it made my hair a lot thicker and healthier. My side part is a normal size part now (after a year of using).
    Definitly worth trying out a non-chemical shampoo for girls who suffer from hair loss or thinning!

  • maryline gonzalez

    im 17 and my hair is falling out alot like crazy and its natrual never died it so i was like whats going on i thought it was stress at first till saw this article and now finding out it could be a medical prob but at least ur doing something to keep it from falling ima go buy that thing u bought this was a great article thanks (:<3

    • sakurasan99

      This is exactly what is happening to my friend .Her hair is as natural as it can be (NO heat or dying) but for some reason her hair is falling out so easily and the ends of her hair are basically dead (like if you were to straighten it without heat protectant) and it turns out that it is because of genetics.Her mom has thin hair.So maybe you have thin hair

  • Talia

    Aww I’m glad you could see firsthand that to some people it won’t ever be a big deal 🙂 But still, I can only imagine how upsetting it must be for you so young – hang in there <3 I know it is devastating to feel like the only person who has to worry about something like that, but just try to remember that your hair IS beautiful, and looks great. You take extra care of it, and it's annoying, but at the end of the day you can help yourself and you DO 😀

  • lisa

    I honestly thought I was the only one this age losing hair :”'( I’m 21 and I’ve kinda just been ignoring it but after reading this I think I might go to a dermatologist a well. I didn’t go to the gym this weekend because I put my hair up in a ponytail and you could see my receding hairline. It’s really traumatic. Kudos for getting help!