Androgenetic alopecia, also known as pattern baldness, usually begins with a receding hairline in men. Though it typically affects older adult males, a receding hairline can begin as early as the teen years.
A receding hairline is the loss of hair from the sides of the top of the head beginning at the front of the hairline. The hair on the sides and back of the head is spared and a patch of hair in the middle remains at first, but might eventually recede as well.
While hair loss, in general, can be caused by a variety of influences, including medical conditions, medications, poor nutrition and overstyling, the receding hairline typical of male-pattern baldness is caused by hormones and heredity. According to the Mayo Clinic, a history of pattern baldness on either side of the family increases the chances of having a receding hairline. According to Nemours TeensHealth, male-pattern baldness can also be caused by taking steroids to build muscle.
Eating a healthful diet and being gentle with your hair during washing and styling may slow hair loss, but there is no proven way to prevent hair from receding.
A receding hairline from male-pattern baldness isn't harmful to one's health and does not need to be treated, but if it bothers you, there are things you can do. "For young guys, a good haircut can really hide hair loss," said Spencer Kobren, founder and president of the American Hair Loss Association. "The shorter the better."
Kobren also recommends a cosmetic concealer like DermMatch, which disguises the contrast between the scalp and hair.
"A lot of physicians will recommend Rogaine or minoxidil for teens," said Kobren. "Most doctors will not prescribe Propecia or finasteride for teens under 18 because they may not be fully developed and this is a hormonal treatment. Hair transplants are also a last resort for teens."
A new therapy for hair loss, called Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, which uses growth factors from the patient's blood, has been showing promising results as well and might be a good option for teens because it does not involve drugs and has shown no adverse side effects, Kobren said.
If you are experiencing a receding hairline in your teens, talk to your doctor to confirm the hair loss is male-pattern baldness and not a result of something else.