DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My son, 19, has been losing his hair for about a year. He has been using a hair growth foam for about 6 months without much difference. He is healthy otherwise and exercises daily. He is a baseball player and wears a cap often, but it seems like a lot of hair loss for someone his age. Is there anything else he could do at this point? Should he see a dermatologist?
ANSWER: In the vast majority of cases like your son’s, the cause of hair loss is a condition called androgenic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness. It’s usually a result of genetics and not a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. Treatment that can slow or stop this type of hair loss is available. To confirm the diagnosis and decide on treatment options, he should make an appointment to see a dermatologist — preferably one who has expertise in hair loss.
Male-pattern hair loss is characterized by the hairline receding from the forehead, as well as thinning hair across the top of the head. If the hair loss continues over time, these two areas may merge. The result often is a ring of hair around the sides and the back of the head, with baldness over the top.