Help! 15 yr son's going bald! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 02-12-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 15 and is already experiencing hair loss! I began noticing this since September of this year. I saw a patch on the top of his head that had thinned! (gasp)--and pang to my mother's heart. He's so, so too young for this! Today I noticed he has a new and 2nd patch of thinning hair also, right next to where the 1st one is. This is happening so fast, just about before my eyes.

He doesn't know it's happening as I've not told him. The only reason I know of his thinning hair is because I give him the once over with a wet comb on school mornings to places where his hair sticks up--that's how I've seen the hair loss he's having. No one else can see it yet--you'd have to a) be taller than him, b) know to look for it and c) look when his hair is wet because that's when you can see it.

I did a search on the web and there was one site with a shampoo, gel and other (expensive) product supposedly to reverse hair loss. I'm willing to get something like that for him if it would really help, but first how could I know it would (I've not said to him about his hair thinning even, he'd have to know about it if I had him use a product like that) and 2nd what if it has harmful ingredients...
I am so hoping you'll have advice for me here.

He doesn't have any health issues. We eat organic. I scan the ingredients on his shampoo and bar soap and get products which I think are safe for him.

So--help! I realize there are huge problems much worse than hair loss, but still my son is sooo too young for this. Looks affect how people see you and he's just starting out in life.

Does anyone know what I can do to reverse this or help him?

Thanks for your thoughts. I really need your input if you've dealt with this and know what would help this problem.
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#2 of 41 Old 02-12-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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My first thought is stress. Believe it or not, stress can induce hairloss.

My second though is not to worry too much about it. I mean Patric Stewart's been as bald as a cue ball since he was 19.

I would get him checked out. Hairloss can also be a sign of a thyroid problem, iron deficiency or some other medical problem. I wouldn't go jumping straight to re-growth products which are suspect at best IMO.

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#3 of 41 Old 02-12-2010, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you SO much for your perspective on this. I'll take a breath and relax about it. It has been so tough to see and to realize he may be without hair so early...

His uncle had his hair recede while in college, but not as early as high school. His father has been mostly bald since I've known him so it's probably hereditary for my son. There are definitely worse things and so I need to be happy I have a nice kid who people enjoying being around...

I appreciate your confirming the re-growth product perspective, which I really needed to hear.

That info about Patrick Stewart is tremendously helpful as well. My son is into filmmaking and acting and respects these people. Knowing that eventually my son will notice his hair has thinned (maybe a year or maybe a bit more, I don't know), I shared with him regarding the Patrick Stewart bit you shared. (leaving out that it was in response to my forum question, but did say I'd read something about a mother whose kid had hair loss pretty early-in late teens.) Anyway, he laughed and I laughed/we laughed together when I told him about Patrick Steward. Honestly that helps to have laughed together about Patrick Stewart "bald as a cue ball since 19". He'll remember something like that and I sure feel better for being able to tell that to him. I feel better too that someone like Patrick Stewart had hairloss so very early too. It just plain helps to lighten and hearten me about this.
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#4 of 41 Old 02-13-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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I don't know if your son is into comics, but I dated Brian Michael Bendis In high school, and he was grey and balding then, too. (he's a major Marvel Comics author).
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#5 of 41 Old 02-13-2010, 02:16 AM
 
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My buddy Jason started going bald in highschool, and of course is almost completly bald now. he just went with the buzz haircut to make it less obvious. No known health problems. My friend Kelly (age 23) has hairloss, her hair just became getting thinner and thinner, and has some bald spots, she went for testing and has Lupus. My friend Steven had a bald spot when he was 19, and went to the store and got Rogaine, it grew back and he never had a problem since. There can be numerous causes, I personally wouldn't worry too much, but maybe rule out things that could be the cause, like stress, and maybe some bloodwork.

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#6 of 41 Old 02-13-2010, 03:35 AM
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I wouldn't be so quick to put it down to male pattern baldness. There are a lot of other things - reversable things - that can cause hair loss. Alopecia seems most likely, to me anyway... or it could be a nutritional deficiency (eating organic doesn't prevent this) or something more serious.

I'd go see your health-care practitioner...

 
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#7 of 41 Old 02-13-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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I would also make sure there isn't a health issue.

If it was my ds, and it was simple early baldness, no health issues, I would not try to fight it with expensive and likely ineffective cosmetic products or comb-over hair styles. Just like I want my daughter to love her body the way it is, I would want my son to be comfortable with his natural appearance. I wouldn't ridicule or tease him about it, but I would try to be good humoured. I would encourage him to just accept his hair loss and take on role models, like Patrick Stewart, who don't try to hide it.
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#8 of 41 Old 02-13-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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My 10 year old had this, it's just ringworm. We treated it with over the counter athletes foot cream, it took a while, but the hair did grow back.
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#9 of 41 Old 03-09-2010, 01:56 AM
 
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I'd recommend the teen see a dermatologist. I have alopecia totalis and that is how it starts - patches quickly form and before you know it - hair is gone. It's an autoimmune condition with no specific cause.
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#10 of 41 Old 03-09-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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Echoing the others, I would make certain it was not a health issues, then I would just let it be and encourage him to make his peace with it.

There was a boy in my high school that was nearly bald by junior year. He was a blast to be around, had girls fighting over him, was a super-talented violinist, was president of the most of the clubs he was in, and on and on. His lack of hair did not hold him back at all, if that is your concern. He did not hide and worry about how others saw him, and no one ever thought "He's bald". They thought "Martin is awesome".
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#11 of 41 Old 03-09-2010, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughts on this. It feels scary for me, as his mom, to see this happening just about before my eyes. It's not bad enough yet for others, or even my son, to see it, but I see the area getting thinner and wider.

I don't want to give him anything that's out there. I know there are some things, but they can affect hormones, etc. I was hoping there was some healthy supplement in existence that would help, but I guess not yet. I've been giving him biotin in his morning protein shake for 3 months now, but the spot has continued to worsen (biotin helps with hair loss, but not male pattern baldness. It's helped MY hair/my part-line, but not helped him).

Yes, my big concern is that he's so young for this to be happening already. He's the sweetest boy/person, too. I don't want it to affect future relationships, but even to look in the mirror and see hair loss--no-one wants that, especially at a younger age.

An auto-immune condition--that makes some sense to me. His brother has had problems with allergies. But I don't know how it would be treated, plus don't know that most dermatologists would even look in that direction? I'm concerned that most dr's are quick to pass out drugs & don't want to go that route. I think I need to wait just a bit before seeing someone anyway, at least, until it's enough so that he's aware. So far I've kept him mercifully in the dark, as my mother eyes are the ones that see it-not his (it's on the top and back of his head)

Yes, I'm afraid his hair will be gone, at least a huge patch of it, by the time he's 20. That's very young and it brings a pang to my heart to see this happening already. He just turned 16 last week.

I wish there was a remedy that didn't involve drugs or something. From looking on the web I've seen a couple of things people take to stop more hair loss, but I'm not willing to give him anything, unless it was a supplement-type.
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#12 of 41 Old 03-09-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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I met my husband when he was 20, he had already been experiencing hair loss for years. It started in late highschool and has progressed (receding hairline). We keep his hair cut really short , he just tells me that once it gets worse he will just shave his head entirely.

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#13 of 41 Old 03-09-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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My husband started to go bald pretty young too. In his Bar Mitzvah pictures, you can see that his hairline is receding.

He has a pretty dang sexy shaved head these day. Right up my Patrick-Stewart-fantasizing alley.

I'd check for health issues like ringworm and stress and nutritional deficiency, and then I'd try to take a deep breath and not sweat it. Head hair doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of quality of life.
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#14 of 41 Old 03-10-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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I have had several episodes of alopecia, I saw a dermatologist the first several times and they were willing to go through the different types of treatments available without pushing them. They weren't confident that the creams, shots, etc. were going to help and after I tried a couple I just gave up and waited for my hair to grow back.

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#15 of 41 Old 03-10-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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I really think you should tell your son, and then take him to see someone. Just because you consult a doctor doesn't mean you have to proceed on a particular course of treatment. But he should know that something is going on with his body - he's nearly an adult.
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#16 of 41 Old 03-11-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
My first thought is stress. Believe it or not, stress can induce hairloss.

My second though is not to worry too much about it. I mean Patric Stewart's been as bald as a cue ball since he was 19.

I would get him checked out. Hairloss can also be a sign of a thyroid problem, iron deficiency or some other medical problem. I wouldn't go jumping straight to re-growth products which are suspect at best IMO.
I agree with the above.

Thyroid deficiency is often overlooked in men.

I say this gently, I think it would be helpful for you to work on your feelings about baldness. It is not a negative thing unless you make it into one. If your son is destined to be bald, especially at a younger than average age, he will probably take cues from you on how to deal with it. Will this be a traumatic, embarrassing thing for him or just a normal part of his development, like all of the other sometimes surprising things that happen around puberty?

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#17 of 41 Old 03-12-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momofboys2 View Post
I scan the ingredients on his shampoo and bar soap and get products which I think are safe for him.
Look up his shampoo on Skin Deep. It will tell you if there's anything toxic in it.
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#18 of 41 Old 03-12-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momofboys2 View Post
I was hoping there was some healthy supplement in existence that would help, but I guess not yet. I've been giving him biotin in his morning protein shake for 3 months now, but the spot has continued to worsen (biotin helps with hair loss, but not male pattern baldness. It's helped MY hair/my part-line, but not helped him).
I'm not sure about the biotin, but inositol is said to be a good supplement for hair loss. If the biotin isn't helping him, you might want to discontinue it because taking just one B vitamin can create more of a need for the other B vitamins, which can eventually result in a deficiency.
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#19 of 41 Old 03-14-2010, 04:55 AM
 
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If it's hereditary male-pattern baldness, I am pretty sure it's passed down through the mother.

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#20 of 41 Old 03-15-2010, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If it's Alopecia, rather than male pattern baldness, what can I do to remedy the alopecia? He DOES have an very itchy scalp. Is that a sign of alopecia? Do I get a high powered shampoo regarding moisturizing the scalp? Any idea what I should do if that's what it is? We're considering taking him to a dermatologist to check this out, but if it's because of inflammation (that's alopecia, right?), then what would I do for him.
Thanks.
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#21 of 41 Old 03-15-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Have you asked him if he is pulling it out? People with trichotillomania pull out their own hair and because they feel ashamed they will almost always deny it. It often starts in the teen years.

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#22 of 41 Old 03-15-2010, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know he's not pulling it out. He just has a very itchy scalp, which is uncomfortable for him. I don't know what to do for that. I see him itching it. He was itching it a lot this weekend.
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#23 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 02:44 AM
 
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If he's got a very itchy scalp, that's a good reason to see a dermatologist. Then the dermatologist can tell whether he thinks that it's male pattern baldness or a health condition. But until you get a diagnosis, you can't know how to treat it.

FWIW, my husband started losing his hair in high school, it slowed down in his 20s and 30s and is speeding up again in his 40s -- I full expect him to be completely bald on top with a fringe in about 5 years time.

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#24 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband just told me this morning that his parents noticed that he was losing hair when he was 16 (and told him about it), so he thinks it's male pattern baldness because it began for him at that age.

It's hopeful to hear that even though it began for your husband in high school, that it slowed down. Wow--that would be SO much better! Sometimes it's like I see daily change. What was there last Friday--on Monday it was gon--the balding place on his head doesn't have to be slicked down (with water) anymore. Because what used to stick up--it's gone.

I talked to my husband and he agreed to taking my son to a dermatologist. I feel bad for his itchy scalp (it's not itchy at the bald spot), as well as the hair loss. I know it's not comfortable to have that, but I don't know how to fix it. He doesn't have dandruff, just itchy scalp.
And yes--the hair loss.

I've researched and know that they recommend the shampoo Nizoral 1% to block DHT, in order to reduce hair loss. (I don't know how effective it is, but I know it's widely used/recommended). I'm guessing the dermatologist will suggest this (if it's male pattern baldness). I'm already torn about having him use it, because I don't want all the stuff in it that's (such as "blue #1"), but then again, if it will reduce his hair loss...

Anyway, it's hopeful to hear that your husband's hair loss slowed for those years.
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#25 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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dh started balding in hs too. he shaves it all off. i like it a lot

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#26 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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If he has an itchy scalp, I'd really get him checked for ring worm. My DD had it a couple of years ago and lost hair in a couple of patches. It was exacerbated by excema. Really, you should take him to a doctor to rule things out. As others have said, MPB is generally passed through the mother's side of the family, so your husband's experiences might not have anything to do with your son (if you have a daughter, your grandkids through her would be more likely to have a similar experience to your husband). Anyhow, there's really no reason not to go see a doctor. If s/he recommends treatment, then you can research the options that the doctor suggests.
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#27 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I'd switch his shampoos. It's a longshot, but I had hairloss as a kid which turned out to be a reaction to my shampoo. Just because it's non-toxic doesn't mean he can't be reacting to it in some way, and the itchy scalp is sort of suspicious.

ETA-I'm suggesting switching shampoos in addition to checking for medical explanations, not instead of.
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#28 of 41 Old 03-16-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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My daughter had a bought with alopecia about a year ago. We visited a dermatologist who prescribed her topical ointment and the hair grew back.

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#29 of 41 Old 03-17-2010, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have an appointment with a dermatologist in a week and a half. Hopefully, he'll be able to help him.

I hadn't thought it could be ringworm because in the web-searching I'd done the pictures looked a certain way and my son's doesn't look like that, but then again, maybe they only show the very worst kind, so I guess I can't really know from that.

I just switched his shampoo on Monday. I wish I'd thought to do that a long time ago, but I didn't.

It's hopeful that they could give him something topical if it's alopecia. I was envisioning a shot in the scalp of steroid...the dr's visit itself is a bit frightening as I don't know what he might do. But the hair loss (which is now truly a bald spot since the latest hair came out), is a scary thing to see.

I sure do hope his is something reversible.

Thanks so much everyone for your thoughts on this.
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#30 of 41 Old 03-17-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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I was envisioning a shot in the scalp of steroid...
A friend of mine chose that when he had alopicia, and it worked really well. Though it might not be the most wonderful of treatments, it wasn't that painful and he experienced no side effects. (Though with the itching my guess would be on ringworm.)

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