Health

What’s with the Millennial Hair Loss Phenomenon?

If it seems to you that hair loss is becoming increasingly more prevalent among millennials, you’re not alone. Such perceptions seem to be growing. According to an August 2018 story that appeared on MarketWatch.com, dermatologists and aesthetic physicians are seeing more visits than ever from millennials concerned about hair loss.

So what’s driving this phenomenon? It depends on who you ask. Some point to a limited amount of research that suggests millennials are facing unprecedented levels of stress placed on them by the modern world. Others say it’s a simple matter of reporting. They say people were less likely to seek professional help for hair loss back in the days when solutions were limited. But with more options now available, more people are willing to visit their doctors.

The Stress Theory

Laying the blame for physical problems at the feet of stress is not new. One study after another has consistently shown that stress does strange things to the body. Being stressed can lead to hypertension, weight gain, lack of sleep, and on and on. But can it lead to hair loss?

Both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center claim on their websites that stress can lead to three kinds of hair loss. One of them is known as alopecia areata, a condition in which the immune system actually attacks hair follicles and prevents them from doing their job.

Given that medical science seems to agree that stress can play a role in hair loss, the next question is whether millennials are more stressed than their peers in previous generations. MarketWatch cited a study from the American Psychological Association that seems to confirm the suspicion. They also cited a Bankrate study that shows 17% of millennials lose sleep over their student loans while 39% are stressed over employment worries.

Reporting Hair Loss

Stress does appear to be a significant factor here. But we cannot discount the fact that more millennials are reporting hair loss to their doctors. It could be that increased reporting is directly related to more options for treating hair loss. Where transplants, wigs and toupees used to be the only options 30 years ago, patients now have access to pharmacological treatments and regenerative medicine.

In the regenerative medicine arena, plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injections are the clear leader. These are so popular that the Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in Salt Lake City, Utah has an entire training program dedicated to teaching doctors how to use the procedure.

Does it work? It does, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The academy leans on a number of studies including 2018 research published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. Data from most of those studies supports PRP therapy as a technique for successfully treating androgenetic alopecia.

It Can Be Treated

Whether the recent millennial hair loss phenomenon is attributed to stress, better reporting or a combination of both, the thing to remember is that it can be treated. It is no longer necessary for people to live with hair loss. If they do not like what their scalps look like, they have a variety of options for treatment.

Patients who elect to try PRP therapy should make note of the fact that not every dermatologist and aesthetic physician is properly trained in its use. It is best to seek out a doctor with both training and experience. Like most other medical procedures, PRP therapy has to be applied the right way for it to achieve the desired results.

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