Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m only 20, but I have experienced severe hair loss for the past year-and-a-half, and this causes me great anxiety. Most days, you can see how visible my scalp is through my hair. I’ve tried every diet and quick fix out there. I’ve worn hats, gotten highlights and done the comb-over thing, but nothing seems to help much at all. Do you have any suggestions?

— Too Young to Lose Hair,

via email

Dear Too Young To Lose Hair: It might be that you have a hormonal imbalance, so to start with, I highly suggest you get an evaluation by your doctor to look into this issue. Let your physician know all about your lifestyle, habits, diet and any exposure to substances that may be the cause of this issue. I very much agree that you are quite young to be having this problem at your present age.

In the meantime, you can get the strongest root lifter available on the market. Many salons sell hair products that might be able to help your situation by building volume. Hair mousse applied to the roots of your hair can provide support. Most salon professionals recommend blow-drying the roots of your hair while simultaneously applying light tension with a brush to build volume. Once more volume is created this way, a touch of light hair spray can help to hold the extra volume in place.

Dear Dr. Wallace: When I was 17, and less than two months from turning 18, I made the tough decision that I had to leave my family home because of my parents’ arguments and their associated violent and abusive behavior.

At the time, I was just beginning to date my current boyfriend. Once he became aware of just how severe my home problems were, he suggested that we move out together and get our own place to live.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go to a shelter like one of my friends had to. Once I moved out on my own, I finished high school and soon thereafter got a steady job that allows me to support myself. I hope my letter here can provide encouragement to any female going through the same situation I found myself in back then.

My philosophy is that life is too short to live in a constantly toxic environment, and once a person, especially a young lady, realizes that home life is indeed toxic, it’s time to find a way to move on to a safer, more reliable situation as quickly as possible.

— Much Happier Now,

via email

Dear Much Happier Now: I do agree that every individual should be aware of the fact that everyone deserves happiness and the opportunity to live in a safe environment.

I am happy for you that your particular situation has now worked out well and that you have found both the safety and happiness you deserve. However, your positive outcome is not always what teens in similar situations readily achieve. Many young teens focus too much on escaping a toxic environment at all costs, often at the risk of their personal safety.

I always suggest that teens who find themselves in very bad home-life situations seek help through responsible adults, such as those who work at and run homeless shelters. School counselors, medical professionals and even law enforcement personnel can be good resources to help a teen from a troubled home to find safe, consistent refuge.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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