Problems tackled: 43,481

DocSpot: Hair loss on calves

Dear Dr Margaret
I am a 34 year old male and I think I am losing hair on both of my calves of my legs.  Is something wrong?

Of course, most men lose hair from their scalp as they get older, but there is also a gradual loss of body hair, including the hair on the legs. An individual hair has a life of about 2–5 years. It then falls out and is replaced with a new hair. With ageing, some of the hair follicles stop producing new hairs altogether, so the hair becomes sparser. Also, as you get older, each hair grows more slowly and the shaft of each hair is thinner. (An exception is the hair of the eyebrows, ears and nose, which becomes longer and coarser from middle age in men.) These changes can start to be noticeable from the 30s onwards.
Body hair is more delicate than you might think, and can be broken by repeated rubbing. I think the most likely explanation is that the hairs on your calves are being rubbed by coarse trouser material, such as denim jeans. This could cause the hairs to be broken off close to the skin.
I cannot think of many medical conditions that would cause loss of hair on both calves. Fungal infections can damage hair, but would be unlikely to affect both calves symmetrically and they usually cause patchy loss. Smooth hairless patches could also be a condition called alopecia areata Some medications can cause thinning of hair, but other areas of the body would also be affected, not just your legs.
Poor circulation to the legs (caused by narrowing of the arteries) can eventually lead to loss of leg hair. You would probably have already noticed pain in the calf muscles when you walk, which quickly goes away when you rest, and then comes back when you are active again. This is not a young man’s condition: almost all those affected are over 60. It caused by atherosclerosis of the arteries, especially in smokers.

Last updated; Sunday, August 30th 2020

Tell us your thoughts

Did you find what you were looking for?

Add a comment

Please note we cannot answer your questions directly. If you are concerned, please talk to your doctor.

Share your stories, tips and solutions here to help others tackle it, move on. As all comments are moderated, there will be a delay before your comment appears.

Discussion content reflects the view of individual participants only. Health Press Limited bear no responsibility for accuracy of participant comments and will bear no legal liability for discussion results. Comments will be moderated before posting and Health Press Limited reserves the right to delete any material. See About our site for our moderation policy


View what people have said about DocSpot: Hair loss on calves

Latest updates

Dr Phil's latest video
20th September

Anal itching (itchy bottom);
1st August

Nail biting;
23rd April

Nail problems;
23rd April

Varicose veins;
19th April

29th January

embarrassing problems