About Hair Loss In Children
It is normal for children to shed little hair every day, but if the hair fall is excessive there can be an underlying condition.
The causes of hair loss in children are different from causes of hair loss in adults, the most common being scalp disorder.
Though the loss might not be life-threatening or dangerous but can affect the child’s emotional well-being.
Just like adult hair, kids hair also has a life cycle. They grow rapidly for two to six years after which they go through resting or a telogen phase. After 3 months of the telogen phase the hair falls off and the new ones grow in place.
8 Causes of Hair Loss in Children
Hair loss in children is most commonly due to scalp disorders such as infections and other problems. The most common causes are:
Tinea capitis is an infection that is the most common cause of hair loss in children.
It is a ringworm infection, which attacks the scalp resulting in ring-like lesions. It commonly affects the scalp but can also be seen on eyebrow and eyelashes. The affected area is scaly or flaky, has patches of hair loss or has hair which is broken off from the surface.
It is a contagious infection and spreads easily amongst school-going children.
The doctor can examine the scalp to diagnose the condition. He might also scrape off a tiny piece of infected skin and send it to the lab for diagnosis.
The condition can be treated using oral antifungal medication and antifungal shampoo. This can prevent the child from spreading the virus to other children.
Alopecia areata is a condition in which the kid’s hair falls out in oval or round patches. The hair loss occurs within a few days and the bald patches visible are smooth and non-inflamed.
The condition occurs when the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks its own follicles considering them as a foreign body.
Alopecia areata is diagnosed by examining the scalp. There is no cure for the condition, though the doctor might give a few medicines such as corticosteroid creams, minoxidil, or anthralin to promote hair growth.
There might be chances of a child suffering from alopecia areata to become totally bald. With the right treatment, the child is likely to regrow hair in one year.
Trichotillomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder in which the child obsessively pulls off the hair.
Some kids do not realize they are pulling off hair while some pull them as a kind of release.
There are patches of missing or broken hair.
These hairs grow back when the child stops pulling them out. Cognitive behavior therapy is a way to help kids come out of this condition.
Telogen effluvium is a condition in which the hair life cycle is affected. In it, many or all the hair goes into the telogen phase. Within a few weeks or months there occurs partial or complete baldness.
There can be various reasons for telogen effluvium such as extreme fever, vitamin A overdose, injury, stress, or side effects of medication.
The condition does not require any treatment and goes away on its own. It goes away within six months to one year.
Lack of proper nutrition affects the whole body. It also leads to hair loss as the vitamins, minerals, and proteins are required for hair growth, which are lacking.
Lack of nutrients can result from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia as well as low protein and vegan diet.
The pediatrician can suggest a healthy eating plan and prescribe supplements to make up for the nutritional shortfall.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones to function properly. The conditions lead to weight gain, tiredness, constipation and hair loss.
Once treated for the condition the hair loss stops
Children who receive chemotherapy lose hair, as the medicine induced to kill the cancer cell kills the cells in the hair root as well.
Once the therapy gets over the hair grows back.
Non-Medical Causes of Hair Loss in Children:
There are also some nonmedical reasons for hair loss in children such as:
- Newborn Hair Loss: Most babies lose hair in the first six months of life. It is a normal hair loss and does not require any treatment.
- Friction Hair Loss: In this case, the hair loss occurs as the child rubs the hair against the crib mattress and the floor. Once the child outgrows the behavior the hair grows back.
- Chemicals: Hair products containing harsh chemicals which can damage hair and therefore should be avoided by young children.
- Blow-Drying: Excessive blow-drying and straightening can damage hair. Use them only when really needed otherwise do not, as the heat can damage the hair shaft.
- Hair Ties: Pulling the child hair back in ponies, braids or bun can lead to trauma to the hair follicles and cause hair loss. Keep the ponytails, braid loose to prevent traction hair loss.
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