Hair Loss in Children

Hair Loss in Children: Causes and Treatments

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It can be disappointing when you notice that your hair is falling out as you get older, but it may come as a real shock to see your young child lose their hair. In this article on kidsrush.com, we will tell you about Hair Loss in Children: Causes and Treatments. Let’s start!

Children often experience hair loss, but its causes may be different from those of adult-onset baldness. A scalp problem is often to blame for hair loss in children.

Some of the causes of thinning hair aren’t dangerous, yet hair loss impacts a child’s emotional well-being. Going bald is hard enough when you’re an adult.

The psychological effects of hair loss in children may be profound, so it’s important to seek professional help for treatment.

The cause of hair loss in children?

hair loss in children
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Occasionally, hair loss in children is caused by an infection or other problem with the scalp. Here are some of the most common causes.

Tinea capitis

Rather than being a bacterial infection caused by a fungus, this scalp infection spreads whenever kids share personal items such as combs and hats. It’s also known as ringworm that infects the scalp.

With tinea capitis, children may experience patches of hair loss with black spots where the hair breaks off. Their skin may become red, scaly, and bumpy. They could also have fevers and swollen glands.

Usually, your doctor will make the diagnosis by examining a small piece of the infected skin on your child’s scalp. Occasionally, he will send a tiny sample of the infected skin to a lab to prove the diagnosis.

You can treat tinea capitis with an antifungal drug taken orally for about eight weeks. Using an antifungal shampoo in conjunction with these medications will prevent transmission of the virus to others.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia in children
Excessive hair loss in children can be due to several factors. It is always important to consult to rule out causes of care. |www.kidsrush.com Images|

This is the localized form of alopecia that affects about 1 in 1,000 children. Alopecia is caused by an autoimmune disease. If you want to read briefly about alopecia then read our article Alopecia in children: why does it occur?.

Depending on the pattern of hair loss, alopecia comes in different forms:

  • Alopecia areata: bald patches appear on the child’s scalp
  • Alopecia totalis: all the hair falls out on the scalp.
  • Alopecia Universalis: The body loses all its hair

children may become completely bald with alopecia areata. Some will also lose their body hair.

Children with alopecia areata can be diagnosed with scalp examination and sample removal by a doctor. If necessary, some hair samples will be examined beneath a microscope.

Even though alopecia areata is incurable, some treatments can stimulate hair regrowth:

  • creams, lotions, and ointments containing corticosteroids.
  • minoxidil
  • anthralin

The right treatment leads to hair regrow for most alopecia areata patients within a year.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder where children pull their hair out compulsively. Some kids pull out their hair outside of necessity, while others don’t realize they’re pulling it out.

With this condition, it is common for some kids to have patches of missing or broken hair, and some children swallow the hair they pull, so they can develop big balls of hair undigested in their bellies.

After children stop pulling out their hair, the hair will grow back. Cognitive-behavioral therapy assists them in becoming more aware of the emotions that are causing them to pull out their hair. Through this therapy, they learn to control their behavior.

Telogen effluvium

A telogen phase occurs during human hair growth cycles when hairs are resting and will eventually fall out. New hair will then take its place. Usually, only 10 to 15 percent of hair follicles will be in this phase at once.

Children experiencing telogen effluvium lose much more hair than usual. Instead of losing 100 hairs every day, they lose 300 hairs every day. There may not be any noticeable hair loss, or there may be bald patches on the scalp.

Telogen effluvium happens after large-scale trauma such as:

  • very high fever
  • surgery
  • experienced intense emotional trauma such as losing a loved one.
  • severe injury

Hair should return to normal after an event lasts. It will take 6 to 12 months before the child sees the full effect.

Nutritional deficiency

Children who do not get enough vitamins and minerals – or take vegetarian diets – may experience hair loss. Hair loss can also be a sign of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, or a consequence of a low-protein diet. In this sense we recommend you to read our article on why vitamins are important for children.

Hair loss can be caused by a deficiency of these nutrients:

  • iron
  • zinc
  • niacin
  • biotin
  • protein and amino acids
  • You can also lose hair if too much vitamin A is consumed.

Investing in a healthy diet or supplement can be suggested by a pediatrician if necessary.

Hypothyroidism

There is a gland near the base of your neck called the thyroid. It releases hormones that help regulate your metabolic rate.

Hypothyroidism occurs when there are insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, especially those that are essential to maintaining metabolic health.

Treatment with thyroid hormone medicine should stop all hair loss in your child. Yet it can take up to 6 months for all of them to regrow.

Chemotherapy

Your child will lose hair if he is receiving chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy is a powerful medicine that destroys rapidly dividing cells, including the roots of your hair. Hair growth should begin within the first few weeks following the treatment.

Nonmedical hair loss causes in children

A child’s hair loss can be caused by things that aren’t medical. Common causes include:

Newborn hair loss

The newborn hair falls out to make way for mature hair, which is perfectly normal and should not be a cause for concern. Newborns lose hair throughout the first six months of their lives.

Friction hair loss

Some babies lose the hair on their backs because they rub them against the crib mattress, the floor, or whatever else in ways that are not beneficial to their health. As they get older and become more mobile, they will stop doing this and their hair will grow back.

Chemicals

If you plan on bleaching, dyeing, perming, or straightening your hair, be sure not to use harsh chemicals that could damage the hair shaft. You might ask your hairstylist about nontoxic options for kids.

Blow-drying

Hair can also be damaged when exposed to too much heat from blow-drying or straightening. Use a low heat setting when drying your child’s hair and avoid blow-drying every day to minimize heat exposure.

Hair ties

A tight ponytail, braid, or bun may cause damage to your child’s hair follicles, leaving hair loose or falling out. Lessen trauma to your child’s hair follicles and avoid tense styling.

Sharing hair loss concerns with your child

Anyone, of any age, can find losing hair emotionally upsetting. However, it can be especially upsetting for a child.

Explanation of your child’s hair loss and ideas for fixing the issue. If it’s due to a treatable disease, tell them that their hair will return.

It may be difficult to conceal a loss of hair if it’s not reversible. You might consider the following:

A pediatrician, as well as a hairstylist trained to deal with children who have lost their hair, can offer assistance to parents dealing with hair loss. For help with wigs, call an organization such as Wigs for Kids or Locks of Love.

You can talk your child through the process of hair loss with a counselor, so ask your pediatrician about recommending one.

The outlook

Your child’s self-esteem and emotions are sometimes affected most by your child’s hair loss.

Fortunately, treatments for hair loss in children are available as well, but it may take some trial and error before you find the right one. Share your child’s problem with their health care team so they can help your child look and feel better.

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