Children With Hair Loss

Do you have a child suffering from hair loss? It is normal to lose some hair, but a child who is losing excessive amounts may be suffering from an underlying medical condition.

Overview

Doctors consider it normal for kids to shed some of their hair each day. However, there are certain conditions that have been known to cause an abnormal loss of hair in young children. Recent studies indicate that hair loss is one of the leading reasons why young children are taken to see a pediatrician.

As is the case with adult hair, children hair also tends to have a life cycle that is very predictable. Each hair strand in a child’s head is expected to grow for between two and six years. Once this period has elapsed, the hair strand will undergo a resting cycle, medically known as a telogen phase. The phase lasts for about three months, after which the hair strand is expected to fall, and another strand will start to grow in its place.

Children with hair loss: what are the causes?

Hair loss in children can be attributed to a number of factors. Some of the causes cannot go away on their own and will require the intervention of a doctor. For instance, newborns will normally lose their hair within their first few months. However, the hair they lose is traditionally replaced by more permanent hair. The non-medical causes of hair loss in young children include:

  • Using a brush or comb on hair that is wet, which eventually causes it to start falling off
  • Using harsh chemicals to treat their hair
  • Barrettes, ponytails, and braids that have been tied too tight
  • Hair that has been dried with too much heat

Hair loss in young children—medical causes

The following are some of the medical conditions that have been known to cause hair loss in children over the age of two:

Tinea capitis

This is a fungal infection normally referred to as scalp ringworm. On emergence, it appears in the form of scaly hair patches. The patches can either be oval or round in shape. In some cases, the hair shafts could be broken off near the scalp surface and end up resembling a black dot.

For kids with this condition, a pediatrician will normally prescribe the following:

  • Use of an oral antifungal treatment
  • A parent should ensure that a child does not share hair products with other children as this condition is contagious.
  • An antifungal shampoo can assist you to reduce the shedding that has been caused by the fungus

Alopecia areata

Unlike the former condition, this is not contagious and is mainly caused by an attack of the hair follicles initiated by the immune system in the body. When this condition appears, it is normally in the form of oval or round patches that do not have any hair or broken or scaly hairs. Some children will also experience ridging and pitting in their nails.

Although there is no known permanent treatment for this condition, it is believed that applying the right treatment techniques can assist in controlling its spread. Severe cases will normally continue progressing and will become alopecia totalis, or, in other words, complete hair loss. The more severe cases will go on to alopecia universalis, which is also known as complete loss of body hair.

Trichotillomania

This particular type of hair loss is usually caused by children rubbing, pulling, twisting, or plucking their hair. Normally, the patches will be noted on the side where the dormant hand is located. All these actions can be triggered by anxiety or presence of stressful conditions in the child’s current environment. Parents are advised to try and counsel their children so as to rectify the problem that may have triggered this condition.

Telogen effluvium

This is a condition that causes hair loss and is one that is triggered by the presence of severe stress. The condition will start to take shape when a child is undergoing severe stress, which interrupts the normal hair growth cycle. It could be as a result of:

  • Taking certain medications
  • A child having an extremely high fever
  • Sustaining an injury
  • Surgery conducted under general anesthesia
  • The loss of a loved one

When a child has this condition, the hair will prematurely stop growing and will come into a resting phase. As a result, the child will experience extensive hair loss, which may result in complete or partial baldness. Apart from losing all their hair, another downside to having this condition is the fact that it does not have a treatment. However, the good news is that a child will usually start to experience renewed hair growth within six months after overcoming the stressful condition.

Nutritional Imbalance

Losing hair could be as a result of having a deficiency or excess of certain nutrients, for example:

  • Having excess vitamin A
  • Deficiency in vitamin B, biotin or vitamin H. This particular vitamin assists the body to metabolize carbohydrates to create glucose energy.
  • Zinc deficiency. Zinc is an important mineral that is normally involved in cellular metabolism

Endocrine problems

Hypothyroidism is another known cause of hair loss in children. Children with this condition normally have an inactive thyroid, which doesn't produce enough hormones to regulate the metabolism process. It is not possible to treat this condition at home. Parents are advised to visit a pediatrician for advice on what to do to overcome the condition.

Home treatments you can use to treat hair loss in young children

Currently, there are many tried and tested home remedies that you can use to treat children dealing with hair loss. However, it is important to exercise caution when using some of these home remedies. If possible, consult a professional before you attempt to use these remedies on a young child.

Massage the hair using essential oils

There are numerous essential oils that you can use to deal with hair loss in kids. You should note that each oil will have its own application mechanism. Some of the recommended oils include:

  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Neem oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Olive oil

From all the oils named above, coconut oil comes highly recommended as it also provides an additional benefit when used on a child’s hair—it assists the hair to grow stronger and at a much faster pace. The oil will make the hair healthier, and also increase its volume.

Olive oil is also good as it makes the hair stronger and ensures that it does not fall again. Consider mixing the oils with water and some lemon juice for best results. When massaging the oil into their head, confirm that the oil is covering their hair and the hair roots.

After application, the oils should be washed off using cold or lukewarm water.

Indian gooseberry

This is a home remedy that has been in use for many generations. It is recommended as it assists in promoting the growth of healthy hair. It also contains Vitamin C, which will help you overcome any deficiency that may be present in the baby’s hair. Be sure to combine it with one teaspoon of lemon juice before applying it.