Hair loss is not just prominent in adults but also in children. However, it is natural to loose baby hair in infancy but sometimes, due to different factors hair loss in children becomes a cause of worry. While the treatments may not be as exhaustive as those in adults, but there are still some safe procedures which can help regrow the lost hair.
Hair Loss In Children
Studies suggest that 1 in every 3rd child is suffering from hair loss. Although it is important to know that new-borns lose their baby hair within the first few months after their birth and the lost hair is replaced by healthier and more permanent hair.
Causes Of Hair Loss In Children
- Medical Causes Of Hair Loss In Children
- Endocrine Problems – Children who suffer from hypothyroidism will experience hair loss. If the thyroid gland is underactive and can’t appropriate the amounts of hormones that are needed to regulate metabolism, it can harm the child’s health and hair. Regular blood tests must be examined and medicines must be taken on time.
- Trichotillomania – A stress-related disorder, Trichotillomania is when a child starts to pull, twist, pluck or rub their own hair. The hair often breaks or falls out in patches. Often, these patches are seen on the side of the child’s most dominant hand. The only solution will be to seek a psychiatrist help and see the underlying reason why the child is stressed. Counselling and stress relieving activities are much needed in such scenarios.
- Tinea Capitis – It is a fungal infection often seen in children. Commonly known as ringworm of the scalp, it can show up in several ways and leave behind bald patches. These patches are often round or oval. Visit a dermatologist before the fungal infection spreads to other parts of the scalp. It is a highly contagious disease and all the grooming products (combs, towels, nail clippers) of the child, must be kept separately. Dermatologist recommended anti-fungal shampoos and oral anti-fungal medicines are necessary to stop Tinea Capitis.
- Alopecia Areata – A non-contagious hair loss condition where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. The patches appear in round /oval shapes and the scalp is smooth and slick. Unfortunately, there is no medical cure for this disorder, but there are treatments that can control and prevent further occurrence. Hair grows back within a year although regrowth is not certain and chances of Alopecia reoccurring is possible.
- Telogen Effluvium – A hair disorder that occurs post-traumatic stress, loss of a loved one, during/after a prolonged disease, surgery under anaesthesia, etc. Once the stressful event is over, hair grows back and there is no need for any medical/cosmetic treatment.
- Vitamin Deficiency – A deficiency of certain vitamins like H, B also zinc and iron can cause scaling, split ends and also lead to hair fall in children.
- Medications – In some kids, certain side effects of a particular medicine can trigger hair loss. Chemotherapy is one such procedure, which causes temporary hair fall.
- Non-Medical Causes of Hair Loss in Children
- Using Unsuitable Hair Products – Washing and styling your child’s hair with products that contain harsh chemicals will cause the hair to weaken and fall out.
- Heat Damage – Drying hair after hair wash is important, but using appliances that use extreme heat is damaging. Hair products that go up to 375 degree Fahrenheit are considered dangerous for the hair shaft.
- Infant Hair Loss – It is common in new-borns, where they lose their baby hair in initial few months.
- Traction Alopecia – Children have extremely fragile hair and scalp. Excessive combing, teasing and braiding can cause the hair to fall.
- Not Maintaining Scalp Health – Lice, dandruff and damp scalp can all lead to excessive hair fall. Use formulated products that are suggested by the dermatologist in order to maintain a clean scalp.
- Styling Hair When It Is Wet – Wet hair is fragile and easy to break. Styling hair that is straight out the shower will result in copious amounts of hair fall. Let it air dry before combing or brushing through it.
- Rubbing – Constant friction with pillow, bed or mattress can cause hair loss in children as they do not sit or move from their position until about a few months.
Also Read: Does Excessive Hair Styling Cause Hair Loss?
Treatment For Hair Loss In Children
If your child is losing more hair than before, it is time you take necessary steps to prevent further hair loss. These conditions can be treated to cure excessive hair fall. It is also important to consult with a doctor before starting any treatment.
- Topical Medication – Medicines such as Terbinafine Hydrochloride and Griseofulvin are prescribed to treat Tinea Capitis, as they both are anti-fungal medications. They must be taken for 6 weeks along with fatty foods (for better absorption).
Minoxidil is another topical ointment used to regrow hair and help fight infections. As such, 2% minoxidil is recommended for children. Pulsed oral Steroids (along with injection and corticosteroid creams) can be used in smaller doses, to help children overcome hair loss.
- Oral Medication – Doctors may prescribe hormone altering medicines to help with depression in the case of Trichotillomania. Mood enhancers such as Anafranil, Nacetylcysteine and Zyprexa are also used to ease symptoms.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors which have steroid sparing effects, can be used in children. But there are no studies to support their efficiency.
Also Read: What Is Minoxidil And Can It Cure Hair Loss?
Tips To Prevent Hair Loss In Children (Lifestyle Tips)
- Stress buster – Children are stressed too. It is difficult for them to keep up with their exams, social life and peer pressure. Keeping them happy and grounded is important for their emotional and mental health.
- Healthy diet gives healthy hair – Diet plays the most crucial role in maintaining healthy hair. Allow more fresh produce like fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein and wholesome grains.
- Lots of fresh air and physical movement – An excellent method to bust some stress! Playing in open parks will definitely uplift the mood and improve physical health as well.
- Keeping the scalp clean and fresh – A scalp free from dirt, sweat, dead skin cells and dandruff will encourage stronger and healthier hair growth. Wash the scalp thoroughly using products recommended by doctors.
- Scalp massage – An invigorating scalp massage will help improve blood circulation and activate dormant hair follicles. Incorporate weekly massages, this will improve your child’s mood and help in enriching parent-child bonding.
If your child is suffering from sudden hair loss then it is a cause for worry. Check with a dermatologist to understand the causes and course of treatment to prevent any long term or permanent damage to your child’s hair.