Top Reasons For Hair Loss in Children

Hair Loss in ChildrenHair loss is so strongly associated with adults that many parents are shocked to see their children losing hair. You won’t believe that approximately 3% of all pediatric visits are due to this problem.

It is much more common that it is generally believed to be and just like in adults, you need to first find out the cause behind it and see if any solution is available for the same. Here are some of the main reasons why children experience hair loss:

1) Tinea Capitis

Tinea capitis, is a ringworm, and is caused by a fungal infection caused by a fungus named dermatophytosis. It attacks hair follicles in the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Currently, this is the leading cause and can be easily identified if your child has patchy hair loss, which are round or oval but can also be irregular.

Treatment of Tinea Capitis is available and should be done as soon as possible. For children, oral medication (antifungal) is given and Nizoral shampoo is used for approximately 8 weeks to get rid of the fungus. The medication must be continued for the whole period as prescribed. Discontinuing the use of medication before the prescribed time can help the fungus make its way back to your child’s scalp.

2) Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is the condition where your body’s own immune system attacks your hair follicles and you lose those hair. This can typically be seen when you find sudden oval or round hairless patches appear on your scalp. They are smooth to touch and will appear literally overnight or in a few days.

Though most of the children will only see the loss in a certain area, total hair-loss from the scalp is seen in approximately 5 out of 100 children who suffer from this. Complete baldness in this way is known as Alopecia totalis. It can further lead to complete body hair loss and is known as Alopecia universalis.

There is no FDA approved treatment for this currently. Some off label treatments exist but they can be risky. You must consult your pediatrician before using any such drug.

3) Telogen Effluvium

When the child goes through any severe physical stress such as high fever, surgery under anesthesia, death of a loved one, etc., it suddenly sends the hair into resting phase. For those who are unaware of the phases of hair, resting phase precedes the hair fall phase and is a normal phase of hair. However, in telogen effluvium, large volume is hair is suddenly sent into the resting phase and they fall out soon.

Luckily for children, once the reason for stress is gone, hair is regained within 6 months to 1 year.

4) Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition whereby the thyroid gland of your child starts under-producing growth hormones. This affects the overall growth of the child while also affecting the growth of hair and can be one of the reasons.

Other causes include:

  • Pulling of hair into braids, ponytails, etc. which puts pressure on hair.
  • Habitual plucking of hair by children
  • Lack of proper nutrients like Iron and Biotin.

If you child has started losing his hair, take him to his pediatrician and start a treatment soon. They will most likely gain the lost hair back. Best of luck.