There are children with hair loss out there. It may not be as common as it is in adults, but it exists and it can be as big of a problem for them as it is for us, if not more so. The causes of hair loss in children are not always as clear as they are in adults, nor are they as easy to treat.
We will look at these causes in this article, as we examine children with hair loss and try to get to the root of the problem. If your child is suffering from baldness or thinning hair, then this article may be able to provide some much needed answers.
Children with Hair Loss
Hair loss may be dismissed as a vanity issue. But you can’t ignore just how much this issue affects the sufferer. It damages their self-confidence, eats into their self worth. It’s not about vanity, it’s much more than that. So when it affects children, it becomes an even bigger problem and one that can have far reaching consequences.
Hair loss is said to affect 30 million adult women in the United States, which is roughly 20% of the female population. It will also affect the majority of men above the age of 30, and a large proportion of men above the age of 21. Children with hair loss is much rarer, but it still accounts for 3% of all pediatric visits. When you consider that many parents would consider children with hair loss to be a significant problem and one worthy of seeing a doctor, then we can take these figures to be a fair representation of the wider population.
So, what are the causes of hair loss in children and what are the cures, if any?
Causes of Hair Loss in Children
There are a number of causes, a number of reasons that your child may be suffering from hair loss. The following applies to children under the age of 12. If your child is a teenager, then their condition may be caused by something also common in adults. To learn more about that, please see our articles on Hair Loss in Men and Hair Loss in Women.
Ringworm is a parasitic infection that presents itself as a ring of red on the skin. This is a very visible and symptomatic condition, which means it is fairly easy to spot. It is also relatively harmless and easy to treat. However, ringworm is infectious, so make sure your child is kept away from other children.
When ringworm appears on the scalp it can cause bald patches to appear around it. It will not cause all of the hair to fall out, but it can cause complete baldness on the spot around the infection.
Ringworm can be treated with a simple course of anti fungal medication that will be prescribed by your doctor. You may also be prescribed a medicated shampoo that will help to battle the ringworm along with the medication.
Treatment will not last for more than a few weeks. And although the child is infectious and may suffer from some irritation around the infected area, they should be relatively unharmed throughout and will not suffer a great deal.
This is a medical condition that is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles. Those hair follicles become damaged and the hair falls out. It typically occurs in patches, but it can spread and it can cause very noticeable hair loss. This is a condition that also affects adults. In children, however, it may seem even more pronounced as they have smaller heads.
What’s more, this condition can progress to something much worse, something that will cause all of the hair to fall out. In children with hair loss, this is only a minor concern. But if the condition progresses then it is something to worry about. There is also a condition that can developed whereby all the hair on the body will fall out.
There is very little that can be done about these hair loss conditions. However, you should take your child to see a doctor nonetheless. They may prescribe a course of vitamins and/or minerals. They may also prescribe an ointment.
Vitamins can help to assist hair growth, as discussed on our hair growth vitamins page and our foods for hair growth pages. However, a lack of essential vitamins can cause the hair to fall out. These days, kids tend to eat a lot of junk food and have very limited diets. That doesn’t apply to all kids, but if yours is one of them then their diet may be the cause of their hair loss.
If a child is not getting enough Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E or B Vitamins, then their skin, their hair and their nails will suffer. Their hair may begin to suffer breakage, it may begin to thin and it may even fall out altogether. To counteract this, just focus on giving your children a healthy and balanced diet. Your doctor can also run tests to determine if they are deficient in any particular vitamins. If so, then they may be able to prescribe a course of vitamins.
Trichotillomania and Stress
Trichotillomania is a condition in which the child plays with their hair. They may twist it, they may chew it, they may pull it out altogether. Whatever they do, it can damage their hair and if they habit gets worse it can cause bald patches across their head.
For much the same reason, you should avoid giving your child a hairstyle that places a lot of stress on their scalp. Tight ponytails and cornrows can do a lot of damage to their scalp, the roots and the follicles. Children who have grown up with their hair regularly in tight ponytails or cornrows tend to develop problems at a later age. What’s more, if it persists then this damage may not be repairable.
Your child’s hair should be allowed to flow freely. If it’s too long cut it. You can still put it into a ponytail, of course, just make sure it’s not too tight.