Understanding Hair Loss in Children
When we think of a person who suffers from hair loss, the first image that comes to mind is probably an older male. But children are often plagued by hair loss as well despite their young age.
Children with hair loss may gradually develop bald spots or lose their hair entirely. Understandably, parents may panic the second they realize their child is losing his or her hair, but it’s important to stay calm and avoid scaring your child and yourself.
Before parents assume the worst, consult with a dermatologist to determine the cause of the hair loss. Hair loss occurs for many reasons – genetics, vitamin deficiency and stress are just a few contributing factors.
Causes of Hair Loss in Children
Alopecia: Alopecia areata is the most common form of alopecia in which round patches of hair completely fall out. It is technically an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles, but it’s not a serious one. Additionally, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases estimates that the hair grows back completely in 95 out of 100 cases. Traumatic alopecia may be causes by constant pulling of the hair from tight braids, barrettes or ponytails.
Anagen effluvium: Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Typically, the hair grows back within a few weeks or months of stopping treatment.
Folliculitis: This is inflamed hair follicles, sometimes with a deep bacterial infection, and can be treated with antibiotics or medicated shampoo.
Hormones: Thyroid disease, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, can cause hair loss.
Infancy: Some infants manifest triangular hair loss patches. Others may initially have a full head of hair but will lose it. These issues can be congenital.
Telogen effluvium: This is the shedding of hair some months after a traumatic health event, such as a very high fever, hospitalization, or shock. Telogen effluvium causes the hair to go into one phase as it is not essential to survival and is shed later in a wave. Luckily, it grows back in a few months.
Tinea capitis: Also called “ringworm of the scalp,” tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the hair that can take many forms leading to hair loss. It can look like a large infected oozy area, called a kerion, or it can be very flaky and irregular, says Polisky.
Trichotillomania: Often shortened simply to “tric,” this disorder is hair loss from repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off. Symptoms usually begin before age 17 and is often a result of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can also be triggered or made worse by anxiety, depression or a stressful event. Polisky warns that parents are often completely unaware that their child is pulling his or her hair out.
Emotional Effect of Hair Loss in Children
Hair loss in children can have a tremendous negative emotional impact. For a not insignificant number of children, hair loss can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem while other children may not be bothered by their hair loss at all.
Though some children may not be troubled by the hair loss itself, the way a child’s peers treat them can be much different. Your child’s doctor may recommend seeing a counselor to deal with his or her feelings. But, most importantly, stay positive.
Minimizing the visibility of the hair loss may help some kids who are self-conscious. Hats, changes in hair style, headbands or wigs may be helpful.
Steve Latham Hair Restoration Clinics in Alpharetta, Georgia and Latham Hair Transplants in Huntsville, Alabama offer a wide variety of hair loss treatment and hair restoration options for men and women of all ages and hair types. We encourage you to contact us with your hair loss concerns and schedule a free, private one-on-one consultation with our professional hair loss and hair restoration specialist to determine the best course of treatment for your particular hair loss situation.