Hair care for children is a booming trend among parents and their little ones. Visit a grocery store, and you’ll find an aisle filled with childcare’s hair care products, from shampoo, conditioners, hair balm, to curl cream. Those looking for all-natural solutions turn to organic shampoo or moringa shampoo for kids with gentle formula. These products come in different colors and scents to make shower trips more fun with the kids.
Losing hair is natural among adults as they age, but it’s a whole different matter if it happens to children. Pediatric alopecia is alarming for parents, especially if the child or teen becomes upset about their thin hair and bald spots. In reality, hair loss in children is very common. But with proper diagnosis, parents can easily treat different causes of hair loss.
It’s normal for children to shed a few hairs every day, but specific conditions result in abnormal hair loss. There are plenty of causes of early hair loss and treatment options are also available. When left untreated, this can have psychological effects on children, so it’s important to consult a doctor for proper treatment. If your child is suffering from hair loss, this article will shed light on possible causes and treatment.
Causes of hair loss
Possible causes of hair loss in children range from infection or scalp problems. This happens to children at 26 months or older. A pediatrician or a child dermatologist runs examinations to detect possible conditions.
The most common cause of hair loss among children is tinea capitis, also known as scalp ringworm, a treatable fungal infection. Ringworm infects the hair and causes a reddish ring-shaped rash or lesions that can be contagious. Children with tinea capitis obtain scaly, flaky, and bumpy skin and develop hair loss patches. Swollen glands and fever are other potential symptoms.
Alopecia areata is a non-contagious autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss. The immune system invades the follicles, the part where hair grows. It starts with the sudden emergence of oval or round patches of hair loss without broken hairs or scaling. Ridging and pitting of the nails are other symptoms. Alopecia areata has different types, depending on the affected area and pattern of hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is another form of hair loss that happens after an emotional or physical shock or severe stress, such as serious injury, high fever, surgery with general anesthesia, intense grief, or side effects of certain medications. Hair loss happens when the follicles stop growing and enter the telogen phase (resting phase).
Children are also likely to lose hair for nonmedical reasons. In their early months, babies lose the hair they’re born with. This is the body’s way to replace baby hair with mature hair.
Between three and six months, babies develop bald spots caused by continuous rubbing or friction against the car seat, crib mattress, or floor. Children overcome this behavior once they learn to sit up and stand, allowing the hair to grow back.
Hair abuse is another common cause of hair loss in children. Children’s skin is very sensitive, so constant exposure to chemical products used for bleaching, perming, dyeing, or straightening damages the hair shaft. Blow-drying also causes the hair to fall out by subjecting the hair to intense heat.
Intense brushing or pulling the child’s hair into tight ponytails, bun, or braid leads to hair follicle trauma, causing the hair to fall out. Being gentle on styling and combing will allow the hair to grow back.
Treatment and prevention
Discussing hair loss with the child is important to prevent any psychological effects. Losing hair is an upsetting experience no matter the age, but it can be extremely traumatic for little ones.
Explain to the child the reason or the cause why it happened and let them know about your plan to solve the problem. If it is treatable, inform them that the hair will soon grow back. Otherwise, seek a pediatric dermatologist for diagnosis and medical treatment.
While waiting for the hair to grow, encourage your child to follow home remedies to boost hair growth. When preparing their meals, include more protein (e.g., beans, eggs, fish, and lean meats) and iron (e.g., spinach, pumpkin seeds, and lean beef). You can also massage their scalp to boost blood flow.
Hair loss can be a temporary or permanent condition, so it’s important to address this from the start. Parents play a huge role in maintaining the health and well-being of their children, including proper hair care. In the event of hair loss, educate the child about the situation and work with a pediatric dermatologist to find the best treatment option.