Hair loss is a standard part of life, even in children. If a child is losing more hair than usual, the loss may be due to an underlying health condition. Here at The Hair Loss Recovery Program, we most frequently observe a few typical conditions that cause hair loss in children, and may require hair loss treatments. Tinea capitis, alopecia areata, and several others are among those often found. At least 3% of pediatric doctor visits are spurred on by hair loss.
Children’s hair growth cycle follows the same arc as an adult cycle. Strands will actively grow for 2-6 years before entering the telogen phase. Once the strands have lingered in the telogen for three months, they will fall out and be replaced with a new strand.
Causes of Hair Loss in Children
Here are the top four causes of hair loss in children:
Telogen effluvium – This is a condition that affects both adults and children. Telogen represents a natural phase in the hair cycle. Approximately 15% of strands are in this phase at any given time. Telogen effluvium is when this phase is unexpectedly interrupted throwing most or all hair into the telogen phase. This is usually caused by stress, illness, injury, a medication side effect, or vitamin deficiency. This period can last for an indeterminate amount of time and may result in partial or complete baldness. There is no specific test to diagnose this condition, but it tends to resolve itself when the cause of the condition is removed.
Hair shaft trauma – Another reason children may lose their hair is due to direct trauma or stress to the hair. This is termed hair shaft trauma which is most often a result of pulling the hair, constant rubbing, or chemical burns from hair products. The hair tends to re-grow once the irritant has been removed. In extreme cases, the scalp may have become scarred which will prevent the hair from growing back.
Alopecia areata – When children’s hair falls out in oval or round patterns suddenly, it’s called alopecia areata. Ordinarily, this will happen rapidly over the space of a few days. The conditions present as a smooth bald pattern on the scalp. Doctors believe this rare condition is caused by the immune system attacking its own follicles. It’s diagnosed by a scalp examination after all other conditions have been eliminated. Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia areata, however, hair growth can be encouraged through the use of targeted medications. In many cases, the condition results in total hair loss.
Tinea capitis – This is a common infection that strikes children worldwide. It is a fungal infection that is in the ringworm family. Its most often found in school-age children and can spread easily. This type of ringworm causes scaly lesions to form on the eyebrows, lashes, and scalp. Pediatricians diagnose the condition by observing the rings on the scalp or confirming the diagnosis with ultraviolet light. Tinea capitis is easily treated with a unique shampoo paired with an antifungal medication
How We Can Help
The hair specialists here at The Hair Loss Recovery Program are always here to offer the support you need to monitor your child’s health. If you think your child may be suffering from hair loss, give us a call today at (416) 439-4247 to schedule an evaluation. The earlier you come in, the more reasonable chance we have of restoring their luscious locks.