People commonly associate hair loss with aging. In reality, however, people of all ages can suffer from this embarrassing issue, including children. Concerned parents can benefit from understanding what kinds of issues can cause hair loss in children, as well as possible solutions for managing or reversing the problem.
Types and Causes of Pediatric Hair Loss
Hair loss in children can take a few different forms and occur for a variety of reasons. Medical causes of hair loss in children include:
Alopecia areata – This condition counts as an autoimmune disease, with the immune system wrongly attacking its own healthy cells rather than an invading disease organism. When the immune system attacks the hair follicles, kids may lose their hair in patches or band-shaped patterns in the head. Alternatively, some kids may develop either thinning hair or total loss of all hair. Treatment of the underlying autoimmune disorder can allow hair to regrow.
Tinea capitis – This problem occurs when ringworm fungi infect the skin of the scalp, causing characteristic ring-shaped bald patches. Antifungal shampoos and other medications can clear up tinea capitis.
Thyroid disorders – When a child’s thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone (a problem called hypothyroidism), hair can become dry and fall out. Thyroid drugs can reverse this imbalance, but the lost hair will have to grow back at its own pace.
Nutritional imbalances – Kids who suffer from an eating disorder or who simply don’t get balanced daily nutrition can experience hair loss. Ask your pediatrician to check your child’s levels of vitamin A, biotin, niacin, zinc, and iron.
Medication – Certain medications can cause hair loss in children. For instance, chemotherapy drugs can interfere with normal hair follicle function, temporarily preventing the head from growing new hair to replace old hairs as they fall out.
Children can also lose hair for reasons not strictly related to medical conditions. Examples include:
Normal hair loss in babies – Newborns commonly lose whatever hair they were born with during the first six months of life. New, mature hair will replace this lost hair. Babies whose heads constantly rub against surfaces such as pillows or mattresses may lose patches of hair, which should regrow without complications.
Trichotillomania – In this obsessive-compulsive disorder, children may consciously or unconsciously pull out individual hairs until temporary bald patches result. Some kids even eat their hair. If you notice your child practicing this behavior, schedule an appointment with a pediatric behavioral therapist. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help put a stop to it, giving the missing hair a chance to grow back and keeping the condition from continuing into adulthood.
No matter how embarrassing or even frightening pediatric hair loss may seem, professional evaluation, skilled treatment of underlying conditions, and state-of-the-art hair restoration technologies can help. If your child suffers from hair loss, click here to set up a free consultation at Custom Hair Tampa Bay.
Photo Credit: florentiabuckingham Via Pixabay