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Alopecia, sometimes known as hair loss, is not an issue that only affects adults. It is estimated that 3% of all pediatric clinic visits in the United States are made because a child is experiencing hair loss. Hair loss in a child can be upsetting, regardless of whether it appears as hair thinning or clear bald spots. The great news is that you can find an effective treatment for most hair loss cases once a correct diagnosis has been made.
Medical Conditions That Can Affect Children’s Hair Loss
Most hair loss cases in children aged 26 months and up can be attributed to health issues. The physician or a dermatologist who treats your kid should be able to diagnose these diseases and provide the proper treatment for your child.
Tinea capitis, more generally referred to as scalp ringworm, is an ailment caused by a fungus that typically affects youngsters. It can manifest itself in various ways, but the most common manifestation is scaly areas of hair thinning on the scalp. The hairs can get detached at the skin surface, giving the appearance of small black patches on the scalp. The spots are typically circular or oval.
A microscopic inspection can verify the diagnosis of tinea capitis if the child’s doctor suspects it is present. It would be best to give your child an antifungal shampoo containing either selenium sulfide or ketoconazole to reduce the fungus shed. The treatment often consists of an oral antifungal medication, like griseofulvin, for eight weeks.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that results in patchy hair loss in only one area of the body. The condition can be recognized by the abrupt emergence of bald patches that are circular or oval. The areas are devoid of scaling and damaged hairs, giving them a silky or smooth appearance. In addition, you can find ridging and pit of the nails in approximately 25 percent of children.
There is currently no known cure for alopecia areata; however, medication can help some children manage the disorder’s symptoms. Even while regeneration is uncertain and many people experience further hair loss, many people find that they can recover their hair within a year. Alopecia totalis, often known as complete baldness, affects approximately five percent of children with this disorder as they age.
Trichotillomania is when a child experiences excessive hair loss due to rubbing, pulling, plucking, or twisting their hair. The pattern of hair loss is spotty, and damaged hairs of varying lengths can be seen throughout the scalp. Typically, patches appear on the child’s dominant hand side.
Trichotillomania is a compulsive hair-pulling disorder that can be brought on by a stressful event in a child’s life, such as the death of a grandparent, the arrival of a new sibling, a divorce, or even difficulties at school. If you find that your child is ripping out their hair, scolding them will probably not help. However, counseling to assist your child in coping with the stress or worry that contributed to the development of the habit may help break the cycle.
Telogen effluvium is a disorder in which the regular phase of hair growth is disrupted due to severe or sudden stress, such as exceptionally high fever, treatment under anesthesia, a severe accident, or the administration of certain prescribed medications. The follicles enter a resting phase rather than growing, which causes the hair to fall out prematurely. After around six to sixteen weeks have passed, significant hair loss occurs, which can result in full or partial baldness.
There is presently no treatment available for telogen effluvium, and there is also no convincing test that can detect it. On the other hand, once the stressful incident has passed, complete hair growth will typically resume within a period of six months up to one year.
Even though it happens less frequently, hair loss may be a sign of shortages in several nutrients, including the following:
- Vitamin H, also known as biotin, is a member of the B vitamin family and plays a vital role in the body’s conversion of carbohydrates into glucose for energy.
- Zinc is a necessary mineral that plays a vital role in various cell metabolic processes. In addition, it helps maintain healthy growth and development levels throughout pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.
- Hair loss is one of the potential side effects of consuming an excessive amount of vitamin A.
Most children will not suffer from nutritional deficiencies, resulting in hair loss, if they consume a healthy diet and a wide variety of foods. You should consult the child’s primary care physician before administering dietary supplements to them if you have any concerns.
When the thyroid is abnormally low and not producing enough of the thyroid hormones needed to regulate metabolism, a kid may experience hair loss. A blood test is typically used to arrive at a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. The endocrinologist may recommend hormone replacement therapy in the form of medicine, but the specifics of the treatment may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the following:
- The age of your child, their current health, and any relevant medical history
- The full scope of the disease
- The level of tolerance that your child has for various medications, surgeries, or therapies
- Predictions concerning the development of the illness
- Any personal preferences or preferences overall
Hair Loss From Nonmedical Causes
Although several reasons require medical care to treat, other forms of hair loss will go away on their own in due course. Some of these are:
Loss of hair in newborns: The infant hair of most babies falls out within the first couple of weeks of life, eventually replacing it with adult hair.
Rubbing: Between three and six months, many infants develop a bald spot due to constant rubbing against the mattress of their crib or the fabric of their car seat.
Hair abuse: It can cause the hair to fall out by vigorously brushing it or pulling it into rigid ponytails or braids. A gentler approach to the hair will encourage its growth if it has been lost.
A variety of factors can cause the loss of hair in children. You should contact your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns regarding hair loss or if you feel your child may have a medical condition.