Hair Loss in Children: What Moms Need to Know
Have you noticed hair loss or bald patches on your toddler’s head? Does this frustrating issue keep you awake at night? The first thing you should know is that a baby can lose some or even all hair in the first several months of life, and it’s totally normal. However, hair loss is less common in toddler boys and girls. It’s truly alarming, and you should bring your toddler to the health care provider or pediatric dermatologist for evaluation! But don’t panic! With a proper diagnosis, most cases of hair loss are successfully treated!
We understand you can’t wait and want to know the answer here and now. So, let’s discuss what could cause hair loss in your child and what symptoms are normal. You’ll also find here well-tried baby hair care tips from our experts and experienced moms. Scroll down!
What Can Cause Hair Loss In A Child?
There are numerous reasons for hair loss on a child’s head. Below, we’ll take a closer look at both non-medical and medical causes.
Non-medical Reasons of Hair Loss in Kids
The following hair issues don’t require a doctor’s attention and should resolve on their own with time:
- Newborn hair loss – as we touched on above, new babies may lose their hair during the first several months of life. Don’t worry! Baby hair will be replaced by permanent hair.
- Rubbing – infants can have bald patches resulting from friction with bedding. When your little one learns to sit up, hair will regrow.
- Hair abuse – hair loss in a toddler girl can be caused by pulling the hair into tight ponytails, barrettes, or braids. Just make sure her hairstyle is more comfortable and wash her hair with mild sodium chloride free shampoo. It’llallowyourlittleone’shairtogrowback.
● Hair pulling or twirling – it can be a baby habit just like thumb sucking. However, if your child doesn’t outgrow this after 3 years of age, it can be a sign of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, so you should take him/her to a doctor. When a child stops pulling or twirling hair, it should regrow.
Medical Reasons of Hair Loss in Kids
- Nutritional deficiency – if your little one experiences a deficiency in Vitamin H (biotin) or Zinc, it can cause hair loss. Though less common, hair loss can be a symptom of too much Vitamin A.
Luckily, with a healthy, varied diet, most kids don’t experience nutritional deficiency. However, if you suspect an issue, bring your kid to a pediatrician prior to giving any nutritional supplements.
- Alopecia areata – it’s a rare disease that can show up in oval or round slick and smooth hairless patches. Alopecia areata is caused by the body’s own immune system that develops an allergy towards the hair follicles. Unfortunately, there is no completely effective therapy for this condition, however, it can be controlled in some kids and hair can grow back. On the other hand, alopecia areata can progress to alopecia totalis (total hair loss on the scalp) or even alopecia universalis (a complete loss of body hair).
- Tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp – it’s a fungal infection that causes hair thinning or hair loss in children. The symptoms may include oval or round scaly patches on the child’s head, broken hairs that look like black dots on the scalp, red circular lesions, flaking, and itchiness.
If you suspect tinea capitis, see the doctor. After microscopic examination, he’ll prescribe the treatment that can involve oral antifungal and antifungal shampoo.
Tinea capitis is contagious, so make sure your kid doesn’t share things like brushes, hair clippers, hats, pillowcases, etc.
- Telogen effluvium – it’s a condition in which hair loss usually occurs after recent severe stress like illness, surgery, bad injury, the use of certain prescription medications, death of loved one, etc. The normal cycle of hair growth is interrupted and hair starts shedding excessively, leading to partial or total baldness.
There is no tests or treatment for Telogen Effluvium. However, if you suspect it, provide your child with a stress-free atmosphere and a healthy diet. Once the stressful event is over, hair should grow back within 6 months to a year.
- Hypothyroidism – it’s an endocrine issue in which the thyroid is underactive and produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones needed for proper metabolism. Hormonal imbalance may be the cause of hair loss. So, if your toddler’s hair sheds excessively, talk to the pediatrician about doing necessary tests to rule out possible hormonal problems.
How To Stop Hair Loss In Toddlers?
If it’s newborn hair loss, there’s really nothing you can do about it, just wait a bit and hair will be regained during months 6 to 12. However, you can reduce hair loss from friction by giving your little one more tummy time.
But if you suspect a medical condition we’ve described above, do talk to the health care provider to get the right treatment and prevent further hair loss in your child.
How to Care for Baby’s Hair?
Do not shampoo your little one every day, experts agree that 2 times a week will be enough. Otherwise, you risk drying out the baby’s scalp.
Use mild baby shampoo, it’s less irritating for little one’s skin.
Do not scrub the baby’s head – it can stress hair follicles and speed up hair loss or breakage, so be gentle when you wash your little one’s hair.
Comb baby’s hair with a wide-toothed comb or soft-bristle brush to avoid hair damage.
Do not use tight headbands and avoid pulling your baby’s hair back too tightly.
Luckily, most cases of hair loss in kids can be effectively treated when properly identified and diagnosed. If you’ve noticed an issue, see your health care provider or pediatric dermatologist so that your little one gets the right treatment. And hopefully, he/she will sport a full head of hair soon!
Author’s Bio: Rachel Hudson s is a mom to two amazing kids. She has been writing on topics related to kids’ health, development, and education for more than 5 years now. Rachel sees her mission in supporting new parents.
Hair loss in infancy and childhood is not such a rare problem, however, it does scare parents! So, is it normal for a toddler to lose hair? Or is it a symptom of bad health issues?