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Causes of Hair Loss in Babies and Children

While hair loss in babies and children may be perceived as a cause for concern, hair loss in children can be mostly natural – in young children, as many as 50-100 hair strands can fall out per day. Patchy hair loss of this nature, which results from natural growth and causes, usually ensures that the child’s hair is likely to return again fairly quickly.

However, despite the natural causes of hair loss in babies and children, some forms of hairloss can belie a medical or more prolonged condition.

Child with alopecia

Hair growth in childhood

Hair in babies can vary extensively. While one baby may be born with a full head of hair, another may seem almost bald at birth. Both of these extremes are perfectly normal, including all variations in between. A baby’s hair often falls out after three months, after which a second crop of hair replaces the first. Sometimes, this process may be gradual; for other babies, the gap between the growth of the two crops may be more pronounced, perhaps causing parents to worry. As long as the scalp looks healthy, then it’s most likely that nothing is amiss.

The child will eventually grow a full head of hair – like an adult’s head, each child’s head will hold around 100,000 hairs. Every individual hair grows for three years at a rate of roughly half a millimetre a day, before dropping out and being replaced by a new strand.

A child’s hair can often look sparse up until around the age of three, for the hair to then thicken up in the next few years. Most children who seem to have relatively little hair in their first years do develop a normal head of hair.

Hair loss conditions in infants

Despite cases of natural hair loss in infants, some instances of hair loss in childhood can hint at a more pressing problem with hair growth:

  • Tinea Capitis, also known as scalp ringworm, is the most common cause of hair loss in children according to the American Hair Loss Association. The condition is caused by a fungus that attacks the hair shaft and breaks the hairs, causing patchy hair loss. The complaint can be contracted from other children.
  • Alopecia Areata is characterised by a circular, bald patch on the scalp. The condition is not harmful, but the complaint can possibly lead to full hairloss on the scalp. There is no approved treatment for Alopecia Areata in children, however 80% of infant sufferers will grow their hair back within a year.
  • Trichotillomania results from the child twisting its hair, resulting in pressure on the follicles that creates uneven bald patches. The condition may be perhaps related to the child incurring stress. Hair should grow back once the pressure is removed, provided the hair follicles are not scarred. Treatment often involves psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as this is considered to be a behavioural compulsion rather than a hair loss condition.

Other possible complaints include Traction Alopecia, Telogen Effluvium and Loose Anagen Syndrome.

If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from one of these hair loss conditions, the Belgravia Centre recommends you make an appointment with your GP so they can diagnose the condition and find any possible underlying conditions that might be causing the problem. At Belgravia we cannot treat anyone under 16 years of age. Children with hair loss – as well as their friends and families – may find the support of charitable organisations such as the Little Princess Trust, Hero by LPT and Alopecia UK extremely helpful.

find out about hair loss in teenagers


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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