Hair loss at any age can be upsetting and hard to deal with, but for children it can be especially tricky. Often completely out of the blue and sometimes resulting in large bald patches emerging on the scalp, the hair loss can seem to come out of nowhere. Although we don't treat children under the age of 16 at the centre, we can give some insight on what might be causing the hair loss. It is advisable that any child with hair loss visits their GP who can refer them to a specialist.
Happily, in the vast majority of cases hair loss in children is only temporary. If your child is experiencing patchy hair loss, perhaps with flakes of skin, it's probably the most common cause of hair loss in children that you have to thank: the fungal infection Tinea Capitis. Also known as scalp ringworm, the fungus attacks the scalp follicles and invades the hair shaft. It's fairly easy to spread, and can be passed on via hats, pillows, bath towels and similar objects. If you think that this is the cause of your child's hair loss, visit your GP who can prescribe an anti-fungus treatment.
If bald areas have emerged that appear smooth and entirely hairless but there are no other symptoms, it may be that alopecia areata is the cause. This is an auto immune disorder, where the body rejects its own hair follicles. The trigger for the disorder varies from case to case, though it could be something as routine as a vaccine, or something undetected like a food allergy. There is no cure for this type of hair loss, so it's recommended that the trigger for your child is found to prevent it from happening again. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, hair will regrow within 12 months.
If your child wears their hair in braids or a tight ponytail, or if they use hair extensions or weaves, traction alopecia may be to blame for their hair loss. These hair styles can cause tension on the hair follicle which can damage it over time. If weak, frizzy hair is growing in the place of strong healthy locks, which is often visible at the hairline, this type of hair loss could be the cause, and the troublesome hairstyles should no longer be used. Hair should grow back in around three months after the tension is stopped.
Finally, if you're noticing your child twisting or pulling their hair (they may not even realise that they're doing it) it may be that trichotillomania is the cause of the hair loss. This is when the hair is pulled out continuously, often leading to large areas of thin hair with visible breakage. Trichotillomania can sometimes be the symptom of an underlying anxiety, although it is not always the case. If you're unsure as to why your child may be pulling their hair out, it's best to visit your GP who can advise what to do.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, and other lifestyle factors such as diet, or activities like swimming in chlorinated pools, whilst unlikely to cause hair loss, can cause the condition of hair to deteriorate and appear thinner and coarser. Your GP is always the best port of call to establish first the type of hair loss, and also what can be done about it.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.