Is it normal for a child to lose hair? Yes, it is normal for children to have some hair shedding each day. However, there are certain conditions that cause abnormal hair loss in children. Just like it’s common for adults to lose 50-100 hairs per day, children’s hair also has a predictable life cycle.
Not only that, but at least 3% of visits to the pediatrician is also due to hair loss in children. And even though some hair loss is normal, an excessive amount may be an indication of a health condition.
Some of the most common causes of hair in children include ringworm and alopecia areata.
Causes of Hair Loss in Children
Kid’s hair can fall out abnormally for many reasons. However, the following conditions are the most common causes of children’s hair loss:
- Ringworm. This is an infection and is the most common cause children’s hair loss. It attacks the hair and causes ring-like, scaly lesions to form. Because it is a contagious fungal, it can easily spread among school age children. It can affect the eyelashes, scalp, and eyebrows. When the scalp is affected, hairs appear to be broken off at the surface. The appearance of this fungal is often scaly or flaky. Many doctors use an ultraviolet light to confirm the diagnosis. Luckily, it can be easily treated with special shampoo and antifungal medications. This infection is usually gone in about eight weeks.
- Traumatic alopecia. Physical stress to the hair shaft can cause children to lose hair. Traumatic alopecia can be caused by consistent pulling of the hair such as braids or tight ponytails. Chemical burns to the scalp also causes traumatic alopecia. Your doctor will determine what action is causing it if he suspects this type of alopecia. Once the cause of traumatic alopecia is identified and stopped, hair usually regrows. On the other hand, if traumatic alopecia goes on long enough, it can cause scarring. In this case, the hair may not grow back.
- Telogen effluvium. When the hair life cycle is interrupted it results in telogen effluvium. In general, 10 to 15 percent of your child’s scalp hair is in the telogen phase (resting). But when telogen effluvium is at work, most of the hairs are thrown into the telogen phase. And complete baldness can occur after a few weeks or months. Telogen effluvium occurs for a number of reasons including vitamin A overdose, medication side effects, or general anesthesia. This hair loss condition is usually diagnosed after a detailed examination and medical history. It will go away on it’s own, and kids’ hair normally grows back with about 6 weeks.
- Alopecia areata. When kids’ hair abruptly begins falling out in an oval or round pattern. Hair loss due to alopecia areata happens within a matter of a few days. And the bald patterns are smooth but not inflamed. Unfortunately, there’s no specific test to detect alopecia areata. Instead, it’s often diagnosed after an examination of the scalp, and other conditions are ruled out. Even though it cannot be cured, dermatologists use medications to help encourage hair growth.
If you’re concerned about your child’s hair loss, you should definitely talk to a pediatrician or dermatologist. When the cause of hair is diagnosed and treated early on, the more likely the treatment will be successful.
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