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Hair Loss in Children

In the United States, around two million children are victims of hair loss. While 60% of these cases are easily treated, just imagine the problem caused by the remaining 40%. It is heartbreaking to see a child losing his hair especially on the part of parents. There are causes for hair loss among the young and it must not only involve the treatment but also the prevention. For a grown up, to start losing his hair is already a tragedy; although hair loss may not cause so much damage in children but it could be embarrassing, frustrating and emotionally depleting.

There are five conditions causing hair loss in children: alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, tinia capitis, trichotillomania and traction alopecia,

Alopecia Areata (AA)

Round or oval patches suddenly appear on hair which is smoothly bald with no signs of broken hair, inflammation or scaling. It happens over night or takes a few days. Children with alopecia areata must be placed under the care of a dermatologist. About 5% of these infected children will soon develop loss of hair in the entire scalp and a few will have complete loss of body hair. There is no cure since the disease is little understood. The FDA has not approved recommended any drug although there are treatments to promote hair growth but none can prevent new hair patches or cure the disease. Seek the advice of your health care professional; hair loss is possible to reoccur during the child’s lifetime.

Telogen effluvium

This is an abnormal occurrence in the normal hair growth cycle. Hair follows a steady growth for 2 to 6 years then a brief transitional phase of 3 weeks where hair follicles regenerate and then a resting phase for 3 months for hair follicles to lie dormant- the telogen phase. After this stage, hair grows abundantly again. Folks, especially children, with this abnormality cannot get out of the telogen phase for hair will not grow again and within 6 to 16 weeks, partial or complete baldness will be evident. Causes of telogen effluvium are: high fever, surgery under anesthesia, excess vitamin A, certain medication and emotional stress. Among children, when it is caused by emotional stress and the condition is over, full hair growth occurs after 6 months to a year.

Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis is the most common hair loss cause among children. It is also called as ringworm of the scalp which is due to a superficial; fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes but more attacking the hair shaft and follicles. Children have patchy hair loss with broken hair above the surface of the scalp. Patches are round or oval and sometime in irregular shapes. Broken hair appears like black dots or gray flakes on the scalp. Treatment is an antifungal medication as griseofulvin which is orally taken for 8 weeks. Also wash the scalp with Nizoral shampoo 2 to 3 times a week. Continue oral medication and shampoo for 8 weeks.

Trichotillamania or Trauma

Hair loss in children is caused by traction due tight braids or ponytails and by friction due rubbing against a wheel chair or bed. Chemical burns might also be its source. Hair loss is patchy and characterized by broken hair of varying lengths. Some children have trichophagy exhibited by habits of plucking and eating the hair while on bed and watching TV. The best treatment is to stop whatever causes the trauma.

Traction Alopecia

It is the physical damage of hair commonly among girls who use many types of physical and chemical assault in the name of beauty. Constant fluffing, washing, teasing, combing, blow drying, straightening, hot combing, and bleaching are the most common culprits. The hair is fragile so it breaks when handled roughly. Hair styles as tight ponytails, braiding, barrettes and permanent waving are damaging to the hair. If hair loss is noticed, consult your health provider immediately and stop torturing your hair.. Recommended is the gentle manner of handling the hair as it takes around 3 months to continue its normal growth.

Vast majority of children suffer hair losses are due to these five conditions. Parents should bring their children to the physician as soon as hair loss condition is observed so it can be treated immediately. All hair loss conditions can be diagnosed and some are treated by physicians or dermatologists so the treatment for hair loss for your kids is not such a big problem. Although proper hair care is a great way to prevent hair loss.