Mostly we think of adults when we think about alopecia but children can also sometimes experience hair loss.
There are several reasons why children can experience hair loss and scientists have found that patchy hair loss can be due to traction alopecia and alopecia areata.
Additional causes of hair loss include tinea capitis, folliculitis, and trichotillomania.
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles while trichotillomania is a condition in which people feel the need to pull out their own hair.
Folliculitis can be caused by a range of pathogenic microbes including bacteria and viruses or even poor hygiene.
Tinea capitis is sometimes called ringworm but it is actually a fungal infection.
Telogen effluvium can happen in both adults and children and it is when more hairs enter the telogen phase of the hair cycle.
This is the stage when the hair is resting, and the result of telogen effluvium is that a person will show thinning of the hair because too many hairs are in the resting state instead of the active state of the hair cycle.
In children, this condition can result in a pattern of diffuse hair loss on the scalp.
Telogen effluvium is often due to the occurrence of some stressful event that occurs such as illness, psychological stress, or iron deficiency.
Main Causes of hair loss in children:
Alopecia areata and tinea capitis are the two most common reasons that children experience hair loss.
Researchers have also found that alopecia areata is more common in boys than in girls, and is a condition that can result in patchy or diffuse hair loss in the case of children. This is an autoimmune illness that can be difficult to treat.
Research studies have indicated that while alopecia areata is more common in male children that trichotillomania is more common in female children.
The trichotillomania can be severe leading to considerable hair loss in those children who have the condition.
Another cause of hair loss in children is of course chemotherapy for cancer treatment, but hair usually grows back once chemotherapy treatments have ended. There are options at hair loss clinics such as the Vera Clinic which can help.
Treatment and management of alopecia in childhood does rely on diagnosing the causes of the condition.
The type of treatment also depends on the age of the child as some treatments cannot be given to very young children and there are other options that can potentially be used for teenagers.
Tinea capitis can be successfully treated by the medications terbinafine and griseofulvin for children who are older than 2 years of age.
Hair should grow back after the child has been successfully treated and the fungus is eliminated within about 6 months to a year. The condition does need to be treated to stop the spread of the condition and continued hair loss issues.
Alopecia areata is a disorder in which T cells of the immune system attack the hair follicles leading to loss of the hair.
There are options for treating the hair loss in children such as using topical corticosteroids which help to reduce the inflammatory response causing the hairs to be attacked.
Studies have indicated that cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT can be of help in treating children who have the hair pulling condition trichotillomania.
Children and teenagers need to learn how to take care of their hair and to also avoid placing stress on their hair, since traction alopecia can occur when hair is pulled tightly into ponytails or buns.
Before you consider any treatment it’s smartest to consult a professional doctor who will look into your health problems and give you the best possible solutions.