Hair Fall in Kids – Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments
If your child is losing a significant amount of hair early on, it’s important to look into the matter and get it treated immediately, be it due to medical or non-medical conditions. Losing a lot of hair amounts to a loss of confidence and self-esteem and you wouldn’t want your child to go through that.
Causes of Hair Fall in Kids and Treatments
Medical conditions are the main reasons for hair loss. Here are the most common reasons for hair loss in kids.
Medical conditions are biological conditions or physiological changes which lead to hair growth reduction or hair loss in children. These conditions require medical supervision and prescription medications for effective treatment. Here are a few common ones that occur in children:
1. Tinea Capitis
Tinea Capitis is denoted by scaly red areas or itchy patches on the scalp. Black dots appear where hair strands break off and swollen lymph nodes accompanied by low-grade fever are common symptoms of this infection.
Fungi known as dermatophytes cause patchy bald spots or ringworm on the scalp, a condition called Tinea Capitis. It is transmitted from person to person through physical contact and poor hygiene. Using used combs, bedding, and coming into contact with house pets prone to this infection also contribute to the development of this infection.
A visual examination is done by doctors for diagnosis. A special light known as the ‘Wood’s Lamp’ is used to examine and determine signs of infection on the scalp. Hair or skin samples are taken and sent to the lab for running fungi tests under a microscope.
Doctors prescribe Griseofulvin and Terbinafine Hydrochloride for the treatment of Tinea Capitis. These antifungal medications are taken up to six weeks along with high-fat foods to prevent the development of fungal infections.
2. Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is a condition which causes hair loss in certain regions of the scalp or all areas of the body. Its origins trace back to family history and the disease is found in people with familial medical histories of Type 1 Diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
There are no specific known causes for Alopecia in children. It is believed that certain environmental factors trigger this disease in those who are genetically predisposed to it.
Diagnosis is done by assessing the amount of hair fall due to this infection or by collecting hair samples and examining them under a microscope. A scalp biopsy along with blood tests for examining the presence of abnormal antibodies is done as part of diagnostics.
Radiation therapies such as photo-chemotherapy are effective modes of treatment for this disease. Steroid injections, corticosteroid creams, and rubbing certain medications for hair growth stimulation such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) are used for the treatment of this infection.
Trichotillomania is a mental disorder which involves compulsively pulling out hair strands due to stress or anxiety.
Psychological symptoms are the underlying cause of Trichotillomania and some experts believe that this is linked to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) syndrome.
Recurrent hair pulling is the common diagnosis of Trichotillomania. Since this is more of a behaviour-based disease over a fungal infection, doctors diagnose it through consistent hair-pulling habit detection.
Seeking emotional and mental help through support groups and behavioural therapies form the core of Trichotillomania treatment in children. Doctors may prescribe anti-depressant medications and mood enhancers such as Anafranil, Zyprexa, and N-acetylcysteine to ease symptoms and assist with treatment.
4. Telogen Effluvium
Telogen Effluvium is a type of non-scarring Alopecia infection which leads to diffuse hair loss in children. The infection persists for longer duration in those who have a background or a history of the infection.
Telogen occurs when normal hair follicle cycles get interrupted in children due to genetic high fever or extreme stress. The hair follicles enter a resting phase known as the ‘Telogen’ which is further accompanied by excessive shedding or severe hair fall.
There are currently no specific diagnostic tests for determining Telogen Effluvium. The experience of the physician followed by a visual examination is usually done for assessing the presence of this disease in children.
No specific treatments are available for this infection. Once the stressful period is over, hair follicle growth returns within a period of six months to a full year
5. Nutritional Deficiency
Nutritional deficiencies arise when the body does not get enough nutrients for its proper growth and development. Nutritional deficiencies lead to an array of health problems in children including hair loss.
Hair loss in children vitamin deficiency is linked to a lack of Vitamin H and Zinc in diets. Zinc fuels hair follicle growth and regulates hair development in childhood. Biotin converts carbohydrates to glucose for fuelling the body and a poor diet void in biotin is one of the main reasons for hair loss in kids.
Blood tests and consultations with a certified clinical nutritionist are the main modes of diagnosis for Nutritional Deficiencies in children. Changes in appearance, fatigue, and lack of proper body development are linked to diagnosis symptoms.
A healthy diet rich in vitamins, essential amino acids, and minerals serves as an effective treatment. Speak to a doctor before deciding to give your child nutritional supplements.
6. Endocrine Problems
The Endocrine is a collection of glands in the human body that secrete hormones to be carried out to various target organs. Endocrine problems or disorders typically lead to hair loss increase in children.
Endocrine problems such as Hypothyroidism where is the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough thyroid hormones result in hair loss. Lack of a regulated metabolism as a result of endocrine symptoms is linked to hair loss in children.
Diagnosis is done by running scans of the thyroid gland along with performing blood tests to assess the extent of this condition.
Hormone replacement medications are given for treatment purposes of endocrine-related problems. Medications prescribed depend on your child’s age, tolerance, and overall health. Consult with a certified paediatrician for learning about treatment options and expectations.
Non-Medical Conditions and Solutions
The non-medical causes of hair loss in children are:
- Hair strands tied too tight in braids, ponytails, and barrettes
- Using too much of heat to dry hair
- Combing wet hair with combs and brushes (pre-mature combing)
- Newborn hair loss during the initial few months which grows back with time
Use shampoos low on chemicals and made from natural substances. Make sure you do not tie your child’s hair too tight. Drying hair with a fuzzy towel and avoiding combing wet hair are natural ways to reduce hair fall in children. Educate your child to not pull hair compulsively and cope in ways that are emotionally and psychologically healthy to deal with the daily stresses of life in school.
Home Remedies for Hair Loss in Children
Although it is imperative to get your young tot treated for children’s hair loss due to reasons tracing back to medical conditions, certain home remedies can also help with the treatment of hair loss and recovery in children, naturally. Here are home remedies for hair loss in children that are highly recommended:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil cleanses pores and nourishes the scalp. It acts as a hair conditioner and even fights against dandruff. The oil aids in hair follicle growth and regulates hair health by providing a voluminous look.
2. Olive Oil
Strengthens hair, prevents hair fall, and nourishes the scalp. Alternatives to Olive oil are jojoba oil, mustard oil, and neem oil.
3. Nutritious Diet
Foods rich in Vitamin A, C, E, zinc, iron, and biotin aid with hair fall treatment and promote hair growth. A healthy diet combats nutritional deficiencies which are a primary cause of hair fall in children.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
An age-old remedy that supplies the body with essential nutrients and enables it to generate required nutrients for treating hair loss. Consult your child’s doctor before incorporating this home remedy.
5. Nutritional Supplements
Certain vitamin supplements and nutritional aids such as Biotin restore hair follicle growth in children. If your child’s diet is not working, consult the doctor before using nutritional supplements.
6. Amla Juice
Amla or Indian gooseberry juice stimulates hair follicle growth and prevents hair loss by strengthening hair strands. It is often mixed with other oils such as coconut oil and almond oil.
7. Hair care Routine
Establishing healthy hair care routines which prevent hair abuse can go a long way in treating hair loss in children naturally. Make sure the hair care products they use are organic and chemical-free to regulate blood circulation and follicle growth on the scalp.
Coping with Hair Fall in Children
Hair loss is a frustrating and stressful experience for children. From being teased in school to feeling inadequate due to being different, it is imperative as a parent to support your child emotionally and psychologically before and after the child’s hair loss treatment. Here’s what you can do:
- Tell your child it’s alright to be bald and that a lack of hair doesn’t make her different
- Emotionally support your child by telling her it’s okay to go through this phase and it takes time for treatment. Additionally, build up your child’s self-esteem by being non-judgmental and showing that you care about what she is and not how she looks.
- Allow your child and provide her with accessories like bandannas and caps if she wants to conceal the affected areas on the scalp.
- If your child wants to wear a wig let her wear it unless it promotes fungal infections and the doctor advises against it.
- If your child is a teenager, educate her about hair loss concepts and provide her with clarity on her condition. Also, tell her about the mode of treatment and how long it will last.
Hair loss puts a dent in self-esteem and confidence but with the right blend of hair care routines and healthy lifestyle habits, your child will see her hair grow back in no time. Consult a doctor immediately if you see signs of hair fall and do not delay it since you don’t want a temporary case to turn into permanent. With emotional support, proper hygiene habits, and by following your doctor’s advice, your kids can wave hair loss goodbye in due time.
Also Read: Home Remedies for Head Lice in Kids