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Hair Loss in Children

There are a handful of possibilities, each with its own symptoms, causes, and treatments. It's not uncommon for young children to develop isolated bald spots. A child may have developed a bare patch from sleeping in the same position night after night or from rubbing his head against the mattress.

Here are some of the main types of hair loss in children –

  • Patchy bald spots with red, flaky scaling may mean that a child has a contagious fungal infection called tinea capitis, or ringworm. This is the most common cause of hair loss in children.
  • Physical damage — from ponytails or braids that are too tight, for example — can result in hair loss called traction alopecia.
  • Irregular patches of hair may fall out if a child twirls or pulls his hair compulsively. This is called trichotillomania.
  • Alopecia Areata - a condition in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles, drastically slowing hair growth. This type of hair loss usually appears in isolated patches, but it can affect all of the hair on the body.
  • Some medical conditions — like hypothyroidism (a thyroid disorder) or hypopituitarism (an underactive pituitary gland) — can also cause hair loss all over a child's head, although this is uncommon

What to do?

  • If you think your child is experiencing hair loss, the best thing to do is to talk with your child’s doctor to help find the cause.
  • For example, if your child has ringworm then they can prescribe medication to help get rid.
  • If your child has alopecia areata, they may prescribe medication to try to stimulate his hair growth, or may refer you to a dermatologist for further evaluation.
  • When the hair loss is caused by physical damage, you'll just have to treat the hair and scalp tenderly for a while until it grows back again.
  • If restless sleep habits are causing the problem, the condition will probably clear up on its own as your child gets older and settles down at night.
  • If an illness caused your child's hair loss, you don't need to do anything but be patient while it grows back over the next few months.

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