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Causes of Hair Fall in Children


Hair fall is normal, an average person loses about 80-100 hair a day. But excess hair fall is a sign of a problem. There are various conditions that cause this to happen.

Children shed hair every day, it is normal. In some cases, there is abnormal hair loss and about 3% global pediatrician cases are regarding kids with hair loss.

Like adults, kids have the same hair growth cycle. Hair strands grow actively for 4 to 6 years. After which comes a resting period called the telogen phase. For 3 months, hair stays in the telogen phase and then falls out, to be replaced by new ones.

Reasons for Hair Loss

Some common conditions that make hair fall are listed below.

Tinea Capitis

A very common reason for hair loss is an infection called tinea capitis. This is a ringworm like a fungal infection that causes a ring patterned scaly growth on the skin. This contagious condition spreads in school going children. Tinea Capitis affects the scalp, eyebrow and eyelash hair. The infected area becomes scaly, rough, flaky and itchy. Diagnosis begins with the inspection of the scalp. A UV light is used to determine the level of infection. The condition is then treated by antifungal medicines and a shampoo that is to be used for 8 weeks. Once the treatment begins, the condition is no longer contagious.

Alopecia Areata

This is when patches of hair start falling in an oval or round pattern. It happens quickly and the skin is left bald, no inflammation. Alopecia Areata occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles by mistake. It is a very rare condition that affects about 1 in 1000 children. There is no specific test to determine a single cause, potential symptoms are ruled out till a conclusion is reached. There is no cure for this condition, only medications that help regrow hair. In rare occasions, all the hair fall.

Telogen Effluvium

It is when the normal hair growth cycle is interrupted. On average 15% of the hair on a child’s head is in the talogen phase. In talogen effluvium, all hair go into the talogen phase. After a while (time varies person to person) there is either partial or complete baldness. There are a few reasons why this happens, for eg. Intense fever, anesthesia stress, vitamin A overdose, emotional stress and some medications that contribute to the condition. Like alopecia, there is no exact test do determine talogen effluvium, however, a medical exam can be done to determine some close related causes. The condition goes away on its own and the hair grows back within 6 months to a year.

Hair Shaft Trauma

Physical stress or trauma that causes hair to fall. Hair shaft can be a result of pulling your hair, tying them too hard, the friction of rubbing against a pillow or helmet. Chemical burns can also cause this condition too. Children who have trichotillomania (a mental disorder) that makes them pull their hair out.

Talk to your doctor and they will help you determine the cause of hair. Once the cause is figured out, and there are therapeutic and medicinal remedies. Some extreme cases lead to scarring and the hair never grows back.

In case your child/children have these symptoms, see a doctor immediately and start the treatment.


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