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Children And Adolescents With Hair Loss

Children are your pride and joy, a cause to be happy and, perhaps, a cause for sadness on the day they leave the house to spread their wings in the big wide world. Like many parents, you’ll fuss even over the smallest scrape when they fall or play too rough. But what if they suddenly start suffering from hair loss? Many don’t know this, but hair loss is common among children and adolescents, with over 3% of all visits to the paediatrician related to some form of hair loss. And where in adults the causes for hair loss are more often than not genetic or as a symptom of stress, the list for hair loss is longer and a bit more complex with children.

So what are the primary causes of hair loss in children? Well, there are quite a number, but we’ll briefly elaborate on a few here.

Traction Alopecia, or more simply hair loss due to damage to the hair, finds itself more common among younger girls. This is a thinning or reduction of the hair along the frontal hairline or along the sides near the temples and happens as a result of the massive amount of strain put on the hair by brushing, blow-drying, straightening, curling, coloring, applying extensions and all the millions of other things girls do with their hair to look their best. Since their hair is thinner and more fragile than the hair of adults, traction Alopecia occurs more often under the younger members of the fairer sex.

Tinea Capitis is a fungal infection of the dermis, primarily infecting the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes that attacks the shafts and follicles of hair. Symptoms include a circular darkened patch of short hair where the shaft broke or itching and scaling of the top layer of the skin. This infection is contagious and is contracted by using hair products (such as combs and brushes) of another person afflicted by this infection. Although not dangerous, this infection should be treated as soon as possible as it can later result in significant patchy hair loss and a swelling of the scalp.

Alopecia areata is recognized by the sudden appearance of completely bald areas on the scalp. Although not much is known about this condition, it is said to be more likely to occur in individuals who have a family history or relatives diagnosed with autoimmune disease. This condition can occur in various forms, some of which leaves the entire scalp or the entire body void of hair. In children and adolescents, this form of hair loss is usually not dangerous and will disappear in six to eight months. A strange fact about the hair that grows back is that they are completely white for a while before changing back to its natural color.

Hair loss among children and adolescents is not unheard of and usually disappears on its own. There is, however, a small percentage of children that become severely infected and do not recover from hair loss. Care should always be taken when faced with hair loss among children.