Hair loss is generally regarded as something that happens with the progression of age, and though it may strike earlier, would nonetheless be an adult affliction. There are many causes of hair loss, however, beyond the genetic, and though it is uncommon, hair loss has been known to occur in children and adolescents. For 60 percent of children who suffer from hair loss, the ailment resolves itself over time, as they grow older.
The remaining 40 percent, however, must actively determine the cause of their hair loss, and discover a treatment or cure to alleviate what can be a very difficult condition. It thus becomes important to understand why hair loss occurs in younger individuals, and what remedies are available to help them.
In the first instance, one must be aware that hair loss does not occur due to lack of vitamins and minerals, wearing of hats and headbands, or weather conditions, and some of these causes are actually induced or inflicted by the child or his parents.
This is a form of baldness caused by a fungal infection that invades the hair shaft and causes bare patches to appear on the child’s scalp, along with itching and scaling. The condition is spread by contact through the sharing of combs, towels and other items from an infected child. Antifungal treatments will eradicate the condition, which causes considerable hair loss if not dealt with promptly.
This is caused by physical damage to the hair, often the result of constant beauty treatments that pour chemicals on or strain what are delicate strands of hair fibers. Bleaching, constant teasing, blow drying, hot combing, and straightening can all inflict severe damage to the hair, particularly on children, who have finer, more fragile hair than adults. Treatment consists of handling the hair gently and avoiding all such beauty measures, allowing the hair to grow back, which could take 3 or more months to recover from the damage.
This is a compulsion to pull out one’s own hair, a form of psychological condition caused or aggravated by stress, tension or emotional trauma. Frequently, it is difficult to catch because most parents refuse to consider that their child would engage in such self-destructive behavior. Since the hair removal is voluntary, in a sense, treatment involves focusing on the reasons for the child’s frustrations and anxieties, instead of the hair loss itself.
Known to affect adults as well, this form of hair loss is precipitated by an event that causes emotional or physical trauma, such as suffering a high fever or undergoing severe stress. What happens is that hairs that are typically in their growing phase are suddenly shifted into the resting phase, and eventually fall out. The hair loss does not occur in patches, and is equally distributed all over the scalp as thinning hair. The hair returns on its own, generally, though it can take between 3 and 6 months to grow back.
A rarer cause of baldness in children, this form of hair loss has no known risk factors or pinpointed causes, though heredity and genetics seem to play a part. The condition is not dangerous to the child, who will otherwise be completely healthy, and fortunately for the child, most children with this condition grow back their hair within a year.