Hair loss in children sounds weird! We might not have come across hair loss as a frequent problem in children, but in reality, some children may have poor hair growth and experience hair loss at a tender age.
The American Hair Loss Association reports that children’s hair loss is responsible for approximately 3% of all pediatric office visits in the United States.
Hair fall not succeeded by the growth of healthy hair is a cause of concern.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone loses hair, be it, children or adults. It is normal to lose about 50-100 hair every day.
A loss of hair can be caused by reasons that can be medical or nonmedical.
Causes of Hair Loss in Children
There can be several reasons why children experience hair loss at a very young age.
Some common medical causes that can engender hair loss in a child include:
- Tinea capitis, better known as the ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection that is the most common cause of hair loss in children. It is a contagious disease that can result in bald patches in the scalp.
- Telogen effluvium is the disruption in the growth cycle of hair follicles due to high fever or stress. The hair follicles enter the resting phase. As a result, the hair becomes fragile and keeps shedding until the stress persists.
- Alopecia areata is the loss of hair in patches. This can be due to a genetic predisposition to hair loss, environmental factors, or a family history of type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder marked by consistent and compulsive hair pulling. This behavioral problem can be due to stress or anxiety.
- Endocrine-related problems can result in a hormonal imbalance, which can induce a hair loss in your child.
- Nutritional deficiencies such as those of vitamin B, biotin, iron, and zinc can curtail the growth of your child’s hair.
- Children who went through chemotherapy treatment will also lose their hair.
Hair abuse can also cause hair loss in children by damaging their hair. These practices include:
- Using hair care products containing harsh chemicals
- Using high-heat treatments such as blow-drying or straightening.
- Tying the hair in tight ponytails or braids.
- Combing wet hair.
- Vigorous combing that pulls the hair back.
Treatment for Hair Loss in Children
Because hair loss can be caused by a number of reasons, the treatment largely depends on the underlying cause.
Hair loss as a result of fungal infections can be treated using antifungal shampoos and prescriptions.
When alopecia areata is the reason behind your child’s hair loss, your doctor will prescribe topical corticosteroids, steroid injections, or topical formulations such as minoxidil.
A case of trichotillomania calls for psychological counseling and behavioral therapies to relieve your child’s stress. You can also talk to your child about psychologically healthy ways to cope with stress.
A loss of hair that occurs as a result of hair abuse can be tended to by hair care practices that are fit for your child’s hair.
Tips and Remedies for Hair Loss in Children
Once you are aware that your child’s hair growth issues are a result of an underlying medical condition, your first step should be to follow the standard course of treatment.
Although it is imperative to get your child medically treated for hair loss, there is a downside to it. Standard prescriptions come with a fair share of side effects, and when it comes to children, medicines must be prescribed with utmost caution.
Alternatively, you can adopt some natural remedies to speed up the recovery from hair loss and aid in your child’s hair growth.
Outlined below are some home remedies that will nourish your child’s hair and help them grow back to normal.
1. Practice a Good Hair Care Routine
Practicing a good hair care routine is a must even if your child’s hair is thick and shiny. Integrating such practices in your child’s routine can help them in the long run by keeping their hair woes at bay.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends good hair care routine for the treatment of hair loss.
To stimulate hair growth in kids, start with teaching them the importance of good hair care routine.
- Wash your child’s hair gently using a natural, chemical-free shampoo, two to three times a week. Condition their hair as required.
- Use lukewarm or cool water to wash your child’s hair.
- If you are having problems detangling your baby’s hair, try washing it less often and using less soap.
- Keep your child’s hair moisturized using good hair oil.
2. Massage with Hot Oil
A hot oil massage is one of the best ways to treat hair loss in children.
Massaging the head improves the flow of blood in the scalp and subsequently enhances the development of new hair.
Oiling also helps restore moisture in the scalp and hair, which is essential for hair growth.
A 2016 study published in Eplasty corroborated the role of scalp massage every day for 4 minutes for a period of 24 weeks to get thicker hair.
- Heat the oil of your choice, so it is warm but not too hot. Test the temperature of the oil before applying it to children to prevent burns.
- Apply the oil on your child’s scalp and gently massage it.
- Put on a shower cap, and leave it for 30 minutes or overnight.
- Wash the oil out with a mild shampoo.
- Do this two to three times a week.
3. Apply an Indian Gooseberry Hair Mask
To promote hair growth in children, you can also try Indian gooseberry, also known as amla.
The rich vitamin C content in Indian gooseberry helps with hair loss. In addition, carotene and iron content helps improve hair health and promote hair growth.
A 2017 study published in Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that amla might play a role in promoting hair growth and hair health.
- Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and amla pulp. Apply the paste on the scalp and massage it thoroughly. Put a shower cap on and leave it overnight. Wash the hair with shampoo the next morning. Do this once a week to control hair loss.
- Alternatively, heat some coconut oil in a pan and cook dried amla pieces in it until they are charred. Strain and cool the oil. Massage your child’s hair and scalp with it. Leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash their hair with a mild shampoo. Do this on a weekly basis.
- Also, give your child an amla fruit to eat every day to achieve healthy hair.
4. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Another ingredient that you can use safely on your child’s hair is aloe vera.
A study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research highlights that the enzyme content of aloe vera is a factor in preventing hair loss.
Aside from enhancing hair growth, it also moisturizes the scalp and keeps it dandruff-free.
- Scoop out fresh gel from an aloe vera leaf and run it in a blender.
- Apply the gel liberally on your child’s scalp.
- Leave it on for a few hours before washing their hair with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the application two to three times a week.
5. Massage with a Blend of Charred Hibiscus in Coconut Oil
A hibiscus plant in your garden can be a blessing when it comes to stimulating your child’s hair growth.
The flowers and leaves of the hibiscus plant contain vitamin A and C as well as amino acids that are good for hair. These can help treat hair loss and promote hair growth in your child.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concluded that hibiscus leaf extract when compared to the flower extract, is more beneficial for hair growth.
- Add 7 or 8 Chinese hibiscus leaves and a few flowers to 2 cups of extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Heat the oil until the leaves and flowers are charred.
- Strain the oil and keep it aside to cool down a bit.
- Use this oil to massage your child’s scalp before going to bed.
- Leave it on overnight.
- Wash your child’s hair in the morning.
- Repeat the application a few times a week.
6. Massage with Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil has antioxidant properties that can help rev up the growth of your child’s hair.
It contains sulfur and silica that can reverse alopecia-induced hair loss by stimulating hair growth in children.
In a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, rosemary aromatherapy was used as a possible treatment for alopecia areata.
Another 2015 study published in the SKINmed found that rosemary oil works along the lines of minoxidil, a common treatment for alopecia. The side effect of an itchy scalp was observed less when rosemary oil was used.
- Dilute 2 or 3 drops of rosemary essential oil by mixing in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil.
- Gently apply the oil blend on your child’s hair. Massage their scalp for about 10 minutes.
- Let it seep into the hair follicles by leaving it on for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a natural shampoo, wash your child’s hair.
- Do this two times a week.
7. Incorporate Dietary Changes
Because nutritional deficiencies have been linked with hair loss in children, your child’s diet can play a key role in boosting his hair growth.
A 2017 study published in Dermatology Practical & Conceptual brought to light that multiple nutrient deficiencies, including those of protein and several vitamins, may result in hair loss.
Nutrient deficiencies may arise due to genetic disorders, medical conditions, or dietary practices.
- Ensure that your child eats foods rich in vitamin A such as dark-green vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes, and oranges to nourish the hair follicles.
- Give your child adequate vitamin C by including citrus fruits and drinks in their diet to help strengthen their hair.
- Provide more vitamin E by including green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your child’s diet. Vitamin E improves the quality of the hair.
- For zinc and iron, include foods such as pumpkin, molasses, whole-grain oatmeal and cereals, a variety of meats, and leafy greens in their diet.
- As hair is mostly made of protein, make sure to feed your child protein-based foods.
8. Give Biotin Supplements
Biotin is one of the B-complex vitamins and can promote hair growth.
First of all, biotin contributes to the production of the protein your hair is made of, known as keratin. Second, it provides nutrients that are fundamental to the development of new hair.
When taken as a daily supplement, biotin helps regrow lost hair and restore the nutrients needed in the body.
- You can give your child biotin supplements. However, before giving your child any supplements, make sure you consult your pediatrician. The dosage of biotin is based on age and weight.
- Additionally, include biotin-rich foods in your child’s diet, such as eggs, yogurt, almonds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, milk, and meat.
- You can also use shampoos and conditioners fortified with biotin.
9. Apply Coconut Milk
Coconut milk contains vitamin B, C, and E as well as iron and protein that help promote hair growth and prevent hair loss.
It also makes the hair soft and adds volume to your child’s hair.
- Apply freshly extracted coconut milk on your child’s scalp.
- Put a shower cap on and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
- Rinse it out of your child’s hair with cool water. You can also shampoo their hair.
- Repeat the application two to three times a week.
Also, include fresh coconut milk in your child’s diet.
10. Apply a Fenugreek Seed Hair Mask
Fenugreek seeds are another excellent natural ingredient that can help keep your child’s hair problem-free. They are rich in protein and lecithin, which strengthen and moisturize the hair.
Fenugreek seeds also have antibacterial properties, which help cure dandruff and any type of scalp infection.
- Soak a handful of fenugreek seeds in water overnight.
- The next morning, grind the soaked fenugreek seeds into a paste.
- Apply the paste on your child’s scalp and cover the head with a shower cap.
- Leave it on for 40 minutes; then wash it out with water.
- Repeat the application two to three times a week.
Preventing Hair Loss in Children
Hair loss can be prevented by instilling good hair care practices in your child and lending them a helping hand to do so.
- Teach your child to handle their hair gently when washing and brushing it.
- Use a wide-toothed comb with smooth tips for combing the hair to prevent pulling out hair.
- Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, curling irons, and chemical shampoos.
- Avoid hairstyles that can be hard on your child’s hair and tease or break it eventually.
- Avoid combing, brushing, or tying up your child’s hair when it is wet. Leave it loose until it is fully dry.
- Be gentle when brushing your child’s hair.
- Avoid the vigorous use of a towel to dry the hair. Use a fuzzy towel for this purpose.
Tips for Parents to Help their Child Cope with Hair Loss
- Extend emotional support to your child by telling them that hair loss is nothing to be ashamed about.
- If your child wishes to conceal the bald patches, let them wear bandanas, caps, wigs, or hats.
- If your child is old enough to understand, give them some clarity regarding their condition so that they are aware of it.
When to See a Doctor
As a parent, dealing with hair loss in your child can leave you on tenterhooks. Losing hair at a young age can tarnish the self-esteem of your child and make them an easy target to get bullied.
If your child is losing an unusual amount of hair, it is advised that you seek professional help. Medical intervention and proper diagnosis can explain the probable reason behind your child’s hair loss.
Your doctor can also help fix your child’s health problem either through some medications for any diagnosed condition or hair care practices to improve the growth of hair in your child.
It can be a daunting task for parents to deal with hair loss in children. Before you set out for treatment, it is important to recognize the causative factor. Consult a doctor to get a medical review of your child’s condition.
Once the cause is diagnosed, you can help your child’s hair loss with standard treatments. Blend it with a wholesome diet, practice proper hair care, and embrace natural remedies to bid your child’s hair loss a goodbye.
- Hair loss. Employment and benefits | American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/hair-loss.
- American Hair Loss Association – Children Hair Loss / Introduction. American Hair Loss Association – Types of Hair Loss / Hair Shaft Defects. http://www.americanhairloss.org/children_hair_loss/introduction.asp.
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- Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469.
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033. Published January 2017.
- Patel DP, Swink SM, Castelo-Soccio L. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28879195. Published August 2017.
- Coondoo A, Chattopadhyay C. Use and abuse of topical corticosteroids in children. Indian Journal of Pediatric Dermatology. http://www.ijpd.in/article.asp?issn=2319-7250;year=2014;volume=15;issue=1;spage=1;epage=4;aulast=Coondoo. Published 2014.