Suddenly you will find lots of loose hair on your child’s pillow. Or frightened by a large tuft of hair, which you fish out of the comb after brushing. Why does your child suffer from hair loss?
Many children have hair loss only for a short time. The cause is often unknown. After a certain period of time, the loss ceases by itself. A varied diet with vitamins and minerals often makes the hair healthier and stronger. Eggs, milk, soy products and nuts are examples of “hair food”.
Hair and scalp problems in children?
These anomalies occur in children:
A local form of baldness, in which small but sometimes very large bald spots occur. A medical term for this form is alopecia areata. It is possible that hair will regrow later on in the bald spots, but this can take years. Alopecia areata is commonly observed in children with Down syndrome. This form of baldness is considered an autoimmune disease.
General baldness. There is not a single localized spot on the head. Parents find many hairs on the pillow or pluck many loose hairs off the head while combing. The cause is unknown, but it is possible that viruses play a role. After some time, the fallout stops spontaneously. Often there is no repetition of the general baldness, nor is it associated with other causes.
In ectodermal dysplasia syndrome, there are not only baldness but also anomalies in the teeth. This syndrome does not occur very often. The extent to which the syndrome manifests itself varies from child to child.
If skin fungus is on the hairy scalp, this can lead to hair loss.
Hair loss due to head lice.
Hair loss due to tearing out of the hair. Hair that is twisted and ripped out break. If this happens frequently and over a longer period of time, bald spots on the head. This occurs especially in children with compulsive behavior. Another name for hair removal is trichotillomania. If the hair is also eaten, a bale of hair can form in the stomach.
Pili torti (twisted hair) is not a hair disease, but a corkscrew shape in the hair. Due to a special refraction of light in the hair, it acquires a strange blonde color. The hair resembles coarse doll hair, stands everywhere and is not easy to comb. Pili torti can occur in isolation, e.g. in anorexia nervosa, but also in connection with a syndrome, e.g. Menke’s disease or ectodermal dysplasia. After puberty, hair abnormalities can improve spontaneously.
Cystostatics, which are drugs that inhibit the division of (tumor) cells, cause general hair loss. This drug is used to treat cancer.
When a dermatologist puts a fancy hair under the microscope, he can see what is going on. Alopecia areata, the local form of baldness, looks different from compulsively ripped hair. When hair is ripped out, there are also broken hairpieces.
Treatment depends entirely on the cause. There is no drug for baldness caused by alopecia areata. Fungal infections are treated with the usual therapy. This is often successful. In the case of torn hair, it is sometimes necessary to consult a child psychologist.