Hair loss in your child: compulsive, local or general baldness

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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.

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