What Can Cause Hair Loss in Children?

What Can Cause Hair Loss in Children?

What Can Cause Hair Loss In Child

Every parent wants their children should be healthy. A child is said to be healthy if he is not only physically fit but also mentally and socially active. But urbanization today has a great impact on the pregnancy due to which the fetus suffers from many disorders before delivery. This urbanization even had a greater impact on the development of the child, thus children’s suffers from many diseases. One of the major problems which are present in children is hair loss. Hair loss is mostly found in the adults.

But now a day’s loosing hair is a major problem in a child under five years old also. In the starting, most parents think that it is normal to have slight hair fall because whenever any disease start in related with hairs, falling of hairs are low but as the disease progresses the hair fall increases. When they see the bunch of hairs is falling than only they consult doctors. It is also seen that hair loss is mostly seen in children who have a vitamin deficiency. There are even many causes which cause hair loss in a child.

Hair Growth In Children

Hair growth takes place in phases that are anagen, catagen and telogen phase. These phases occur simultaneously. Children’s hair grows about one centimetre a month. So when few hairs are in anagen phase which means growing stage, then few hairs will be in catagen phase means regression of hair from hair follicle which remains almost for 10 days while few will remain in telogen phase which means resting phase which lasts for about three months and then finally hair falls out. It is a normal cycle which occurs in the hair growth.

What Can Cause Hair Loss In Child?

Now day’s hair loss in a child is also very common. Not only adults but child below five years also have hair loss. Eating habits are one of the major causes of hair loss. Now a day’s children like to eat those things which does not contain any vitamins and essential nutrients which require for the growth of hair, which as a result becomes one of the cause for hair loss in a child. If their eating habits are corrected than the hair loss which was caused due to vitamin deficiency stops and re-growth of hairs starts. With this, there are many other causes which are responsible for hair loss in a child

Tinea Capitis

It is the fungal infection which occurs at the scalp (head). It is most commonly seen in the children’s as compared with the adults. Most of the people know this disease by the name of ringworm. This name ringworm is given because an infection is seen in the shape of rings or circular with the flattened center and raised in borders. This is very common cause for the fall of hairs in children.

Mode Of Spread - It is a highly contagious disease. Means one can get this disease if he/she comes in contact with the patient. It can be easily transferred by using the towel, clothes, combs and etc used things by the infected person. Even it is advised not to use the pillow of the infected person.

How To Diagnose - Symptoms from which one can diagnose the fungal infections are

  • First and the very common are itching with redness of the affected part on the scalp.
  • Hair fall and breakage of hairs on and nearby of the affected part on the scalp.
  • After hair fall the affected part is red and bald spot on the head.
  • Hair will be brittle.
  • There will pain in the affected part.
  • If the infection is progressed than there will be swelling of the lymph nodes may be seen.
  • There can be a low grade of fever.

Treatment - It is said that ringworm infection is very obstinate in character. So one has to take medicines until the doctor advised you to not to stop medicines. Otherwise, recurrence is very common. Antifungal medicine is mostly prescribed which is griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris –PEG) and terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil). Both medicines are advised to take for at least six weeks and are advised to take high-fat food otherwise side effects can be seen. With this medicated shampoo can be used for hair washing which must contain antifungal agent ketoconazole or selenium sulfide.

Alopecia Areata

It is also known as bald spot disease. It is a disease in which hair is fallout from all over the body especially from the scalp (head). It is an autoimmune disease. The size of the baldness is almost a coin shape but may vary. In this diseases, there are permanent hair loss takes place which is not reversible. This disease affects the hair follicle in which it suppresses the growth cycle of the hair. Incidence is 1 out of every 1000 child. Some babies are even born with this disease and family history for this disease is found positive. Once hair is fallout from the scalp, no treatment can bring back the hairs. This disease is not contagious.

How To Diagnose - The diagnosis of this disease is on a clinical basis. A doctor can even send hair for microscopic examination also. The process is known as trichoscopy. Under trichoscopy, there is seen a yellow spot, with small exclamation mark hair and black spot.

Clinical Features - It includes

  • The first symptom seen is a bald spot on the head
  • Size may vary from round to oval, mostly seen on head and hair fall may be seen in other parts of the body.
  • Remission is common (recurrence)
  • An area from where hair loss takes place is very painful.
  • Redness can be present over the bald spot.

Treatment - Treatment of this disease is not permanent once the hair fall starts. To decrease the progress of the disease the only corticosteroid are prescribed which include clobetasol and fluocinonide. Corticosteroid creams also available but one has to keep patience for the results. Regrowth of the hairs can be there after prolonged treatment in hair loss in a child.

Telogen Effluvium

This disease is related to the normal hair cycle. In this disease, there is thinning of hairs present while some patient shows falling of hairs. This occurs due to disturbance in the hair cycle as the hairs enter in the third phase earlier which is resting phase in the normal cycle. Normally in children about 100 hairs go in the third phase, while who suffers from this disease about more than 300 hairs goes in resting phase. Causes of this disease include any physiological or emotional stress to the child which affects the normal hair cycle growth, high-grade fever, eating habits, hypothyroidism, anemia, any surgery, and drug overdose.

How To Diagnose - To diagnose this disease various tests are performed which are trichogram, trichoscopy, and biopsy. Microscopic examination of the hair follicles can be performed by a plucked hair with their follicles.

Treatment - To treat this disease doctor mostly advise to have vitamin D in their diet which helps in the normal hair cycle for hair growth. Parents are advised to console their child in case of emotional disturbance. Once their emotional phase is over, their normal life starts, their hair growth too starts.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutrition plays an important role in the hair growth cycle. A healthy diet contains all the essential nutrients which are needed in normal hair growth which includes vitamins A, C,D, E, zinc, iron, biotin, proteins, essential fatty acids and vitamin B. It is said that child who take vitamin A in excess also suffers from hair loss. Even in pregnancy if the pregnant women’s diet was lacking in any essential nutrients for the hair growth than it is also one of the causes in the children with vitamin deficiency

Treatment - Treatment includes the proper diet which includes all the essential nutrients which are required for hair growth. Children can also take supplements if their diet is lack of any essential nutrients.


Hypothyroid is the condition in which the thyroid gland secretion for the thyroid hormone is less than the normal. It occurs due to less activity of thyroid gland. There can be many causes of hypothyroidism. But nowadays this disease is becoming very common in a child.

Diagnosis - Hypothyroid can be easily diagnosed with a blood test. The child comes with the symptoms of

  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Excess hair falls with dryness and thinning of hairs.

Treatment - Treatment includes the medicines for the hypothyroidism. Once the child starts with the medicine and the thyroid level comes within normal and this hair fall will go by own. No, as such different medicines are advised to take.


A child who is diagnosed with cancer and are under chemotherapy, they suffer from hair fall. As the chemotherapy continues there hairs come out which as a result there are no hairs in the scalp. When the chemotherapy stops and cancer has been recovered than the hair growth starts by own without any treatment. But it advised taking proper diet to these patients have they can have a severe weakness about chemotherapy.

There are even others causes are also present which are not related to any disease condition.


It is a mental disorder which is found in children’s. In this child has a hair pulling habit of its own which can be one of the causes of hair loss in a child. Hair loss is in such a degree that the patches on the scalp are visible which is an irregular shape. These types of mental disorder are mainly seen in a child who has any stress in their early childhood, divorced parents.

Treatment - Treatment for these children mainly include the counselling of the child.

Prolong and Excess Use of Chemicals

Pregnant women’s who are under prolong an excess of chemicals during their pregnancy time and child who uses chemicals in excess on their hairs suffers from hair loss.

Treatment - They are advised to stop the excessive use of chemicals and start using herbal shampoo which contains fewer chemicals. Today hair plays an important role in creating a general impression and an overall appearance, not only in adults but also in a child. Above mentioned can be the probable cause for the hair loss in the child. With a proper diet not only in a child but also in adults plays an important role in hair growth. Parents are advised to give a balanced diet to their child otherwise their child can have hair fall due to vitamins deficiencies. Hair fall in a child who is below five, their parents are advised to consult a pediatrician for the proper treatment otherwise their child can even have permanent hair loss.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad