5 Serious Causes Of Hair Loss In Toddlers

Hair loss is a common problem most women experience post-childbirth (1). However, hair loss in toddlers could cause concern for a new mom. In contrast to a common myth that hair loss is seen only in adults, this issue is also seen in babies and toddlers. The difference is that your toddler may not be concerned about their hair fall woes, but it is troublesome for you. However, hair loss is a rare phenomenon in toddlers, with approximately 3% of patients reporting to a pediatrician. So, if you detect severe hair loss in your toddler, it is best to contact the doctor. Read on as we discuss some of the possible causes and ways to manage and prevent hair loss in toddlers.

What Causes Hair Loss In Toddlers?

There are a number of causes of hair fall in toddlers. Some are mild and easily treatable, but others require more stringent treatment plans. Check out the reason your little one’s hair keeps falling off:

1. Tinea Capitis

Itchy scalp in toddler could indicate tinea capitis

Ringworm is one of the most common causes of hair loss in toddlers (2). Besides thinning hair, this scalp infection, known as Tinea Capitis, also causes bald spots in toddlers.

Other Symptoms:

  • Red circular lesions
  • Dandruff like flaking
  • Round or oval scaly patches on the scalp
  • Itchiness
  • Broken hair that appear like black dots on the scalp

Treatment And Prevention:

The treatment of Tinea Capitis usually consists of oral antifungals like griseofulvin. You may also be prescribed antifungal shampoos to cure the fungal infection.

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Fungus causing this infection is contagious. So, make sure to keep objects like your toddler’s hats, pillows, hairbrush, etc. separate (3).

2. Alopecia areata

One in a 100 children can experience Alopecia Areata. This is a rare autoimmune disorder where a person develops allergies towards her own hair (4). Toddlers with Alopecia Areata lose hair overnight without any sign of infection. A survey conducted among children enrolled in National Alopecia Areata Registry (USA) found the female-to-male ratio to be 1.5:1, indicating that more girls get the condition than boys. One-fourth of the children had a family history of the condition, with 8% having more than three affected family members. It indicates that this hair disorder might be hereditary. Nevertheless, in some cases, the condition may occur merely due to a scalp infection, such as pyodermaiXAny skin disease with pus-forming bacteria (pyogenic). or abscessiXPainful buildup of pus in any body tissue, primarily due to a bacterial infection..

Other Symptoms:

  • Round or oval hairless patches on the scalp.
  • Some children may also experience pitting and ridging of the nails.

Treatment And Prevention:

Feed biotin rich diet to your toddler with alopecia areata

This rare hair disease can be treated with steroid injections, topical medications, oral steroids and ultraviolet light therapy.

Biotin and trace minerals too are known to help hair-regrowth in toddlers. If your toddler gets a diagnosis of Alopecia Areata, give her a diet rich in biotin like chard, romaine lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes.

3. Telogen effluvium

Telogen Effluvium is another common cause of hair loss in toddlers. The hair loss usually follows a recent illness like high fever or a surgery. Emotional stress too can cause telogen effluvium (5).

Other Symptoms:

  • Telogen Effluvium does not have many symptoms. If your toddler is losing a large chunk of hair every day and if she was ill a few weeks earlier, you may suspect Telogen Effluvium.
  • Weight loss too can be a symptom to watch out for.
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Treatment And Prevention:

Most cases of Telogen Effluvium resolve without treatment. The most you can do is give your toddler a stress-free environment and a healthy diet.

4. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy causes hair loss in toddlers with cancer

Chemotherapy is the most unfortunate cause for hair loss in toddlers. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, when used to treat cancer in toddlers, can lead to hair loss.

Other Symptoms:

Other chemotherapy-related symptoms like nausea and lack of appetite.

Treatment And Prevention:

Hair loss due to chemotherapy does not require treatment. Once the chemotherapy session ends, your toddler’s hair will grow back.

5. Other Causes

Other than the major causes mentioned above, toddlers can experience hair loss because of the following reasons too (6):

  • If your toddler wears her hair in tight barrettes, ponytails or braids, she may experience hair breakage and hair loss in certain areas of her scalp. If you suspect this to be the cause behind your toddler’s hair loss, make sure her hair style is comfortable.
  • A toddler may also lose hair due to nutritional deficiencies. So, make sure your toddler’s diet consists of all the essential nutrients.

Dr. Sharon Wiener, MD, a board-certified pediatrician from Plano, Texas, says, “Nutritional deficiency is a less common cause of hairfall in children. However, a deficiency of biotin or zinc or excess vitamin A in the body may lead to hair loss.”

  • Your toddler might also lose hair due to hormonal imbalances. A thyroid disease is often the cause behind toddler hair loss. If your little one is losing more hair than usual, talk to your doctor about doing a blood test to rule out thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism.
  • Bacterial infections too can cause hair loss in toddlers. If that is the cause, your toddler may show symptoms similar to fungal infections. Treatment may include a dose of antibiotics.
  • Some toddlers lose hair because they pull their hair (trichotillomania). This is a toddler habit, just like thumb sucking. If your toddler’s hair loss is because of this habit, don’t worry. Most children outgrow this habit by three years of age.
    Hair pulling can cause hair loss in toddlers

As you can see, the causes for toddler hair loss can be many. But the bottom line is that if you are worried, see your doctor. He is the best person to diagnose your toddler’s hair loss problem.

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Hair loss in toddlers can be due to alopecia areata, tinea capitis, other infections, or side effects of chemotherapy. Poor nutrition, thyroid diseases, and tight ponytails or braids can cause hair damage and hair fall in young children. So, it is important to identify and resolve the underlying cause of hair loss in toddlers. Adequate nutrition, treating the underlying condition, and avoiding hair damage may help reduce or stop hair loss in toddlers. Toddlers who pull their hair may require behavioral therapies to modify pulling hairs.

Key Pointers

  • Hair loss is uncommon in children.
  • Toddlers may experience hair loss due to iron imbalance caused by nutritional deficiency.
  • Ringworm is a significant cause of scalp infection that can lead to hair loss in toddlers.
  • If a toddler experiences significant hair loss, it is important to consult a doctor.

Uncover the natural phenomenon of baby hair loss during their initial months of life in this video. It sheds light on the reasons behind this occurrence and addresses any concerns you may have.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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