5 Serious Causes Of Hair Loss In Toddlers

✔ Research-backed

MomJunction believes in providing reliable, research-backed information to you. As per our strong editorial policy requirements, we base our health articles on references (citations) taken from authority sites, international journals, and research studies. However, if you find any incongruencies, feel free to write to us.

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.

In This Article

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

Image: Shutterstock

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.

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 pyodermaiAny skin disease with pus-forming bacteria (pyogenic). or abscessiPainful 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

Image: Shutterstock

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.

protip_icon Quick fact
Scalp massage helps increase the blood flow to the hair follicles, increasing the nutrient intake by follicles. Optimum nourishment raises follicles’ ability to grow hair, which may help with hair loss (9).

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.

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

Image: Shutterstock

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.
    protip_icon Be watchful
    Repeated and severe friction of a child’s head against a firm surface, such as a crib mattress, may cause friction alopecia or pressure alopecia (2).

    Hair pulling can cause hair loss in toddlers

    Image: Shutterstock

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal for my two-year-old’s hair to fall out?

Hairfall in a two-year-old is usually uncommon and not normal. Various medical conditions, infections, and scalp disorders may often be responsible for it. However, environmental and genetic factors may also play their role. If you notice signs of scalp infections or the toddler’s hair seems to fall more than usual, consult a pediatrician.

2. Can a lack of vitamins cause hair fall in toddlers?

The deficiency of vitamin D, which is responsible for hair follicle cycling, may cause hair fall. Moreover, supplementation of vitamins A, C, E, and H in your kid’s diet may improve hair growth, but their deficiencies share no evidence to be linked with hair loss (7).

3. How to fix hair loss due to eczema in toddlers?

Cradle cap is a kind of scalp eczemaiA skin condition that causes itchy, inflamed, and dry skin on the scalp. that can cause hair loss in toddlers and young children. Medical emollientsiMoisturizing products that make the skin soothing and rehydrating. in lotion, gel, and spray-on oil forms and coconut oil can be used to treat these eczemas on your toddler’s scalp. Your child’s doctor may prescribe a mild topical steroid cream, such as 1% hydrocortisone, to be administered to the scalp during the acute phase of scalp eczema. You can also use less-irritating shampoos prescribed by the doctor for seborrheic dermatitisiA common skin condition that causes dandruff, scaly patches, and inflamed skin on the oily parts of the body, including the scalp, face, and ears. , such as those containing Ketoconazole (8).

4. Can iron deficiency cause hair loss in toddlers?

Iron deficiency in toddlers can cause hair loss. This is because iron is an essential nutrient for the production of hemoglobin which is responsible for the growth and repair of all cells in the body, including the cells responsible for hair growth (10).

5. How can I thicken my toddler’s hair?

Hair care measures such as regular shampooing and conditioning, combing every day with a wide-tooth comb, wearing a loose braid, and protecting the scalp from direct exposure to intense heat can help improve scalp and hair health (11). Additionally, the intake of biotin-rich foods (such as eggs, beef, salmon, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, almonds, yogurt, etc.) can lead to an increased hair volume (12).

6. How much hair loss is normal for a child?

On average, a healthy child loses fifty to hundred strands of hair in a day (13).

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.

Infographic: Home Remedies For Hair Loss In Toddlers

While it is normal for toddlers to lose some hair as they grow, excessive hair loss can indicate underlying health issues. So, check out the infographic below to learn simple ways to manage hair loss in your toddler at home.

major functions in a heater for a baby room (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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.
hair loss in toddlers_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

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.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Hair Loss In New Moms.
    https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/new-moms#
  2. Hair Loss.
    https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/hair-loss/
  3. Tinea Capitis.
    https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/tinea-capitis
  4. Alopecia Areata.
    https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/alopecia-areata
  5. Common causes of paediatric alopecia.
    https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2018/october/common-causes-of-paediatric-alopecia
  6. Types Of Hair Loss.
    https://ishrs.org/patients/types-of-hair-loss/#1532704758534-ca3c15fb-c782
  7. Emily L. Guo and Rajani Katta; (2017); Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
  8. Scalp eczema.
    https://eczema.org/information-and-advice/types-of-eczema/scalp-eczema/
  9. The Benefits Of Scalp Massage For Hair loss.
    https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/02/01/benefits-scalp-massage-hair-loss
  10. Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/im-low-in-iron-can-this-cause-me-to-lose-my-hair/
  11. Teaching Your Child Healthy Hair Care Habits
    https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/hair-scalp-care/hair/hair-care-habits
  12. Biotin National Institutes of Health.
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
  13. Hair Loss (Alopecia Areata) in Children.
    https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/structured-content/Condition_Hair_Loss_in_Children_-_Pedi_Derm.xml
Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
Dr. Raju C Shah
Dr. Raju C ShahMD, DPed, FIAP, FRCPCH (UK)
Dr. Raju Shah is the medical director of the Ankur Institute of Child Health and is a former professor and head of the department of pediatrics at the GCS Medical College, both in Ahmedabad, India. He obtained his MBBS in 1970 and MD in pediatrics in 1974 from the B.

Read full bio of Dr. Raju C Shah
  • Dr. Sharon Wiener
    Dr. Sharon WienerMD Dr. Sharon Wiener is the primary, board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Offices At Willow Bend and founder of Wellness at the Spa aesthetics and wellness center. She did her Doctor of Medicine (MD), Pediatrics Residency Program from Children's Medical Center and has over 20 years of experience.
    Dr. Sharon Wiener is the primary, board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Offices At Willow Bend and founder of Wellness at the Spa aesthetics and wellness center. She did her Doctor of Medicine (MD), Pediatrics Residency Program from Children's Medical Center and has over 20 years of experience.
Jessica Albert is a passionate writer who seeks to connect with her readers through wit and charm. Her work aims to invoke curiosity and keep the readers engaged through and through. She has two years of experience working with magazines and e-commerce establishments as a content marketer and editor.

Read full bio of Jessica Albert
Rohit Garoo
Rohit GarooBSc, MBA
Rohit Garoo is a writer-turned-editor with over 9 years of experience in content writing, editing, and content marketing. He did his bachelors in Science at St. Xavier's College, Hyderabad, and masters in Business Administration at Osmania University.

Read full bio of Rohit Garoo
Shinta is a biotechnologist who is highly intrigued by science and technology. She holds a master's degree in Biotechnology from Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences and a PG Diploma in cellular and molecular diagnostics from Manipal University.

Read full bio of Shinta Liz Sunny