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
- Red circular lesions
- Dandruff like flaking
- Round or oval scaly patches on the scalp
- 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 pyodermaiXAny skin disease with pus-forming bacteria (pyogenic). or abscessiXPainful buildup of pus in any body tissue, primarily due to a bacterial infection. .
- Round or oval hairless patches on the scalp.
- Some children may also experience pitting and ridging of the nails.
Treatment And Prevention:
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 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.
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 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.Be watchfulRepeated 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).
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 eczemaiXA skin condition that causes itchy, inflamed, and dry skin on the scalp. that can cause hair loss in toddlers and young children. Medical emollientsiXMoisturizing 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 dermatitisiXA 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.
- 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.
- Hair Loss In New Moms.
- Hair Loss.
- Tinea Capitis.
- Alopecia Areata.
- Common causes of paediatric alopecia.
- Types Of Hair Loss.
- Emily L. Guo and Rajani Katta; (2017); Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.
- Scalp eczema.
- The Benefits Of Scalp Massage For Hair loss.
- Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
- Teaching Your Child Healthy Hair Care Habits
- Biotin National Institutes of Health.
- Hair Loss (Alopecia Areata) in Children.