Common Causes of Hair loss In Children

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition and causes patchy hair loss in any area in body. The bald areas of the skin usually look normal with no gross evidence of irritation or inflammation. A genetic association could be found in some cases and it could also be linked to other autoimmune disorders. Alopecia areata is usually a self limiting disease, but could be treated by a dermatologist with injection of steroid or with topical medications if necessary. See my article on alopecia areata “Treatment of Alopecia Areata РTreat or Not Treat”

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is very common cause of hair loss in children. This condition that is particularly seen among girls happens mostly due to the fragility and weakness of hair follicle in children. Tight ponytail is the common cause of traction alopecia that can cause hair loss at sides and frontline in most cases. Traction alopecia could present with elevation of hair line as an initial sign. Treatment of traction alopecia of children is by cutting hair short and by eliminating the physical assault. Recovery is generally spontaneous, and may take a few months. In some cases of prolonged traction alopecia, damage to the hair follicles could be permanent and hair transplant might be necessary.

Tinea Capitis

Tinea Capitis is a fungal infection of scalp that affects head and neck hair. Approximately 3 to 8 percent of American children are affected. Many of these children are never diagnosed. Tinea Capitis is more common in children between 2 to 8 years of age and like other fungal diseases can be transferred through direct contact or contaminated comb, brush, towel and cloth. Fungus attacks hair shaft and decrease its integrity and makes it fragile. Again a good dermatologist should be involved for treatment of this condition, which may need systemic antifungal medications.


Trichotyllomania is one of the other common causes of hair loss in children. It is a compulsive disorder that the patient has a constant urge to pull his or her hair. It is not limited to scalp hair and could be seen in

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any hair bearing area. Parents are not aware of this condition in many cases and treatment is through psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Most cases resolve completely after treatment of the compulsive disorder.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium could be seen in adults and children. Many factors like sever infection, big surgery, trauma, fever, and emotional distress will cause this condition through converting the growth phase of hair follicle into resting phase. The hair in resting phase starts to shed. This hair loss is typically self limiting and recovers spontaneously without treatment especially in children. Diagnosis of this condition is often through excluding other causes of hair loss. Complete recovery is expected within 4 to 6 months.

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