Parents are urging doll maker Mattel to take on the challenge of creating a bald Barbie to help the self-image and overall acceptance for girls who suffer from hair loss. Children’s hair loss is often difficult for both children and parents, as children may not understand why they’re different from their peers while parents may have a hard time explaining and even understanding the causes of hair loss.
The push for a “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” began as a Facebook campaign to help children who may be undergoing cancer treatments, suffer from alopecia areata, or have the condition trichotillomania. Proponents of the doll also believe that its creation will help children in dealing with the female family members’ hair loss such as mothers undergoing chemotherapy.
While hair loss is not too common in children, there are common misconceptions regarding the causes of hair loss including the notion that children’s hair loss is caused by headbands or hats, poor scalp circulation, or even cold weather. More likely, hair loss in children is caused by trauma from an accident, symptoms of a birth defect, scarring from surgeries or accidents, and/or alopecia areata.
Similar to the reality of hair loss and baldness, supporters of a bald Barbie suggest the doll manufacturer include accessories like head scarves and hats and donate a portion of the proceeds to childhood cancer research. There’s no word yet on whether Mattel has answered the group’s request.
Children whose hair loss is the result of telogen effluvium (brought on by bodily stress, medications, or high fever), tinea capitis (a fungal infection), or traction alopecia (caused by hairstyles) may benefit from treatments like cortisone injections, UVA light in combination with a topical photosensitizing medicine, and/or Rogaine®, though these treatments must be tailored to the child and the cause of the problem.
Hair loss in children is always a tough subject. Though it’s every parent’s dream, sheltering your child completely is impossible. Peers who also may not understand hair loss can resort to teasing which often makes the child with hair loss feel worse. At The Griffin Center for Hair Restoration and Research we understand how sensitive an issue hair loss in children can be, and we work to provide the utmost in patient care and compassion.