As troubling as hair loss can be for adults, it is, at least, something that we can reasonably expect and for which we can prepare. At least 65% of men and up to 80% of women can expect to experience some degree of hair loss by the age of sixty, but numerous surgical and non-surgical treatment options are available to help deal with the problem. However, when hair loss affects a child, the emotional impact can be devastating. Even though hair loss in children is relatively rare, it does account for an estimated 3% of all pediatric office visits in the United States, and the children experiencing it are frequently confused, frightened, and even subjected to teasing and bullying by their peers. There are many different underlying causes that can potentially cause children’s hair loss, and treating the condition is not simple. However, the specialists at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research have nearly forty years of experience treating the various forms of hair loss, and formulate an effective treatment plan that will meet your child’s specific needs.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice we can offer when dealing with children’s hair loss is not to panic. Even though the condition may appear extremely serious, a great deal of the hair loss that occurs in children is actually just the results of some easily remedied habits. For example, tightly binding hair styles, like elaborate braids or pigtails, can place stress on developing hair shafts and follicles, which can, over time, result in a condition called traction alopecia, where the hair thins noticeably along the front and sides of the scalp. More seriously, some children develop a psychological condition known as Trichotillomania, where they habitually pull, pluck, twist, or rub their hair, causing uneven patchy hair loss. Neither of these conditions is medically dangerous, and both can be easily reversed by either correcting behavior or addressing the psychological stressors that may be responsible.
In some cases, however, children’s hair loss can be the result of an underlying medical condition. Most commonly, it is caused by tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, a contagious superficial fungal infection of the skin that causes severe itching along with extensive flaking and hair loss in round or oval patches. While it can occur at any age, it most often affects small children and remains one of the most common causes of hair loss in children worldwide. Left untreated, tinea capitis can potentially cause scarring of the scalp that may result in permanent hair loss. If caught early, however, it can be effectively treated with anti-fungal medications. Hair loss can also be a side effect of trauma, particularly when an accident or surgical procedure causes damage to the scalp that leaves scars behind. At The Griffin Center, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis have a great deal of experience performing hair transplants to reduce the appearance of scars on the head and scalp, and can offer a number of different options for dealing with this concern.
Finally, in certain particularly rare cases, children’s hair loss can also be the result of more pervasive, long term concerns. Nearly 2% of Americans, both men and women, experience hair loss that is caused by the body’s own immune system actively attacking the hair follicles, a condition commonly known as alopecia areata. While there is no cure for alopecia areata, and research is still being done to fully understand its causes and progression, early treatment has been successful in controlling the disease in some children. Many of the children treated have had their hair back within a year, although regrowth is unpredictable and future hair loss is possible. The Griffin Center staff is constantly researching the latest developments in the treatment of hair loss so that we can offer our patients the most effective range of options.
If you or someone you love is experiencing hair loss and would like to learn more about what we can do for you, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.