- Hair loss in patches or throughout the scalp
- The missing hairs can be broken off or just fall out
- The medical term for hair loss is alopecia
Common causes of hair loss are listed below. Most don't usually require medical treatment.
- Ringworm of the Scalp. This is the main cause of patchy hair loss that needs medical treatment. Your child's doctor will prescribe a medicine to treat ringworm of the scalp. It's taken by mouth.
- Newborn Hair Loss. The hair of many newborns falls out during the first few months of life. This baby hair is replaced by permanent hair.
- Rubbing or Friction. Babies can rub off a patch of hair on the back of the head. This most commonly occurs in infants 3 to 6 months old. It is a result of friction during head-turning against a firm surface. Examples are crib mattresses, playpens, and infant seats. The hair grows back once the baby starts sitting up. Also called friction alopecia or pressure alopecia. Repeated or severe friction can cause hair loss at any age.
- Tight Hair Styles. If hair is pulled too tight, it will eventually break. Mostly seen with tight braids, pony tails or dreadlocks (especially corn row styles). Hair can also be lost because of vigorous hair-brushing or back combing. Hot hairstyling tools can also cause hair damage. Also known as traction alopecia, mechanical alopecia, or "hair abuse."
- Twisting or Pulling Out the Hair. This is a nervous habit called trichotillomania. Frequent twisting of the hair results in broken hairs of different lengths. The missing hair occurs in patches of different shapes. This creates bald spots. Rarely, it can include plucking of the eyebrows or eyelashes. Can occur with nail biting, lip biting or sucking, and sore picking habits. In older children, may be associated with OCD.
- Stress. Hair follicles are very sensitive to physical or emotional stress. The hair begins to fall out about 3-4 months after a severe stress. Reason: Hair follicles are very sensitive to physical or emotional stress. Examples are a high fever, severe illness or surgery. Also, an emotional crisis or a crash diet can be triggers. In pregnant teens, the stress can be childbirth. After hair stops shedding, the hair will slowly grow back. This can take 6 to 8 months for all the hair to grow back. The whole cycle takes about 12 months. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium.