Why do babies lose their hair?
19 July 2016, 16:46
If your baby was
born with a full head of hair, which has since fallen out, the good news is that
in most cases this is a completely normal process and nothing to worry about.
Is process is very
common and is called Telogen effluvium. This postnatal hair loss is
caused by a change in your baby’s hormone levels, which drop immediately after
Telogen effluvium can happen at any stage in life, and is
related to the life cycle of the hair follicles, which have a long growth phase,
followed by a short intermediary phase when the hair follicle degenerates, and
then a resting phase when the hair follicle lies dormant. This last phase is the
Read: Types of hair loss
Telogen effluvium occurs when this normal hair cycle is
interrupted – either by hormones (as in the case of babies) or stress, high
fevers, surgery under general anaesthesia, excessive intake of vitamin A,
severe injuries and some prescription medications.
However if your
baby continues to lose hair after the first few weeks and is losing it in
patches, such as at the side or back of the head, assess how they sleep and
sit. Babies can’t roll over for a while, and if they are always sleeping on the
same side or sitting in the same position, the same patch on the head may be
rubbing against the bedding or pillow, causing a bald spot.
Other causes for
hair loss in babies include:
capitis (ringworm): This is a
fungal infection resulting in hair loss. It is indicated by patchy bald spots with
flaky, red scaling on the scalp. In addition, there may be black dots in
locations where the hair broke off.
- Trichotillomania: This condition can occur if an older baby
pulls or twirls the hair often, and can lead to irregular patches where hair
falls out. Trichotillomania is thought to be an obsessive-compulsive
disorder characterised by patchy hair loss and broken hairs of varying length.
- Trauma: The hair follicle is very fragile, and trauma, caused by the hair
repeatedly being pulled into tight braids and pony-tails can cause
damage and lead to hair loss.
Although very rare in babies, some may be born with alopecia (hair loss), which
can occur by itself or in combination with some abnormalities of the nails and
the teeth. Alopecia areata is a
condition more common in older children and teenagers and causes hair-loss in a
circular area, causing a bald spot.
Generally, however, babies’ hair grows back within six
months to a year, often a different colour than the hair they lost. If the hair
does not regrow it could be indicative of other medical or nutritional
problems, and you should consult your paediatrician.
What is hair loss (alopecia)?
Causes of hair loss
Baby Hair loss; New
Health Guide; Last Updated 13 July, 2016.; http://www.newhealthguide.org/Baby-Hair-Loss.html
healthychildren.org; 11/21/2015; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Hair-Loss-Alopecia.aspx
Children’s hair loss,
Causes and Treatment; American Hair Loss Association; Reviewed by Paul J. McAndrews, MD; http://www.americanhairloss.org/children_hair_loss/causes_treatment.asp