Hair loss is a natural occurrence for most adults, well unless you live under the sea with magical sponges. But hair loss in children can come as quite a shock to parents who may not be prepared for this condition - alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata sounds like something out of Harry Potter spellbook, but it’s actually an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss on various parts of the body (Nope not just head). It mainly affects the scalp and often starts with small round patches that can spread over time. The cause of alopecia areata? Your immune system goes rogue and attacks your own hair follicles!
Why Does this happen to Kids? (Jeez)
Children's bodies are still developing so their immune system isn't fully matured which could lead to disorders such as alopecia areata. Hormonal changes or stress can also trigger this condition!
Types of Alopecia
Just when you thought there was only one type right? There’s three more! Here they come:
1) Telogen Effluvium
Sounds like a human from outer space sent here for our hairdressers! But no Telogen effluvium occurs when there is significant stress on your child's body due to conditions such as malnutrition, high fever neurosis disorder etc., making their precious locks take a back seat while your little superhero recovers.
2) Traction Alopecia
Little kids tend to love playing "Let me see how many silly buns I could fit onto my head" or what about super tight braids for those basketball games! (Might wanna rethink that now.) This tends to cause temporary baldness around the forehead areas or even patchy strands scattered throughout their heads (ooh scary).
Hmm, let's pull out our roots for fun doesn't sound like the best of times but sometimes children might get pulled into this type due to stresses and anxiety, as some behavior such as hair pulling is a comforting mechanism (I prefer teddy bears or ice cream myself).
We talked about summary patches spreading gradually, right? But there are more symptoms that show up in alopecia.
- Gradual thinning usually on the top or side
- Hairs falling off surprisingly quickly
- Circular bald spots on an already delicate scalp
Is There Treatment Available for Children?
Good news! Yes(yay yay)!
1) Corticosteroids (Fancy way of saying steroids 😝)
Injections with corticosteroids could restore hair growth within weeks while also suppressing that pesky immune system from kicking up any trouble!
2) Immunomodulators (Sounds interesting)
Sometimes injections aren’t required; immunomodulatory drugs can be used instead or custom-made compounds depending on what science says will work.
3) Topical Minoxidil (its topical!)
Yes its topical so no needles plunge no tears just simple lotion rubs at home.
As parents you want the best treatment plans available for your child. So it's essential to seek medical advice when experiencing these sort of conditions (No web diagnosing please doctors know their stuff not Dr Google) . Hair loss isn’t something your little one has to live with forever! Educate yourself better by checking out national alopecia organizations ( Super helpful and knowledgeable people) who offer further guidance.
Finally remember being unique may come differently even through how much hair we have. Embracing differences helps kids develop confidence in themselves which is very important. #StayUnique kiddos!