If your baby has no hair, it is easy to become a little bit worried. Is this normal? Will the hair ever grow all over their head..? Let’s take a look at hair loss and hair growth in babies and what’s normal and not.
My baby is six months old and has no hair!. At this age, shouldn’t her hair have grown by now? I am worried that she has a disease or deficiency. Please guide me with this problem.
Normal Hair Growth for Babies
Hair growth is often linked to genetics. Gender and race have their say on the quality of hair on your baby’s head, too. Some newborns can be born with a head full of hair, while others turn up bald. But not to worry, as this is normal. When your babies are inside your wombs, there is an increased supply of hormones from the mothers, hastening hair growth. But once these babies come out into the world, the hormones decrease gradually, hence we can see them lose the fine hair as they grow, to be replaced with new permanent hair.
The linear hair growth rate is generally higher in girls than in boys. Hence you can see women have longer hair and can easily sustain them whereas it would take a longer time for men to have the same length of hair like that of a woman.
Additionally, if a baby’s parents have fuller and thicker hair, then he is most likely to have the same color and texture of hair like that of his parents. Moreover, an African-American baby is more likely to have coarser hair than a Caucasian baby.
Possible Reasons for Hair Loss In Babies and Toddlers
Normal Hair Loss in Babies and Toddlers
You are worried that your baby’s hair is not growing as it should. Being only six months old, this is completely normal! Many babies, even if they had a lot of hair at birth, lose some or all of it during their first six months. Often between 6 and 12 months old, the baby’s hair starts growing back again. You may discover that your baby’s new hair is completely different in color or texture than what she had as a newborn.
Here are normal causes for hair loss in babies:
- Hormones – as already mentioned above, when a baby is in the womb, the hormones are high, hence the growth of hair is enhanced. But when the baby is already born, the hormones eventually decrease, making the fine hair fall off. But this is a normal occurrence in babies.
- Friction or Pressure Alopecia – alopecia means hair loss. This can be seen in babies from 2 to 6 months old. There is often a bald spot on the back of his head, indicating his usual sleeping position. This area is often rubbing the mattress, causing the hair to fall off. The hair grows back once the baby changes his sleeping position and sits up more.
- Traction alopecia – this can be seen in toddlers whose hair is often tied up too tightly, accompanied by vigorous hair-brushing. The hair breaks which causes hair to fall off. Hair eventually grows back, so there is no need to worry. Just brush gently and tie it up neatly, but not too tight.
- Telogen Effluvium – This is generally caused by physical and emotional stress. Hair follicles are said to be very sensitive to stress. Continuous exposure to severe stress can cause hair to fall off causing bald patches on your head. Severe illness, surgery, depression, childbirth in teens, and crash diets are just some of the examples of stress that can trigger hair loss. Hair usually grows back in 12 mos.
Abnormal Hair loss In Babies and Toddlers
These usually include medical conditions that cause hair loss, poor hair growth, or poor hair quality in babies and toddlers:
- Ringworm -This is one of the most common reasons for hair loss in children. Scaly and flaky bald spots which can seem inflamed or reddish are often caused by ringworms. This is a fungal infection that can easily be treated by antifungal shampoo or oral medications.
- Alopecia areata – This is an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles causing hair fall. The more hair follicles are affected, the more hair loss occurs. This may occur during childhood. This autoimmune disease is characterized by phases of hair growth and hair loss. Sometimes, this comes hand in hand with Loose Anagen Hair Syndrome (LAH), see below. Treatment includes creams and oral medications and will depend on the age of onset, the amount of hair loss, and the location of hair loss on the head. Sometimes, hair will regrow on its own, without the need for medications.
- Trichotillomania – This is a habitual twisting and pulling of hair causing hair to break off at different lengths and locations. Usually, there are multiple bald spots. This is usually associated with habitual nail biting, lip biting or sucking, sore picking habits, which are commonly manifested by children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Children often need psychotherapy treatment for this.
- Hypothyroidism – this is a common endocrine disorder wherein there is a limited production of the thyroid, producing small amounts of thyroid hormones. There are many types of hypothyroidism in children (see here.) There is hair loss, easy fatigability, weight gain, cold intolerance, slow pulse rate, among others. A panel of tests for confirmation will be performed to secure a diagnosis. Treatment includes oral medications. It is best to consult an endocrinologist when these symptoms are manifested by your child.
- Nutritional deficiencies – children with low intake of biotin (vitamin b), vitamin d, iron, and zinc are known to experience hair loss. Increasing their food intake rich in these will remedy the hair loss just fine.
- Chemotherapy – one of the common side effects of chemotherapy drugs is hair loss. However, this is mostly temporary and hair can regrow after chemo sessions stop.
- LAH – this is a self-limiting condition where the hair is not anchored properly to the scalp. This commonly occurs in girls aged 2 to 6 years old. The hair is not shiny and does not grow. There are noticeable bald spots. The hair is unruly, frizzy, and sparse. This condition resolves spontaneously. Some cases need further testing and oral medications or creams. Consult your doctors when symptoms stated are manifested by your child.
Call your doctor when:
- There is hair loss and your child looks very sick
- Patches of hair loss which are reddish and inflamed or swollen
- When you suspect ringworm infection
- Patches of bald spots for no apparent reason
- Breakage of hair in different areas at different lengths
- Hair pulling is persistent and does not seem to stop at any time
- There is widespread hair thinning with no apparent cause
Generally, hair loss is common and usually resolves on its own. However, consulting your pediatrician for the above-listed signs is vital in getting an accurate diagnosis (this includes further investigation for other signs and symptoms on your part).
These conditions can be treated, but your baby would need to see a doctor.
I hope this doesn’t make you worried! Chances are, really, that your daughter does not have a hair problem at all; she is just a normal little infant with a normal not-yet-so-pretty hairdo!
But if you do believe that she may suffer from one of the problems described above or if you simply think that her scalp doesn’t look normal, let her see a pediatrician or mention your worries during your baby’s next well-child exam.
Hope this helps,
More Baby Hair Issues
- Hair Loss In 9 Month Old
- 4 Month Baby With Rapid Hair Loss
- Baby Has Bald Spots
- Baby Losing Hair Due To Cradle Cap
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