Although not as common as hair loss in adults, hair loss in children can be severe. In many cases, the hair will grow back naturally with time. Topical steroids and synthetic substances are typically used to stimulate hair growth.
Many people think that a child’s hair loss is associated with childhood cancer. However, it is usually the cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, that causes the hair loss and not the cancer itself.
A fungal infection of the scalp, known as tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp), is transmitted by contact through the sharing of combs, brushes, towels etc. Although not dangerous, it can cause considerable hair loss in children.
Traction alopecia is a common cause of hair loss, particularly in girls. Yanking a child’s delicate hair into tight ponytails and braids can cause hair to fall out, especially along the front and sides of the head. Chemical assault from detergent type shampoos and products also causes damage, as do constant blow drying, straightening, combing and brushing.
Hair loss can be the result of a child’s compulsion to pull out his or her hair, resulting in patchy hair loss. Sickness and/or severe emotional stress can result in hair loss, which is generally not permanent once the child recovers.
Alopecia areata is the sudden appearance of round or oval patches of hair loss. Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles.
Natural treatment options for childhood hair loss
A child who pulls hair or rubs the scalp will generally outgrow this stage.
In the case of alopecia areata, build up the child’s immune system naturally by avoiding harmful medication and eliminating a nutritionally deficient junk food diet. Include plenty of good fats, protein and organically grown fruits and vegetables in the diet. Massage the child’s scalp with a few drops each of thyme, lavender and cedarwood essential oils in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed).
In the case of traction alopecia, be especially gentle when it comes to combing, brushing and drying a child’s hair. Avoid hair bands that can damage hair. Avoid hair products that damage the hair, such as detergent type shampoos and chemical laden conditioners.
For ringworm of the scalp, do not allow the child to share towels, hair brushes and combs. Wash bed linen and clothes often in hot water to get rid of fungal spores. Dilute a few drops of essential oil with jojoba oil and apply to the skin. The best anti-fungal essential oils to use for tinea capitis include tea tree, lemongrass, oregano, lavender, niaouli and patchouli. Use therapeutic grade essential oils only.