Take care of your baby’s hair and scalp from the start to gift him a healthy mane for life.
– By Dr Apoorva Shah
As a rule of the thumb, hair loss in children was earlier understood to be related to nutritional deficiency. But today, sedentary lifestyle is emerging as a major reason. Hair is said to be the barometer of health. A slight deviation from a ‘health status’ reflects in hair shedding. However in infants, different hair ailments can erupt which can have varied reasons. And one of the most common baby hair problems that can be seen is diffused hair fall and hair loss.
As young ones are always known to be fussy eaters, this habit can cause certain nutritional deficiencies, leading to hair fall. Anaemia, the deficiency of iron, at times can be detected through hair loss in a toddler. Under this condition, the hair become weak and can fall with the slightest agitation. This is known as Telogen Effluvium.
For hair to be healthy, your baby should not only have a good level of haemoglobin, but serum ferritin (a ubiquitous intracellular protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled fashion) should also be beyond 70. Generally, when a child starts looking pale and gets tired easily, it should signal parents to start giving him an iron-rich diet. The diet should be inclusive of dates, figs, jaggery and fruits such as apples and pomegranate. Hair look dull and lack luster due to anaemia. And stunted hair growth is commonly seen in such cases.
Similar symptoms can be also seen in toddlers with protein deficiencies. In extreme conditions, a toddler can develop brittle hair that can be crushed between fingers. However, this is a rare condition. In order to avoid any protein deficiency, make sure that your baby consumes milk and milk products on a regular basis.
Deficiencies of minerals such as zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium and selenium are also known to cause hair loss in toddlers, which is often due to insufficient water intake. Instead of consuming aerated beverages, children should be encouraged to have natural fruit juices, coconut water as it is an excellent source of minerals.
Apart from diffused hair loss, toddlers can, at times, have hair loss in patches. The patches can be circumscribed with regular margins with glossy appearance, indicative of Alopecia Areata or can be dirty looking with stubs and irregular margins with excessive scaling, which indicative of Tinea Capitis. Sometimes, one can also see patchy hair loss in children due to Trichotillomania.
Alopecia Areata is seen in children after an attack of viral fever or immunisation. It is considered as an autoimmune disorder which is known to be fast spreading and unstructured in nature. Many a times, home remedies are suggested which can spoil the outcome of the condition. Therefore, one should refrain from applying any irritants such as onion juice or garlic paste, which can burn the scalp and cause permanent scarring. Consulting a doctor is the best solution.
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