Children’s Hair Loss

There are many known forms of hair loss in children, and it is important to identify each of them properly to choose the best possible solution. Trichology offers many treatment options for most types of hair loss. In certain cases, the loss is reversible and temporary; while in others, it may be permanent.

A complete capillary analysis and assessment is essential for all cases of hair loss or capillary issues. It is important to inform both the child and the parents about treatment options and upcoming steps.

Chemotherapy and Cranial Radiation

Unfortunately, cancer sometimes affects young children and they are not immune to treatment-related side effects. In young children with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy or cranial radiation therapy, hair loss is often unavoidable.

During treatment, cell division of the hair follicle is interrupted. As treatments are not always localized, the effects can reach the scalp. Hair will fall out two to three weeks later. The loss is different from one child to another and depends on the concentration and duration of the treatments. The body and scalp skin also becomes very dry and sensitive.

It is a mistake to believe that because there is no hair, it is no longer necessary to wash the head. Oncologists and nurses, not knowing what to suggest, often avoid washing the scalp so as not to irritate the skin and scalp of their patients. This is why it is essential to maintain proper hygiene for both the body and the scalp. It is best to use products that do not contain sulfates, fragrances, silicones or other irritants. Choose hydrating products that have a balanced pH.

Too often, only an aesthetic solution is discussed for the duration of the treatment period, but it is also important to pay attention to the health of the skin and scalp. By maintaining adequate hygiene, it will be possible to keep the scalp hydrated and thereby promote an optimal environment for hair growth once the treatment is complete.

Thirty days after the end of the chemotherapy, it is imperative to apply lotions rich in amino acids and vitamin B6 to support hair regrowth. However, these solutions used during the treatment period would be a complete waste. You may also offer your young clients some post-treatment cosmetic salon services. Hydration care 60 days after the end of the chemotherapy will bring comfort and elasticity to the scalp as well as the significant emotional benefits of a relaxing back bar treatment. These methods, shampoo, lotion and back bar treatment, work synergistically. Above all, you will need to listen to your clients’ needs and concerns, regardless of their age. Educate them about what is happening and provide constant reassurance. This is what will set you apart.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair, and it can result in significant hair loss, either on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Trichotillomania, which is seen most frequently among women, is sometimes considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, trichotillomania is not a true form of OCD because although it is a compulsive habit, the person derives pleasure from it, which makes it harder to stop. The majority of people suffering from trichotillomania start pulling out hair during their childhood or adolescence, but there are those who start later, at almost any age. It seems that very young children are more prone to it, yet it is easier for them to stop. Studies have not yet revealed the exact cause of trichotillomania. Frequently, trichotillomania begins after trauma; however, it can also start without any identifiable reason. There are numerous psychodynamic interpretations, inasmuch as hair is associated with femininity and trichotillomania is much more present among women. Stress, anxiety or boredom can provoke crises: the subjects are not able to control their urge to pull hair for certain lengths of time (from several minutes to several hours), when they are in an altered state or a “bubble”, and they do nothing but pull hair. It is very difficult for a person with trichotillomania to come out of a crisis.

There is no real treatment for trichotillomania, but several techniques have been shown to work: psychotherapy, tips for reducing temptation, support groups and some medications. However, we must be aware of side effects as some antidepressants can lead to other hair loss problems. Some comfort treatments can be performed on the child’s scalp to reduce local inflammation. It is always recommended to consult a specialist (dermatologist or psychotherapist), in conjunction with your proposed solution.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata (localized alopecia) is the name given to a hairless plaque that appears in a zone that normally has hair (scalp, eyebrows, etc.). The round, smooth and flexible plaque forms suddenly and the hair grows back in a varying timeframe. Nowadays, it is thought that alopecia areata has psychological (emotional) origins. Alopecia areata is a type of non-scarring alopecia. On a clean scalp, the bald plaques, whether round or oval, are smooth and the same color as the rest of the scalp. This kind of hair loss is an autoimmune reaction. This means that some groups of white blood cells are attacking the hair follicle. There may be more than one plaque at any given time, hair may regrow, and the plaque may reappear sporadically. In most cases, hair regrowth is frequent. In other, more severe cases, all of the child’s hair may fall out (alopecia totalis).

Massage and back bar treatment can be offered to the child to help with hair regrowth, including treatments with vitamin B6, amino acids and proteins. These will contribute to strengthen the hair and encourage its return to a normal state. However, as long as the emotion or event at the root of the problem is not resolved, reoccurrences may be frequent. In other cases, there may not be any regrowth. Alopecia is not a simple disorder, and an attentive ear and support for both the child and the parents will be beneficial. Capillary issues for which a multitude of options exist can also affect children. Prevention and education are the best possible tools. There are also solutions for certain types of hair loss. Training in trichology will help you to better recognize and differentiate specific problems. Increased understanding will also allow you to choose appropriate solutions to each disorder and provide answers to your clients’ questions, rather than excuses. Trichology uses a holistic approach, relying on collaboration among practitioners in the medical, dermatological and even psychological fields. There are many organizations that offer trichology training, which would be an asset for your center and your clients. Prevention begins sooner than you think!