Common causes of paediatric alopecia

    October 2018
    William Cranwell, Rodney Sinclair
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    TLDR Hair loss in children is often caused by scalp infections, immune disorders, hair pulling, stress, and requires careful treatment due to emotional effects.
    The article from 5 years ago identified the common causes of pediatric alopecia (hair loss in children under 12) as tinea capitis, alopecia areata, trauma due to traction or trichotillomania, and telogen effluvium. Diagnosis was usually made through patient history, scalp and hair examination, trichoscopy, and basic lab studies. The condition required holistic care due to potential psychological impacts like low self-esteem and social isolation. Referral to a dermatologist was necessary in uncertain or severe cases. Tinea capitis affected 4-13% of children, alopecia areata affected 1 in 1000 people, while the prevalence of traction alopecia and trichotillomania was hard to estimate. Treatment varied: tinea capitis was treated with oral antifungal medication, alopecia areata with potent topical glucocorticoids, traction alopecia could be reversed by changing hairstyles or behaviors, trichotillomania might require psychological therapy and medication, and telogen effluvium was generally self-limiting. The article concluded that pediatric alopecia, though uncommon, could cause significant distress, necessitating a systematic approach to assessment and treatment.
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