Some babies are born with a head full of hair. Some of them completely bald. That’s because hair growth is different for all babies. There’s just a lot going on in during this phase. And in some cases, you could see a few fallen strands of hair here and there. If you’re a new parent, this could worry you.
But here’s the truth: it is completely normal for newborn babies to lose hair. In fact, babies will lose hair in the first five months.
In rare instances, hair loss in babies could occur because of the below reasons.
1. Fungal Infection
The most common cause for hair loss in babies is the fungal infection known as tinea capitis or ringworm. Look out for patchy bald spots that appear red and flaky or crusty. Sometimes the hair breaks off at the surface and the patchy spot can be covered with black dots. The treatment usually takes around 8 weeks and consists of oral medication and an anti-fungal shampoo.
2. Physical Damage
Sometimes parents don’t realize that they could be tying their babies delicate hair too tight. When the hair is tied too tight, it causes trauma to the hair shaft and this results in hair fall. If you notice hair fall in your baby, stop tying their hair or making braids for a while to see if this helps.1
3. Alopecia Areata
If your baby is older than 6 months and experiencing hair loss in several patches, check with your doctor to rule out alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. The patches are smooth and without any signs of broken hairs. Though not common, 1 in 5 people can get it if a family member has the same condition. In some cases, the hair will grow back, but this could be slow and it could even take years.
Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for alopecia areata yet. But you can consult with a dermatologist to find alternative ways to stimulate hair growth. In some cases, babies also outgrow alopecia areata.
4. Telogen Effluvium
Hair growth follows a cycle. It starts with a growing active phase, then a transitional phase, and lastly a resting phase. The last phase of the cycle is known as telogen, in which the hair follicle remains dormant. In telogen effluvium, new hair is immediately pushed to the last phase, resulting in a lot of hair fall. This is usually triggered by something. For babies, it could happen due to surgery, high fever, or even emotional stress.
5. Resting In A Certain Position
Is your baby’s hair loss in a particular place? Maybe the back of their head or the side? Pay close attention to how your baby rests, sits, and sleeps. When your baby loves to cradle themselves by sleeping on their back or their side always, it could hurt their hair shaft. Sometimes the culprit could just be the innocent but continuous rubbing against the mattress that results in hair loss.
6. Medical Conditions
In rare instances, your baby’s hair loss could be a result of an iron deficiency (or other nutrients), a thyroid imbalance or other medical issues.
Can You Do?
If your baby’s hair starts thinning, pay close attention to other signs, like redness or a flaky scalp. In most cases, you really have nothing to worry about. Hair loss in babies is extremely common in babies under 5 months, thanks to their unique hair growth. But if your baby is still losing hair after 6 months, it’s time to seek a doctor’s advice just to rule out serious problems.
There are also certain things you can do to prevent hair fall.
- Practice tummy time: Make sure your baby spends time on their tummy every day. This allows their hair to breathe without an external stress. And it even helps with their physical development as well.
- Limit combing their hair to once a day: Remember, your baby’s hair is delicate and it should be dealt with carefully. Combing their hair multiple times a day can be too harsh for their sensitive scalp.
- Don’t wash their hair every day: When washing their hair, be gentle and patient. Use mild baby shampoos. And use a soft baby brush to comb their hair. Leave the styling for a few years later.
- Change your baby’s napping position: It helps to turn your baby position during their sleep so they aren’t stressing their head in one particular way.