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Hair Loss

Hair loss (alopecia) can occur in patches or throughout the scalp. The causes are many, including ringworm.

Causes of hair loss that don't require medical treatment include:

  • Newborn hair loss. The hair of many newborns falls out during the first few months of life. This baby hair is replaced by permanent hair.
  • Rubbing. Babies from 3 to 6 months of age commonly rub off a patch of hair on the back of their head due to friction during head-turning against the mattresses of cribs, playpens, and infant seats. The hair grows back once they start sitting up.
  • Hair abuse. Hair can be lost because of vigorous hairbrushing, hot combs, tight pony tails, or braids.
  • Stress. Hair follicles are very sensitive to stress. The hair begins to fall out about 3 months (100 days) after a severe stress (such as high fever, severe illness, a psychological crisis, a crash diet, surgery, or even childbirth). The hair falls out from all parts of the head over the next 3 or 4 months. After the hair stops shedding, it takes another 6 to 8 months for all of the hair to grow back. The whole cycle takes about 12 months. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium.

Call your child's health care provider during office hours if your child's hair loss is caused by something other than one of the causes listed above.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2001-11-30
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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