7 Reasons Why Teens and Pre-Teens Lose Their Hair

Hair loss in teens and pre teens

Hair loss or Alopecia, is a major concern for almost everyone who lose their hair in large chunks almost regularly. And I am not talking about losing the regular 100 strands of hair.

Hair loss is said to occur when a person loses more than the average count of 100 hairs per day due to various reasons. More often than not, they lose their hair due to a condition called Androgenetic Alopecia or Male Pattern Baldness. When females are affected by this condition, it is called Female Pattern Baldness.

But is it only the adults who suffer from acute hair loss problems? Or is hair loss a by-product of ageing? The answer to both these questions is a flat No.

It is common for both adults and children to lose their hair. In fact, it can occur in babies, teenagers and pre-teens. Take a look at the common causes for hair loss in children.


    Tinea Capitis or Ringworm, refers to a fungal infection in children and it is the most common cause of hair loss for them. One of the obvious signs of this disease is the scaly patches of hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows and the eyelashes. Unlike other hair loss patterns, the hair loss patches in this condition is more or less circular in appearance.

    Also, the hair strands get easily broken off at the surface of the skin, which then resemble several black dots on the scalp. This disease is contagious and can spread by sharing anything that has contact with the infected kid’s scalp such as – pillowcases, headgear, hair accessories, towels or combs.


    Alopecia Areata is hair loss, which is caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles in particular. As a result, hair loss occurs in smooth, round patches. Sometimes, these patches appear overnight or over the duration of a few days. In children, this is also characterized by the pitting and ridging of their nails. There is no known cure for this disease, but it can be controlled to an extent. The hair can regrow within a year, if the treatment is successful. For others, this can lead to Alopecia Totalis or the complete loss of hair on the scalp or even Alopecia Universalis or the complete loss of hair on the body and not just the scalp.


    Trichotillomania is a type of hair loss, which is caused by excessive pulling, plucking, rubbing or twisting the hair. This leads to broken hairs of different length and the patches of hair loss is more frequent on the dominant hand’s side. For instance, if the child is left-handed, the patches will be more on the left side of the scalp and similarly, for a right-handed child, the patches will be more on the right-hand side of the scalp.

    This disorder is usually triggered by a stressful event in the child’s life. This can be the loss of a near and dear one, the separation of parents etc. and can have a number of other sociological and psychological consequences.

    Regular counselling can help treat this condition to an extent.


    Trichophagia or the compulsive eating of hair is often associated with Trichotillomania. In this disorder, the hair is pulled, plucked from the scalp and ingested by the child and this ingested hair can lead to a hair ball formation in their digestive system (trichobezoar).


    Traction Alopecia affects kids as much as adults. The causes are similar as those of grown-ups. For instance, hairstyles such as pigtails, cornrows and excessive braiding of their hair can cause hair loss on the scalp (the pulling of hair at the shafts for making hairstyles leads to hair loss). Also, the hair follicles become damaged and no longer capable of growing healthy hair. When the problem becomes severe, the follicles may stop producing any hair at all. The solution to this is to avoid tight hairstyles, reducing the use of hair accessories, change the parting of the hair occasionally and regularly massaging the hair and scalp.


    Telogen Effluvium is a condition, where the hair suddenly enters the resting phase and begins shedding. This is a result of a high fever, surgery, stress, or sudden disease. This type of hair shedding leads to hair loss in both adults and children. However, it is temporary in nature and the hair often grows back within a few months. It is characterized by overall thinning of the hair and not the loss of hair in patches.


    Even though it is rare, hair loss can also result from a deficiency of nutrients in children. These nutrients include but are not limited to – Vitamin H or biotin, B complex vitamins, Zinc etc. on the flipside, too much of vitamin A can also induce hair loss.

    The solution is obviously, to include the necessary vitamins and nutrients in the diet of your kids. If the hair loss persists, make it a point to book an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist immediately.

Other reasons

  • Newborn babies may lose their hair in the first few months. Their baby hair is later replaced by permanent hair.
  • Rubbing of the hair in the crib, car seat or mattress can also lead to hair loss, albeit temporarily.
  • Brushing the hair with too much force can also lead to loss of hair in kids.
  • Using too many chemicals (hair care products) and hair styling tools to wash the hair is another reason for sudden hair loss.

Apart from these reasons, medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism can also lead to hair loss in children and so does chemotherapy.


The next time your child suffers from hair loss, check for these signs and symptoms followed by taking him/her to the physician or dermatologist right away. For more information on hair fall and hair loss, keep a tab on this space.