Alopecia areata is distinguished by a pattern of patchy hair loss over the scalp and other body parts. This condition impacts about two percent of the whole population. The autoimmune theory seems to be the most likely explanation.
However, the pathophysiology of this disease is still only partially known. The stress caused by hair loss might be significant. The loss of hair that occurs throughout the early years is typically transitory. In temporary hair loss cases, hair regrowth typically occurs once the underlying cause of the condition that caused it has been resolved.
Alopecia areata is a disorder that manifests as patchy hair loss and is brought on by an attack on the hair follicles brought on by your child’s immune system. The child will have a diffuse thinning of the hair, which can occur anywhere hair normally grows. Since the symptoms of alopecia areata are sometimes extremely obvious, the condition can be challenging for youngsters.
Most cases of alopecia areata in children resolve independently within a year without therapy, affecting roughly half of those affected. Regardless of the circumstances, the vast majority of children will experience recurrences throughout their whole lives. There is a possibility that other children will experience incidences of hair loss that are more widespread and will not respond favorably to treatment.
Alopecia Areata Symptoms
Alopecia areata often only manifests itself with a loss of hair. Any one of the following signs could be present in your child:
- Circular or oval bald spots on the scalp
- Balding that appears in bands or stripes.
- The shedding of eyelashes
- Loss of hair everywhere on a large scale
- Alterations in the nails, such as redness, roughness, or fragility of the nails
Factors Contributing to The Development of Alopecia Areata
When your child has alopecia areata, their immune system fights the hair follicles, causing them to lose their hair. This condition is known as an autoimmune disorder, which is a condition in which the body’s immune system fights a portion of itself. Alopecia areata may be caused by genetic factors. If you or a relative has alopecia areata, the likelihood that your child may also develop the condition is increased. Children who suffer from any of the following disorders have an increased likelihood of getting alopecia areata in some form:
- The common cold
- Disease of the thyroid
- Anemia pernicious
- Down syndrome
Different Categories of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata in children can manifest in a variety of various ways, including the following:
Alopecia areata (patchy): It is the most prevalent form of alopecia areata, consisting of one or more spots of hair loss around the size of a coin. It’s not limited to the scalp but can appear everywhere follicles produce hair. If the child has this form of condition, it has the potential to progress into a more severe form of alopecia.
Persistent patchy alopecia areata: The pattern of hair loss in persistent patchy alopecia areata stays the same throughout a long period without ever getting more widespread.
Alopecia totalis: Your child may suffer from alopecia totalis, which causes hair loss across the scalp.
Alopecia Universalis: Your child will lose all of their hair if they have alopecia Universalis, including the hair on their head, body, and face.
Diffuse alopecia areata: Some forms of hair loss, such as diffuse alopecia areata, might be confused with one another. One of the most distinguishing features is abrupt hair thinning.
Ophiasis alopecia: This particular form of alopecia is diagnosed when a pattern of thinning hair resembles a wave around the lower back, sides, and head. This type may not respond well to treatment with drugs.
When To Seek Medical Attention
You should take your child to the pediatrician as soon as possible if they begin to exhibit any symptoms of hair loss. The symptoms of alopecia areata are not likely to be bothersome to children under five, but they might be to older children.
The child’s hair will return to normal within a year, even if they don’t receive any treatment for the alopecia areata. If, on the other hand, your child is bothered by the thinning of their hair, there are numerous therapeutic alternatives available.
Diagnosing Alopecia Areata
The examination of the child’s hair and nails should be sufficient for the doctor to diagnose alopecia areata in most cases. A scalp biopsy taken at the area where your child is losing hair may be able to establish the diagnosis in some instances.
Although there is no permanent treatment for alopecia areata, several therapies could help manage the condition. Your child’s age and the degree and area of hair loss will affect the course of treatment that is recommended.
For Kids Under Ten
It is possible to regenerate hair in children younger than ten by applying topical corticosteroids to the scalp twice daily. After the hair has begun to come back, using minoxidil regularly can assist the hair to continue to grow back.
For Kids Older Than Ten
In cases of alopecia areata that are localized and patchy, the most effective initial treatment may consist of administering corticosteroids straight into the regions of hair loss to suppress the attacks from the immune system.
Corticosteroids applied topically in high doses, immunotherapy, and oral corticosteroids are some potential treatment possibilities. Your doctor may recommend minoxidil and other therapies to assist in hair regeneration.
There are additional medications, like methotrexate and anthralin, that the physician treating your kid may give if the previous treatments that have been tried are unsuccessful.
Altering how your child wears their hair can help them hide the effects of hair loss. When it comes to older kids who have shed eyebrows or eyelashes, cosmetic procedures such as cosmetics and fake eyelashes may help mask hair loss until it regrows again.
If your child only has scalp-level alopecia areata, they should be able to get better with treatment from their regular pediatrician rather than a dermatologist. After one year of treatment with a topical medication, if the patient’s hair has not begun to regrow or if the condition appears to be worsening, the patient’s pediatrician may recommend that the patient consult a specialist.