Children are just as susceptible to traction alopecia as adults are. The causes of traction alopecia in children are similar to grown ups. Hairstyles such as pigtails, cornrows and braiding can cause hair loss in kids. When a child’s hair is repeatedly styled tightly, over a period of time hair follicles become damaged and incapable of producing healthy hairs. The hair follicle may become so damaged that it stops producing hairs altogether. Hair loss occurs in the areas of the scalp that are pulled the most, usually at the front hair line, the nape of the neck and crown.
Traction alopecia in children can be treated in a similar fashion to the way it is treated in adults. In fact children have a much better chance of regrowing hair from damaged hair follicles if treated correctly. It is worth bearing in mind that children have more sensitive skin than adults and certain rules should be followed in order not to cause more damage to their delicate scalps.
Tip number one – avoid tight hairstyles
Avoid hairstyles that cause any sort of pulling whatsoever on hair follicles. Don’t use rubberbands, headbands, clips or any accessories that may cause tension on the scalp. If possible let the child wear their hair down.
Rule number two – do not use harsh chemicals
It is not uncommon for people that have children with unmanageable hair to be tempted to apply some sort of texturizing treatment to tame their wild unruly hair. Texturizers and relaxers contain powerful ingredients to chemically restructure the hair and can damage the scalp of an adult, talk less of that of a child. Although some of these products are made with gentler formulae and aimed at children, it is best to stay clear of any products that might interfere with the health of the child’s hair follicles.
Rule number three – maintain a clean scalp
A dirty scalp is an ideal place for fungus to grow which results in conditions such as dandruff. Ensure the scalp is kept clean by washing it several times a week. A clean scalp will also help remove any dirt and sebum blocking the hair follicles. Most shampoos, even those designed and made for children contain sodium laureth sulfate, a cheap detergent that is also an irritant. It’s a cheap foaming agent that “cleans” the hair by stripping away grease and your hair’s natural oils. Aim for a shampoo that is sulfate free and if you can afford it organic or plant based.
Rule number 4 – apply a hair promoting topical treatment
Hair loss treatments can be applied directly to the scalp to stimulate hair follicles into producing new hairs. While products like minoxidil are suitable for both adult men and women, it should not be used on a child. Instead other hair promoting topical natural treatments can be used. Bhringaraj has been used for centuries in India to promote hair growth and can be safely used on a child. It is a plant and can be applied on a child’s scalp without fear of any adverse effects. Bhringaraj is popularly sold in both its powder form and as an oil. Simply add some water to a teaspoon of powder and mix it into a smooth paste which can be applied to the areas where hair loss has occurred.
Rule number 5 – regular scalp massages
A regular scalp massage will increase circulation and also stimulate damaged hair follicles. Getting into the habit of gently massaging the child’s scalp will speed up their hair regrowth. It is best to use a lubricating agent such as oil to eliminate any friction which may cause further damage to the scalp or hair follicles. Bhringaraj oil or virgin coconut oil make excellent massage oils for the scalp and can also double up as deep conditioning hair treatments.
Following these rules will ensure more hair doesn’t fall out because of the excessive force applied to the hair follicles and that further harm isn’t caused to the follicles by the use of unsuitable hair products. Stick with gentle products and stimulate hair growth by increasing scalp circulation through regular massages to give the hair follicles a chance to heal themselves and start producing healthy new hairs.