Conditions

Alopecia

Alopecia

It can be bad enough when grown men and women lose their hair, but imagine how traumatic it is for kids. Alopecia areata is the medical name for the type of baldness that most frequently affects children and teenagers. It isn’t common, and usually involves a patchy loss of hair from all over the head rather than the evenly receding hairline that men experience. The NHS reports that in one in five cases alopecia runs in the family, and that of the one in a hundred people affected, many are children or teenagers. One clinic in Manchester has reported that the number of under-21 year olds it saw with alopecia increased three times between 2007 and 2009, so it’s a growing problem. Often it’s hereditary. Sadly, there’s no cure. In many cases the hair will eventually grow back naturally. But in some it won’t. There are, however, several ways in which it can be disguised, by wearing wigs, for instance.

The precise causes of alopecia aren’t always clear, though experts believe it’s connected to how well the immune system works. It doesn’t mean there’s any other problem with your child’s health, it isn’t connected to nutrition, and opinion is divided as to whether it can be triggered by stress. The hair on the head tends to fall out in circles, leaving bare patches of healthy-looking skin of up to a couple of centimetres in size.

Since there’s no simple or quick way of undoing the problem, if hair loss hits your child, you’ll need to provide emotional and psychological support. Firstly, let a doctor check that the condition isn’t a symptom of something else, such as thyroid disease – a condition which affects the glands.

If there’s no other underlying problem, then it’s a question of waiting to see when and whether the hair grows back. This can be an anxious, stressful time for kids, and it can make going to school or having a social life feel very hard. Little Britain star Matt Lucas suffers from alopecia universalis, a condition which results in the complete loss of hair from all over the body. It started to affect him when he was just six. “I did feel very self-conscious about my appearance,” he’s said. “Going through puberty was hard.” Kids with alopecia need a lot of support. Alopeciaonline.org.uk is one organisation that can help.

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Hi everyone, I have read through all comments above and would like to offer some advice if I can. I first found out that I had developed alopecia aerata 4 years ago during a stressful few months. At first I panicked and tried everything I could: steroid cream, herbal medicines, change in diet, changing hairstyles, patients (but no injections). Nothing worked and I had 4 very large patches which were difficult to disguise. I see a wonderful dermatologist who specialises in treating alopecia and has educated me from my first session as to why this has happened to me. After going a whole year last year without any patches and full hair growth I unfortunately found out yesterday that I have 6 little ones all over my head which are getting bigger everyday. I'm 27 now and feel much better when dealing with this as I now know a couple of things that have always worked for me.. Alopecia is very much stress related - you're vulnerable if you have an over active immune system and if particular stressors in your life are unyielding and/or the period of intense stress is prolonged for weeks or months. I stopped using the cream reccommended by my gp because it weakened my hair around the patches. Instead I use a dermological roller which is known mostly for facial use etc. These cost anything from £7-£30 online (eBay/amazon). It's a plastic roller with tiny 1.5mm needles that gently prick the skin where your patch is to make tiny scars. All this really does is distract your immune system from attacking your own hair follicles. You can't stop your immune system from killing your follicles but you can draw it away by creating tiny scars in the same area for it to heal. I roll the little needles all over the paches and my scalp for 2 minutes everyday. I also stop drinking caffeine drinks (coffee) for a few weeks to allow the nutrients to reach my hair and not be absorbed by caffeine. If you notice that you have little spikey hair around your patch - I'm really sorry but thats not a good sign. These hairs have broken at the follicle too and will fall out within days. I first thought it was new hair but it wasn't. Instead the patches grow bigger weakening the hair around the patches too. The hair cycle is roughly 3 months - something stressful that has happened will appear in patches 3 months later so always work your way backwards when trying to figure out what caused your alopecia. My dermatologist explained to me that his treatment, just like the demaroller, works in 2 ways, *distracts the immune system to stop patches getting bigger and *draws red blood cells to the surface enriching your scalp with the nutrients it needs for new hair to grow which again will take up to 3 months because of the cycle. I stopped using my roller for over 7 months and after coming down with a fever in January, exactly 3 months ago, having a high temperature and low levels of iron, as well as a 'stressful' move...I now have 6 patches again all at the same time!





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Hi, my daughter began to lose her hair at the age of 4, small patch to begin with then increasingly bigger patches would appear. Steroid cream worked for first 6 months but as new hair grew other patches would appear elsewhere. At the age of 8 the dermatologist advised steroid injections, and we saw a big difference after aprox 4 months. By 8 months her hair had completely grew back. Then after 1 yr the process began again. Once again steroid cream helped for a portion of time but then other areas became affected. At 16 years my daughter opted to have the injections again only this time they didn't make much difference. After a few months of having the treatment she lost all of her hair. Her eyebrows & eyelashes fall out then re-grow on a regular basis though. She is now 18 yrs old & has decided to stop all treatments.She continuously has migranes, which may be a result from the injections. She has worn a wig, which can be prescribed on the NHS, since she was 15. Telling friends was the best decision she made





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My 8 year old grandson has several bald patches on his head which have appeared over the last 2/3 weeks. The oldest one has hair growing back evenly already. He is autistic and goes to a special school with other children with various special needs and when my daughter noticed it, he said a boy at school was pulling it out and that he had told his teacher that this boy was also kicking and punching him. The school dispute this, although he is covered in bruises. If it was alopecia, it wouldn't grow back straight away would it?





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Hi I am 13 and I have 7 patches of hair missing from the side and back of my head. None of my family members have this deasese. I never thought I would get this deasese called alopeca. It all happened so sudden. My cousins was the people who spotted it out. I started out with just a little tiny spot in the back of my head. My mom thought it was because of some bad clippers that the barber shop man didn't sanitize. But a week later the spot in the back of my head turned into a hudge bald spot. Then a couple days later the spot started popping up on other parts of my head. My mom immediately took me to the doctor. He told me that I had alopeca. He gave me pills for it all I could do was pray and hope that god answer my prayer and cure this desease





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I'm 16 and have 3 patches, one a bit bigger than a €2 coin, one the size of a €2 coin and one the size of a €0.50 coin. I noticed the first one in december 2013 and have been taking vitamin c tablets and hair loss shampoo as recommended by the local cbemist. the patch that is the size of a €2 coin has grown back quickly and im so happy it has. it's very tough having these patches but my friends and most of the people in school know. teachers are very helpful as are my friends :) to anyone who has alopecia try keep your head up, I feel that the more people who know the easier it is





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My son is six years old, the hairdresser noticed a small bald patch on the left side of his head back in November 2013-Since it has spread although it's not round almost in a shape of a line. We can't cut his hair too short or it's so noticeable. I've taken him to the GP on 3 occasions but he won't refer me to a dermatologist. The GP keeps on prescribing the same steroid cream and vitamin drops. He says it looks like alopecia and their is nothing we can do and tries to convince me it's growing back- but it's getting worse! We're distraught for him, and he's noticing in the bath small hairs coming out when we wash his hair. There must be something we can do to help him?





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My son has alopecia. It is devastating I know that I'm being really superficial. However, this is my baby he is 11 years old. I don't want people coming up to him and asking him what's wrong. I don't want him to get made funny of. I'm so scared that this is really going to affect him, even though when the doctor told us he said it's going to be okay. He is a boy and he is so cute that I know it really doesn't matter. I don't know anyone else's in our family that has this. I really hope his hair grows back. I never in 1 million years that he would have to go through this.





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My son was diagnosed at 6yrs 10 yrs and always used a steroid cream and after 18months it always grew back, at 14 yrs (looks like 4yr cycles) it returned the cream didnt work and we decided to leave it and see what happens, I took my son to A&E on a different matter and the doctor asked if my son was diabetic and when i said no he said get him tested, just after his 16th birthday my son was diagnosed as being type1 is this the cause as he is lost a great about of hair and all yhe shampoos for hair loss are not working





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I have a 6 year old daughter who has alopecia. I noticed in when she was about 4 after she had her hair braided with hair extentions. I thought maybe the stylist may have braided to tight and it fell out but once I noticed the areas was clean and it was bald patches every were her eyelashes fell out and her eyebrows was clean. I immediately took her to the derm. The doctor prescribed a topical foam it grew back in at least 6 mos. results in 3 mos. I gave her a multivitamin daily and washed her hair with baby shampoo. It helped for a long time. Well I'm embarrassed to say that I got her more braides thinking I was clear to try again well it came out again not her eyebrows or her eyelashes but her hair in patches, I was hurting for her so I did the foam again and it worked with my same remedy baby shampoo and conti... the multivitamin now here we are again without the braides the patches all over grew back and all the sides are gone its getting better in its own time it just takes a little patience she still has her eyebrows and lashes no patches this time I pray to God that the 3rd time is a charm so there is still hope out there u guys just please be patient.





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My son's hair fell out in the space of 2 weeks back in Sept/oct time and there has been some hair growth since but nothing big. There are still some patches with less hair than the others but you can see the hair follicles. His eyebrows are thinner and he has lost a few eye lashes too. The Drs said it's not alopecia but I can't think what else it can be seeing as his bloods have come back clear and there was no redness on his head etc.





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