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Child is having hair loss. Suspected for alopecia. What cure and precaution should be taken?

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I have a dgt who is 3yrs old. Since december she has been experiencing hair thinning and breaking. The hair in the back of her head is all gone( except for the very short hair that is growing back in the place of the lost no bald spots) i took her to a dermatoligist and they stated that she probaly has Alopecia. However with all the research that i have done it really doesn't match what is going on with her. I have been journaling the changes that we have made and came up with one signfigant change. In November we started to use flavorings for water instead of buying juice, due to the amount of liquid she would drink and her teeth. We bought the flavorings that contained sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Could this attribute to her hair problem?
Posted Thu, 11 Apr 2013 in Hair Loss
Answered by Dr. Tanusree Biswas 44 minutes later

Thanks for sharing your concern with us.

Firstly, I would like to say that changing the flavorings is not the cause of the hair loss you mention. So, it really does not matter what fluid you give her right now, as long as they are nutritious and healthy.

'Alopecia' means hair loss and it can be from any cause. From the most common causes of localized hair loss in children, I can mention a few:

1)Tinea capitis:Commonly known as ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection. It is contagious and caused by sharing of common objects for hair/scalp. The patches are usually round or oval. The hairs may be broken off at the surface of the skin and look like black dots on the scalp.
Diagnosis is made by a microscopic examination. Treatment usually involves an oral antifungal, such as Griseofulvin.
2)Alopecia areata : This caused by the body's immune system attacking the hair follicles. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of round or oval patches of hair loss. The patches are smooth, without scaling or broken hairs.
This is usually self limited, some cases topical corticosteroids are given.
3)Trichotillomania: This is hair loss caused by the child pulling or plucking her hair. The hair loss is patchy and characterized by broken hairs of varying length. Patches are typically seen on the side of the child's dominant hand.

Since you see a regrowth of hair already, I do not think there is requirement of immediate further medication or assessment. However if you feel that the loss persists, it is important that you visit the dermatologist to do a Woods lamp and microscopic examination or culture of epilated hair.

Hope, I have helped you with your query. I will be happy to answer any follow-up questions that you may have.

Wishing your daughter good health.

Dr.Tanushree Biswas
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