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My 5 year old daughter has 'loose' hair. It falls out easily and in clumps, although there are no apparent bald spots. She never complains of pain and does not pull it out on purpose. When an infant it would just appear in clumps on her pillow, now it comes out when gently brushed or pulled out. Is it possible that she has a nutrient deficiency of some sort?

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replied February 12th, 2007
Hair Loss, Hair Disorders Answer A2314
Hair loss (alopecia) in children is not very common. Hair loss for children is usually not due to some nutrient deficiency except in cases of extreme malnutrition. The most common causes for children’s’ alopecia are:
1. TINEA CAPITIS-It is a fungal infection on the head’s skin. Tinea Capitis is a contagious disease but can be successfully treated;
2. ALOPECIA AREATA-It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease with genetic predisposition. The prognosis of alopecia areata is variable in different cases;
3. TRAUMATIC ALOPECIA- There are few subtypes of this condition: COMPRESSIVE alopecia is due to chronic pressureon the hairs. TENSION alopecia is due to constant teasing, fluffing, combing, washing, curling, blow drying, hot combing, straightening and bleaching the hair. Tension alopecia can do a number things to the fragile hairs, causing them to fall out, especially those by the hair line and along the front and sides. TRICHOTILLOMANIA - Another type of alopecia that is due to mechanical cause is when the child pulls out her own hairs.
4. TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM- Various harmful factors can cause damage to the hair follicle causing the hair to enter into the telogenic phase of its cycle faster than usual. Hairs, in fact ,become older in a shorter period of time and that’s why they are lost. Such harmful factors can be: infections, metabolic disorders, iron deficiency, medications etc.
You can bring your daughter to a dermatologist to establish a correct diagnosis and start proper treatment.

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