Common Reasons for Thinning Hair in Kids

If you’ve noticed that your child has a thinning scalp, check out these common reasons for hair loss in children.

8 million women experience hair loss at some point during their adult lives, according to the NHS, with about half of all men also being hit by male pattern baldness by the age of 50 years old. Although hair loss is typical as we grow older, it can be shocking to notice a thinning scalp in healthy children. However, hair loss in children is reasonably common too and be caused by a variety of triggers.

Scalp Ringworm

If you notice that your child has been itching their scalp a lot, usually in one or more specific areas, then this can be a sign that they have scalp ringworm. This fungal condition is treatable when you visit a GP for guidance. As a contagious disease, ringworm that impacts the scalp can create a nasty, red rash to develop. In turn, this causes damage to the skin beneath which is why your child may experience hair loss in this area. If a doctor diagnoses ringworm, then antifungal cream is usually prescribed to treat the affected area. Once the infection has subsided, the hair should regrow as normal.

Traction Alopecia

Ponytails or hair that is worn in a tight style can cause the hair to be pulled out of the follicles on the scalp. This type of hair loss is known as traction alopecia and usually occurs when hair is worn in this way over a prolonged period of time. Hair loss will be more pronounced in areas where the most tension is created. By wearing a looser hairstyle and being careful not to overbrush, the hair should grow back in time. Hair toppers can be worn in the meantime to cover any patches which are balding.


Children who are anxious, or who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder may act by pulling their hair out as a symptom of this psychological condition. Some children will do this purposefully to gain a feeling of release, whilst others may simply twirl their hair nervously which may cause thinning to the scalp. With trichotillomania, it is essential that your child is supported by addressing the underlying cause of the problem. Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy may be useful here.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia is a well-known condition that can affect children and adults alike. It is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles and preventing hair from growing. Alopecia areata usually creates small coin-sized areas of baldness on the scalp, although some children may also lose their lashes and eyebrows too. It is typical for children with this condition to experience flare-ups followed by periods of regrowth and to continue in this stop-start pattern over a prolonged period. Unfortunately, there is not currently a successful cure for alopecia, although there are many ways to manage the symptoms and gain support for the condition.

If you or your child has noticed any bald patches on their scalp or if they appear to be shedding a larger quantity of hair than normal, then get in touch with your GP for a chat. It might be useful to dig out photos when the hair looks fuller to offer as a comparison.