Many babies will experience hair loss during the newborn stage, and while it can be heartbreaking for moms, most recognize that it’s par for the course. However, significant hair loss and breakage during toddlerhood and childhood can be frustrating and deeply troubling for parents because it’s usually indicative of some sort of issue. While there can definitely be underlying medical conditions that cause hair loss in children, more often than not, one of the following five culprits are to blame:
Children are not exempt from traction alopecia. Tight ponytails, braids, and some twisted styles can cause too much tension, resulting in breakage and hair loss in children. Some tell-tale signs include areas where the hair is noticeably shorter than the rest, bald patches, and damaged edges.
To repair hair loss caused by tension, ditch the hair bands and ponytails and opt for looser styles such as single-strand twists and buns. It’s also a good idea to “treat” the affected areas with Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
No protection at night
Friction alopecia can happen to anyone, but infants ages three to six months are especially vulnerable. Depending on the age of your child, scarves and bonnets may be out of the question, but there are other ways to protect hair from friction, such as silk or satin pillowcases and sheets. Additionally, regular cotton pillowcases absorb the hair’s moisture making strands dry and more prone to breakage.
Infrequent washing and conditioning
Washing hair helps to cleanse strands of impurities such as product residue, dead cells, and bacteria. African-American children should only have their hair washed with a sulfate-free shampoo and washes should always be followed up with a moisture-rich conditioner. Since many companies do not offer deep conditioners designed for children, it may be a good idea to introduce adult deep conditioners and/or DIY deep conditioners to a child’s hair care routine.
Lack of moisture
In order for Black hair to thrive, it needs an abundance of moisture. While all hair is different, parents should aim to moisturize their child’s hair with a water-based cream or leave-in at least every three days. A great way to thoroughly moisturize hair is to follow the LCO method, which is to spritz the hair with a liquid, such as water, then apply a cream moisturizer or leave-in, and follow up with an oil that can help to seal the moisture. If you need help remembering, consider setting a reminder in your phone or attaching it to a routine that you already have, such as bath time or bedtime.
Too much manipulation
Any time the hair is manipulated, there’s a chance that breakage will occur. If possible consider installing loose, protective styles that can last at least a few days to reduce styling frequency and reduce breakage. Or simply let your son or daughter’s hair be free. We’re all in the house right now anyway.