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Alopecia (Hair Loss)

Alopecia (Hair Loss) is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Pediatric Consult.

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  • Absence of hair where it normally grows
  • Categorized as acquired or congenital
    • Most cases are acquired: Tinea capitis is most common, followed by traumatic alopecia and alopecia areata.
  • Also categorized as diffuse or localized
    • Most cases of alopecia are localized and, of these, tinea capitis is the most common.
  • Many normal healthy newborns lose their hair in the first few months of life.
    • Hair loss may be exacerbated by friction from bedding/sleep surface, especially in atopic infants.
  • Normally, about 50 to 100 hairs are shed and simultaneously replaced every day.
  • 90% of alopecia cases are due to the following disorders:
    • Tinea capitis
    • Alopecia areata
    • Traction alopecia
    • Telogen effluvium
      • Alopecia is preceded by a psychologically or physically stressful event 6 to 16 weeks prior to the onset of hair loss.
      • Growing hairs convert rapidly to resting hairs.

Risk Factors


  • Alopecia areata
    • Polygenic with variety of triggering factors
    • Family history in 10–42% of cases
    • Males and females equally affected
    • Onset usually before age 30 years
  • Monilethrix (also called beaded hair)
    • A rare autosomal dominant disorder

Commonly Associated Conditions

Trichotillomania is frequently associated with a finger-sucking habit.

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Cabana, Michael D., editor. "Alopecia (Hair Loss)." 5-Minute Pediatric Consult, 8th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Pediatrics Central, peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617357/all/Alopecia__Hair_Loss_.
Alopecia (Hair Loss). In: Cabana MD, ed. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. 8th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617357/all/Alopecia__Hair_Loss_. Accessed April 19, 2019.
Alopecia (Hair Loss). (2019). In Cabana, M. D. (Ed.), 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Available from https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617357/all/Alopecia__Hair_Loss_
Alopecia (Hair Loss) [Internet]. In: Cabana MD, editors. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 19]. Available from: https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617357/all/Alopecia__Hair_Loss_.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Alopecia (Hair Loss) ID - 617357 ED - Cabana,Michael D, BT - 5-Minute Pediatric Consult UR - https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617357/all/Alopecia__Hair_Loss_ PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 8 DB - Pediatrics Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -