From preschools to potty-training, the parents of toddlers have many things to worry about. Quite often, their toddler’s appearance is yet another concern. When babies move into their toddler years and still have the very fine, wispy hair they entered the world with, parents are often worried. Most of the time, these hair issues are normal and will work themselves out, however, occasionally a toddler’s lack of hair is a sign of a larger issue.
Hair Growth Factors
Toddlers’ hair growth, hair color, and texture are all affected by natural hormone levels and family genetics. Hormones are responsible for regulating the timing of the normal growth, resting and shedding phases. Genetics control hair color and texture. Because hormones and genetics play a major role in hair growth, it may be perfectly normal for one toddler to have long, thick hair while a sibling has fine, thin hair.
Common Toddler Hair Problems
Like adults and older children, toddlers can suffer from serious hair and scalp conditions. Two common conditions include traction alopecia and tinea capitis. Traction alopecia is a form of premature hair loss that occurs when tight hair styles, such as ponytails or braids, put excess tension and stress on the scalp and hair follicles. This condition is most common in toddler girls and tends to affect the frontal hair line, edges, and nape areas of the hair. Tinea capitis is a contagious, fungal disease that can affect the hair follicles of a toddler’s scalp. This hair disorder causes sizable, round patches of baldness to appear on the scalp.
Solutions for Toddler Hair Growth
Consult a pediatrician or dermatologist if you believe your child may have a hair or scalp condition. A physician will help you develop a treatment plan for your child’s condition. If your child is healthy and is still having hair growth problems, waiting it out may be the only solution. While you wait, care for the hair they have!
Nightly scalp massages promote stimulation and will encourage nutrient-rich blood flow to the scalp region.
Avoid Baby Shampoo
Baby shampoos are formulated at a high pH so that they are gentle for your toddler’s eyes, but these alkaline shampoos are hard on baby’s fine hair. Try using light, instant conditioners to cleanse and condition your toddler’s hair to help it retain moisture and fight breakage.
Many babies and toddlers have a tell-tale rub spot on the backs of their heads from tossing and turning at night. Prevent nighttime rubbing by having your toddler sleep on a satin pillowcase.
Give it Time
Hormones and genetics leave us very few options for speeding up toddler hair growth. If medical issues have not caused your toddler’s slow growth, waiting is the best option. Give the hair time to grow, and if you haven’t seen progress by age 2, see a pediatrician.
Avoid using "hair growth" products, including natural, plant-based essential oils on toddlers and small children. These products may be irritating to a toddler's delicate skin.