More Details on Alopecia Areata in Children
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are similar to a hormone called cortisol that is produced in the body. Ointments or creams containing steroids that are rubbed directly onto the affected area are usually the preferred treatment for children. However, corticosteroid ointments and creams alone are less effective than injections and they work best when combined with other topical treatments, such as minoxidil.
Topical minoxidil (Rogaine®) solution promotes hair growth. Minoxidil is FDA-approved for treating male and female pattern hair loss and it may be useful in promoting hair growth in children with alopecia areata. The solution, applied twice daily, has been shown to promote hair growth in both adults and children, and may be used on the scalp and brow areas. With regular and proper use of the solution, new hair growth appears in about 12 weeks.
The Prognosis of Alopecia Areata in Children
The course of alopecia areata in children is highly unpredictable, and the uncertainty of what will happen next is probably the most difficult and frustrating aspect of the disease. Your child may continue to lose hair, or the hair loss may stop. The hair your child has lost may or may not grow back, and your child may or may not continue to develop new bare patches.
(Click Alopecia Areata Prognosis for more information.)
The Impact of Alopecia Areata in ChildrenChildren, teens, and young adults with alopecia areata often ask, "How is alopecia areata going to affect my life?" The comforting news is that alopecia areata:
- Is not a painful disease
- Does not make people feel sick, physically
- Is not contagious, children who have the disease are generally healthy otherwise
- Does not reduce life expectancy
- Should not interfere with the ability to achieve such life goals as going to school, working, marrying, raising a family, playing sports, and exercising.
However, the emotional aspects of living with hair loss can be challenging. Many people cope by:
- Learning as much as they can about alopecia areata
- Speaking with others who are facing the same problem
- Seeking counseling to help build a positive self-image.
In order to minimize the appearance of hair loss, children with alopecia areata may prefer to wear bandanas or caps to cover their heads.