Musee du Nuage director Lana Kao said that dermatologists often ask about a patient’s work, love and home life to help them make a diagnosis
By Kayleigh Madjar / Staff writer
Children can experience hair loss when under acute stress, a dermatologist said on Thursday last week.
Musee du Nuage director Lana Kao (高珮菡) made the comment on Facebook, sharing an example to illustrate the effect stress can have on young children.
A young girl was brought into her dermatology clinic with hair loss, with clumps falling out by the handful, Kao said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
There was not any redness, flaking or other skin condition on the girl’s scalp, nor any hair breakage or thinning, Kao said.
However, there were white club-shaped roots on her hair follicles, typical of the resting stage of hair growth called telogen, she said.
Each hair typically grows for a few years, then rests for a few months before shedding, she said.
About 50 to 100 hairs are typically shed every day, but in times of acute stress, more enter telogen, in a process called telogen effluvium, then shed, she said.
Telogen effluvium is common shortly after childbirth and can also be brought on by high fever, autoimmune disease, cancer treatment, surgery, anemia or rapid weight loss, she said.
Kao said that the girl’s family had recently moved to Taiwan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As stress plays a significant role in health, dermatologists often ask about a patient’s work, love and home life for the previous six months to help with diagnosis, Kao said, adding that many people who report hair loss are caring for a sick loved one.
Most people with stress-related hair loss recover within a year and medication, such as minoxidil, can help recovery, she said.
Other causes of hair loss include pulling, which is more common in children, and natural balding, Kao said, advising people to seek treatment if they discover they are losing more hair than usual.
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