ZocdocAnswersDoes combing one's hair too often cause hair loss?

Question

Does combing one's hair too often cause hair loss?

My son is a teenager and he is obsessively combing his hair. The other day I saw him under bright light and it looked like his hair was starting to thin along the hairline, right where he parts and combs it. Could the combing be causing hair loss? Should I tell him to stop?

Answer

The quick answer to your question is yes, over combing your hair, if done enough, and pull some of that hair out. Bald spots in kids can happen, if this action is repeated enough. Luckily, the hair usually grows back if the action is stopped. Whether this is a problem or not this depends on how much combing he is doing, and why he is doing it. If your son says that he does not know why he does it, or is unable to stop, then I think he needs further evaluation. I would suggest that you schedule an appointment for you son to see his pediatrician. First a detailed history of how much combing he is doing must be documented and it must be asked why he feels the need to do it. If he says he doesn't know why he's doing it, or if your doctor determines that the action is involuntary, then a further work up is needed. If he is on one of the stimulants for ADHD, then thought must be given to the remaining risks and benefits of the medicine (because it can cause these types of repetitive movements). If he is not on one of these medicines, then he may warrant referral to a child psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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