We all know that every baby is unique and grows and develops at different rates.
This applies to hair growth as well!
Many babies are born bald as an egg. Some are covered by a layer of fuzz. And other babies may come to this world with a thick mop on their heads.
The majority of babies lose all their hair in the first weeks post-delivery. And they will grow new locks within a year or so. For others, it may take even 3 years to develop their locks!
One thing is for sure – ” a normal” hair growth spans a wide range. And a toddler’s look will almost certainly change by the time they reach adolescence.
Nevertheless, allow me to shed some light on the 7 possible reasons why a 2-year-old’s hair isn’t growing.
Why Is My 2-Year-Old’s Hair Not Growing?
The main reason why 2-year-old’s toddlers’ hair isn’t growing is their genetics, gender, and ethnical background. These 3 factors determine not only the hair colour, thickness, texture, or structure – but also growth rate. Other factors that can influence hair growth in toddlers include hormone changes, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration or improper hair care. Rarely, medical conditions such as ringworm and alopecia areata may delay hair growth.
How Does Hair Grow?
Ok, let’s kick things off by explaining when and how the hair starts growing and the typical hair growth cycle.
So, the whole process of hair growth starts in the womb.
By week 15 of pregnancy, the baby’s head hair follicles start to develop. They will form a pattern that will remain for life. No new follicles will ever be produced.
New hair is continuously generated in the follicles in four phases throughout a lifetime. These phases are active growth (anagen), transition (catagen), resting (telogen), and shedding (exogen).
The anagen phase is the longest one.
A hair strand can actively grow for the duration of the growth phase. Typically for scalp hair, the growth phase lasts between 3 to 7 years. At any time, between 80% to 90% of scalp hair is at this stage.
After that, the follicle enters a period of transition that lasts about 10 days. During that period, hair continues to grow but at a much slower rate.
This is followed by a resting phase, during which the hair formation ceases.
After the period of rest which lasts about 3 months, a new growth phase commences. During this phase, the old hair is shed, and new hair begins to emerge from the same hair follicle.
What Is A Normal Hair Growth For A Baby
By week 30th of pregnancy, the baby may start growing hair with the support of a high level of hormones produced by their mom.
After birth, the baby’s hair is in the resting phase of the growth cycle. But, as the hormone level suddenly plummets, the baby may start shedding hair. This usually occurs between 8 to 12 weeks of age.
Most newborns will shed all of their hair which is a totally expectable response to birth.
By the 6-month mark, the newborn’s baby hair should stop shedding, and new hair begins sprouting. Typically, the growth phase will kick in between 3 to 7 months.
Nevertheless, the precise timing of when a new hair begins to grow depends on the individual.
Anyhow, all we can do is sit tight and wait.
The general rule of thumb is that by the time they turn 2, they should have grown a thicker, more mature set of hair.
But, what if my 2-year-old’s hair isn’t growing?
Well, don’t panic just yet.
Read on to find out the 7 reasons why your toddler hair growth may be delayed.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
7 Reasons For A Delayed Hair Growth In Babies & Toddlers
Hair growth is heavily influenced by DNA and inheritance.
So your and your partner’s genes determine the number and location of individual hair follicles, hair colour, texture, thickness, and how fast the baby’s hair will grow.
Specifically, as I mentioned earlier, hair growth depends on how long the growth phase lasts. Which is dictated by genetics.
In fact, scientists from the University in Sweden identified the gene responsible for hair growth – Lhx2.
This gene regulates the establishment of hair follicles, activation of the hair growth phase, and actual hair growth.
Since babies inherit a myriad of genes from both parents and their ancestors, it is impossible to predict the outcome of this pretty complex genetic interaction.
Did you know that males grow hair at a faster rate than females? This seems counterintuitive, but it’s true!
Although the difference is not drastically high. Males can grow hair just a tiny bit longer, on average 0.75 mm per month. So, it is really hardly noticeable.
The difference is mainly caused by “male” hormones such as testosterone. These hormones naturally occur in higher quantities in males.
Hair growth is regulated by testosterone by affecting follicles, which alters the hair growth cycle.
We all know that the hair colour, thickness, structural composition, density, and texture vary between ethnic groups.
And because of these exact differences, the hair growth rate also varies for each race.
- Asian hair
Asian hair is by far the fastest-growing. At a whopping rate of 1.4-1.6 cm per month! It is also the most dominant hair type worldwide.
- Caucasian Hair
Right behind Asians is the Caucasian race, with a hair growth rate of approximately 1.2 cm a month. This race is also distinguished by the highest hair density.
- African Hair
African hair has the slowest growth rate, at around 0.9 cm a month. Also, African hair starts the ageing process the latest than other races.
Related post ======>Why Are My Baby’s Eyebrows So Light?
4. Hormonal Changes
During pregnancy, babies are exposed to maternal hormones. And the levels of the hormones they are exposed to are high. Which speeds up the process of hair growth.
Now, both mother and baby are going through substantial hormonal changes during labour, necessary for a successful birth. For example, the mother produces large quantities of oxytocin and prolactin, hormones that cause contractions. Also, beta-endorphins are released during intense contraction, which serves as natural pain relief. And right before the final stage of birth – a huge adrenaline rush causes an energy boost to help push the baby out.
Once the baby is born, all these hormone levels suddenly drop. As a result, the baby’s hair enters the resting phase in the growth cycle.
Furthermore, the baby starts producing different hormones that will help develop the vital organs necessary for survival in the outside world. And within the next few months, their tiny bodies will be busy regulating their metabolisms, intense developing of their lungs and producing energy for the vital organs.
In other words, hair growth as a non-essential function is on hold until more energy and resources become available. It might take its time, hence the delay of hair growth.
5. Poor Nutrition
Although this is uncommon in fully weaned babies and toddlers, vitamin and mineral deficiency is still a factor that may impact hair growth.
Not to mention the effect the overall health and development.
Therefore, you should ensure your baby has a healthy, well-balanced diet. A multivitamin supplement may also be beneficial (upon consultation with your child’s doctor).
Specifically, the most essential nutrients include iron, zinc, vitamin A, B, D, E, healthy fats and protein.
So, consider adding the following foods to your toddler’s diet:
- Spinach, corn, peanuts – rich in vitamin E
- Pumpkin, carrots, mangos – rich in vitamin A
- Peas, citrus fruits, turkey and asparagus – that contain folic acid
- Bananas, whole-grain cereals, rice, eggs – produce keratin – a protein that strengthens hair
- Broccoli, strawberries, and dairy products are rich in calcium.
Except for healthy food, make sure your toddler is well hydrated. This means drinking at least 4 glasses of water throughout the day.
The Best IRON-RICH Foods for Babies (and How to Increase Absorption)
6. Inappropriate Hair Care
It is also fundamental to maintain appropriate hair care and regularly groom your little one’s scalp.
Therefore, consider incorporating the following steps in your toddler’s routine:
- Regularly wash your toddler’s hair using shampoo and a hair conditioner. Aim to do it at least twice a week.
- Make sure you use child-appropriate hair products – gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner. That’s especially important for kids with curly hair, prone to breakage.
- Use warm water and a soft towel to lightly dry the hair.
- Remember to regularly brush or massage your toddler’s scalp. This will improve blood circulation to the scalp which stimulates hair growth. For head massage, you can use coconut or almond oil – both rich in vitamin E promoting hair growth.
Also, you should stay clear of any hair clips, tying the hair tightly or using hair styling products. These can damage hair follicles which may contribute to slow hair growth.
7. Medical Issue
Rarely your toddler may develop a medical condition that affects hair growth. The list includes alopecia areata – an autoimmune disease, and ringworm – a fungal skin infection.
I discussed both of these conditions in my post: Is It Normal For A Baby To Lose Hair?
Final Few Line
The bottom line is that in the majority of cases – there is no reason to be overly worried if your toddler’s hair is not growing as fast as you would have hoped so.
It is quite common for kids below the age of 3 to be slow to grow hair. Plus – there are so many factors that can influence the hair growth rate that we have no control over.
The main factors are genetics, race, or gender of your child. Which are the major factors that determine their hair colour, texture, quantity, and growth rate.
Understandably, we are all eager to see our kids with a beautiful long, thick mop on their heads. But we must be patient. This will happen eventually. And most certainly by the time they start school!