Why Some Babies Are Born With Hair And Some Without

Date December 28, 2018

Have you ever wondered why there are babies born with lots of hair while others hardly have any at all? In fact, there are so many ways a newborn’s hair can look — and even more ways it can change in the first two years of a child's life — that it is truly fascinating. There is such a wide variety of what’s normal that parents should be prepared for some surprises, but not overly concerned about how much hair their baby has. 

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Why some babies are born with hair

The color, thickness and texture of hair a baby is born with, as well as most of the following changes, are determined by hereditary factors — mainly the parents' genes and ethnicity. Fair-haired couples are most likely to have babies with blonde locks. If one of the partners has thin and curly tresses, while the other one's hair is thick and straight, their children may "inherit" either of these characteristics.

However, it is not uncommon for a newborn to have jet black locks while both parents have fairer hair, or thin, almost nonexistent blonde fluff and dark-haired parents. This is because a newborn’s hair has little resemblance to what it will look like when the child is older. What's even more fascinating, it's quite unpredictable how it might change, and if the changes will stay for the child's first years or well into adulthood.

It is a fact, though, that the hair a baby is born with will be gone within the next six months to begin a new growth cycle. This ‘second’ hair often grows back a different color or a different texture, and it is usually thicker and stronger. Genetic factors in one's family may also ensure that a baby's hair has little resemblance to his or her parents' hair.

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Hair loss and patchy hair resulting from it are normal, but it happens to be another thing parents worry about. As the hair babies are born with enters a resting phase and then falls out, it is completely natural for them to have patchy hair or even no hair at some point. Babies spending most of their time lying on their backs is another reason they may have patchy hair, but it is a rare case when a baby’s loss of hair may be a sign of some health problem.

Experts say that it is not the hair, but the condition of the scalp that matters whenever parents are concerned about baby hair loss or absence. If the scalp looks healthy, without any discharge or reddening of the skin, there is nothing to worry about. If you see a rash, flaking or red spots, it's better to consult a pediatrician about it.

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Along with worrying about too much hair or not enough, parents are concerned about trimming the baby hair and what age is optimal for giving infants their first trim. Lyuba Konopasek, assistant professor of pediatrics at the New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City says:

"In some cultures parents shave a newborn's head; in others it's customary to wait until a child can speak to cut his hair for the first time, so there's no hard and fast rule."

However, doctors recommend that parents go easy on braiding and pigtails, as these may lead to excessive hair loss because baby hair is weaker than adult hair. 

As for the old wives’ tale about heartburn during pregnancy being a sign of a hairy baby, most people consider it a myth, but it appears to be true, according to research. Isn't it funny, though, given the fact that a baby's first hair is soon gone, anyway?

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

Babies Hair