Rare Types of Childhood Hair Loss

Rare Forms of Childhood Hair Loss

Congenital Atrichia

With congenital atrichia a child could be born with apparently normal hair; but once it enters the first resting period the hair falls out, and the entire growth process shuts down. In order for hair to grow, certain cells must stay in close contact with each other to transmit and receive signals necessary to keep the hair growth cycle functioning. With this condition the cellular communication gets disconnected, deactivating the hair growth cycle.

Loose Anagen Syndrome

This type of hair loss is most typical in small children with sparse fine hair that can easily be pulled out. It mostly affects girls with light hair. The hair usually does not grow past the nape of the neck. Under a microscope the hairs appear to lack an inner and outer root sheath and have a ruffled cuticle.

Triangular Alopecia

This is a pattern of hair loss that occurs in the temporal area on one or both sides and is usually in a triangular shape. The absence of hair in this area is present at birth or just after. It is permanent and irreversible but is not progressive. The shape and size of the bald area remains the same throughout lifetime.

Pili Torti

This condition can be congenital or acquired. It is most common in girls who have thin blonde hair. There is a rigid twisting of the hair fibers which leads to fractures in the cuticle and internal cortex layer of the hair shaft. The hair is dry and brittle and may stand out from the scalp. It breaks off at varying lengths.


This is a rare condition that begins in infancy. Although the infant is born with what appears to be normal vellus hair, it is soon replaced with dry, brittle hair that has a beaded appearance. The hair often breaks off even with the scalp and seldom grows longer than 2.5 cm.

Uncombable Hair Syndrome

Children with this syndrome usually have silvery blonde glass-like hair that is unruly and won't lie flat. It is difficult or impossible to comb. Because of its appearance it is also called "spun-glass hair." The hair stands away from the scalp in a disorderly fashion. Microscopic evaluation reveals a triangular (or kidney bean) shaped hair shaft with longitudinal grooving. Spontaneous improvement is often seen in later in adolescence.

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