Loose anagen hair syndrome in children of Upper Egypt

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Abstract

Background

Loose anagen hair (LAH) syndrome is a phenomenon in early childhood characterized by the presence of easily pluckable hair, where hair tufts can be pulled out easily and painlessly.

Aims

All reports in the English literature described mainly white patients with blond hair. We present the first report of LAH syndrome in dark-skinned children of Upper Egypt.

Patients and methods

Twenty-eight children with LAH were diagnosed and examined from 1996 to 2007. The main complaints were patchy or diffuse alopecia and/or slow growth of hair. Clinical examination, hair pull test, trichogram, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were performed.

Results

Children with LAH included 21 girls (75%) and seven boys (25%). Light microscopy of hair pull tests and trichograms disclosed a striking predominance of anagen hairs (90–100%) with misshapen hair bulbs and absent inner and outer root sheaths. SEM confirmed the misshapen anagen bulbs with ruffled appearance of cuticle and the longitudinal groove parallel to the long axis of the hair shaft. Most children improved spontaneously within few years, however, hair shed continued.

Conclusion

LAH syndrome occurs in dark-skinned children and could be under-diagnosed. The condition is of cosmetic concern and does not affect the general health.

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