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Year : 1992  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 131-132

Plica neuropathica

Correspondence Address:
N K Bansal

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Keywords: Plica neuropathica, Hair matting, Herbal ingredients, Mustard oil

How to cite this article:
Bansal N K, Kuldeep C M. Plica neuropathica. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1992;58:131-2

How to cite this URL:
Bansal N K, Kuldeep C M. Plica neuropathica. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1992 [cited 2020 Sep 18];58:131-2. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Le page in 1884 provided a scientific description of Plica neuropathica to disprove the misconcept of a supernatural phenomenon. [1] The condition actually develops because of rapid manipulation of hair after application of detergent shampoos [2],[3],[4],[5] setting lotions, bleaching and waving solutions. The psychological factors may, [5] or may not preexist. [2] We report a case of hair matting due to a herbal preparation 4n mustard oil, for the first time in Indian literature.

  Case Report Top

A 60-year-old lady with moderate hypertension developed gradually progressive matting of her scalp hair following massage of a herbal preparation containing naphthol, garlic, amaranth, canabis (bhang) and opium in the mustard oil. The same preparation was primarily intended for her joint pain. She had never used bleaches, dyes, setting lotions or shampoos for her hair.

On physical examination, the hair were gray, dry, kinky, irregularly twisted and irreversibly entangled, producing a compact mass. The proximal 5-7 cms and distal ends of hair shafts were not involved in the weave. There was no evidence of infection or infestation in scalp or scalp hair. Her systemic examination didn't reveal any other abnormality except moderate hypertension.

A 15 percent KOH preparation of scalp hair was negative for dermatophytosis and her blood chemistry was also found to be normal.

  Comments Top

There are various agents, like detergent shampoos [2],[3],[4],[5], bleaching and waving solutions etc., which can produce hair matting. The main ingredients of medicated shampoos are cationic or anionic detergents like, cetrimide and sodium lauryl sulphate, tar, hexachlorophene, selenium sulphide, wax and pitch etc. The curling, looping, intertwisting and matting of hair occurs due to felting process as a result of friction in a liquid medium. The scales and the electromagnetic force developed during rapid rubbing of hair may also be pathogenic factors.

There may be psychological or psychosomatic disturbances like, hysteria, anxiety, depression, delusions, hallucinations, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus etc., acting as predisposing factors. Interestingly, many people apply mustard oil in scalp hair but none of them have developed hair matting so far, indicates some role of herbal ingredients like, garlic etc. in our case.

To conclude, the herbal ingredients in mustard oil and some anxiety element associated with hypertension ultimately produced a compact mass of hair in present case.

  References Top

1.Le page JE. On neuropathic plica. Br Med J April 1884; 1 : 160, quoted from Khare AK. plica neuropathica. Ind J Dermatol Venere.ol Leprol 1985: 51 : 178-9.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Mani MZ, Sahinin PS. Matting of hair due to 'Halo egg' Shampoo. Ind J Dermatol Venerol Leprol. 1983; 49 : 138-40.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Sharma P K, Saxena A K, Jain P K, et al. Matting of the hair due to cationic detergent. Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 1987; 53 179-80.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Hajini GH, Ahmad OM, Ahmad M. Plica neuropathica. Ind J Dermatol Vernereol Leprol 1982; 48: 221-2.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Simpson M H, Mullins J F. Plica neuropathica. Arch Dermatol, 1989; 100: 457-58.  Back to cited text no. 5    


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