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Year : 1998  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-88

Familial woolly hair

Department of Skin and V.D Bhapunagar, General Hospital (ESIS), Ahmedabad-380024, India

Correspondence Address:
Samir Shah
T/3 Dharnidhar Flat, Lad Society Road, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad-380015
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20921725

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How to cite this article:
Dave J N, Shah S, Vora N S, Goel R, Bhagat S. Familial woolly hair. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1998;64:87-8

How to cite this URL:
Dave J N, Shah S, Vora N S, Goel R, Bhagat S. Familial woolly hair. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1998 [cited 2020 Oct 28];64:87-8. Available from:

Familial woolly hair is one of the five variants of the clinical condition collectively called woolly hair syndrome. The other four being hereditary woolly hair, symmetric circumscribed allotrichia, acquired progressive kinking of hair and woolly hair naevus. Familial woolly hair is charcterised by the presence of tightly coiled hair over a part of or entire scalp in non negroid races.[1-2] There is marked reduction in the diameter of hair shaft. It could be poorly pigmented and of increased fragility.

  Case Report Top

A 22-year-old Muslim woman and her 12-year-old brother presented with loss of hair from different parts of the scalp. All the hairs over the scalp were found tightly coiled, thin, dry, brittle, poorly pigmented, lustreless and sparse [Figure - 1]. These changes were present since in-fancy and scalp did not show any other abnormality. There was no history of photosensitivity or any major illness. Margins of patches of alopecia were irregular but well defined. Eyebrows, axillary and pubic hairs were very sparse in both the patients. Nails, teeth and genitals were normal. There were no skeletal or ocular abnormalities. The woman gave history of normal menstrual cycle and the boy had low IQ. The parents and the other three siblings were unaffected. There was history of consanguinity in parents.

Routine laboratory tests on blood and urine were normal.

Low power microscopic examination showed neither any beads nor any twisting in the course of the shaft.

  Discussion Top

There could be many conditions with abnormalities of hair shaft. Most of them present to us only because of cosmetic problems like excessive fragility, loss of hair kinking or difficulty in combing. Woolly hair is one of them. Familial woolly hair is probably inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.[2] In our case there was history of consanguinity in the parents but parents and the rest of the siblings were unaffected. This is reported because of the rarity of the condition in non negroid races.

  References Top

1.Dawber RPR, Ebling FJG. Wojnarowska FT. Disorders of hair, Champion RH, Burton JL, Ebling FJG eds. in: Textbook of Dermatology, Blackwell Scientific Publications, London 1993;2607-2621.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Bertolino AP, Freedberg IM. Hair Fitzpatrick TB, Eisen AZ eds. in: Dermatology in General Medicine, London, McGraw Hill Inc 1993:671-676.  Back to cited text no. 2    


[Figure - 1]


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