Seeing persons with no hair is common because many choose to “shave and wax” for
style. But seeing a child who hasn’t grown hair since birth is something different.
That person has what dermatologists call congenital hypotrichosis.
Described as a condition where an individual lacks growth of hair, this has usually
affected persons from birth to old age. Also associated with it are conditions like
• Ofuji syndrome
• Jeanselme and Rime hypotrichosis
• Graham-Little syndrome
• Marie Unna hypotrichosis
• Metaphyseal chondrodysplasia and cartilage-hair hypoplasia
• Other physical or mental problems
Most of the cases which involve hypotrichosis are caused by genetic abnormalities
during embryonic growth.
Though a lot of forms of hypotrichosis has been discovered and studied by geneticists
and biochemists, treatment is very difficult. Most of the forms have no known treatment
Understanding some forms of this condition is important in dealing with it.
The common cases are the following:
This is one of the embryonic defects where the skin does not fully develop. It would
be only noticed when the baby is born and an open wound is found on the back of the
head. This opening is usually near the center of hair growth or whorl pattern.
This condition is also called cutis aplasia or simply congenital absence of skin.
It may be serious if not given proper attention. If the opening is big, an operation
to close the skin should be done immediately to avoid hemorrhage or infection. But
if the opening is small, it can be left to scar on its own.
Usually present at birth, this condition shows itself as a patch of hair loss near
the temple area. It may take years before this is noticed. Commonly in triangular
shape, it is seen in some cases as oval-shaped. The hair loss doesn’t progress so
individuals shouldn’t worry about going totally bald. Like congenital aplasia, the
affected area can be removed through surgery. Other individuals with this condition
can opt for hair implants to help improve their looks.
This is another form of hair loss pattern which has tracings from genetic disorders.
In some cases, this condition falls under hypotrichosis for they really don’t grow
hair at all. There are also instances where a person who has congenital atrichia
is born with hair that grows and develops but when the early childhood age is reached,
the hair continuously falls off and never grows back.
Though others confuse it with alopecia universalis, this condition is caused by only
one gene defect. According to some researchers, persons with this condition go bald
because two groups of cell which are responsible for hair development could not interact
with each other.
In detail of the normal process, the modified keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells
send each other biochemical signals. The reaction of these two groups of cells helps
hair grow. But when an individual has congenital atricia, the modified keratinocytes
retracts while the dermal papilla cells don’t. Since the dermal papilla cells stays
deep in the skin, it cannot send biochemical signals to the keratinocytes so no hair
grows. This condition is has no known treatment.
Today, more studies are being done to further understand hypotrichosis and other
hair related problems. Hopefully, these researches can help explain hair problems
and control hair loss if treatment is impossible.