What is hypotrichosis?Hypotrichosis is the presence of less than the normal amount of hair on the head, eyelashes or body. Hypotrichosis disorders are a broad spectrum of hair loss conditions.
In alopecia, the hair which is already present on the scalp or body is lost partially or wholly. However hypotrichosis is a state of hair loss right from the birth. The normal terminal hair may get replaced by soft, short and unpigmented vellus hair. Most of the congenital depilations are caused by defective embryonic growth or genetic aberrations. There is no known standard treatment for these hypotrichosis hair loss conditions.
These hypotrichosis disorders coexist with many other physical or mental problems. Disorders like Graham-Little syndrome, Hallermann–Streiff syndrome, Ofuji syndrome, congenital aplasia, alopecia triangularis, papular atrichia, metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, EEM Syndrome and cartilage-hair hypoplasia, manifest with the symptoms of hypotrichosis. There are hundreds of genetic congenital depilation disorders.
Hypotrichosis causesThe basic causes of these types of congenital hair loss are defective embryonic growth and genetic aberrations. There are hundreds of genetic hypotrichosis disorders.
Congenital and hereditary hypotrichosisThere are many hereditary and congenital forms of hypotrichosis. We may consider a few of them to understand the complex diversity of these genetic disorders.
Hereditary hypotrichosis simplex (HHS) affected patients have normal hair at birth, but with progress of age hair is diffusely thinned. There is progressive hair follicle miniaturization. This congenital disorder is inherited either as an autosomal recessive trait or as an autosomal dominant trait. There is thinning of body hair, axillary hair, and pubic hair. The hair shafts of the eyebrows, eyelashes and male beard are found to be normal.
Localized autosomal recessive hypotrichosis affects both the scalp and body hair. In this congenital disorder, hairs get sparse, become fragile and break easily. Though scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes may be affected, beard, pubic and axillary hairs are generally spared. The patients may suffer from follicular papules, erythema and pruritus.
Marie Unna type of hypotrichosis (hereditary trichodysplasia) is characterized by the presence of a twisting hair dystrophy. This congenital hereditary disorder was reported by Marie Unna. Hairs of the scalp, body, eyebrows and eyelashes are involved and the disorder can progress into irreversible universal alopecia.
Eyelash hypotrichosisIn this disorder, there is inadequate or absence of eyelash. Loss of eyelash is not merely a cosmetic and aesthetic issue like most of us think, but is a medical condition.
Congenital hypotrichosis treatmentThere is no standard treatment available for these types of congenital hair loss. Hair loss of the eyelashes has been successfully treated with ophthalmic prostaglandin and prostamide analogs.
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1.Simon K Law. Bimatoprost in the treatment of eyelash hypotrichosis. Clin Ophthalmol. 2010; 4: 349–358.
Current topic on natural skin care: Hypotrichosis (congenital - eyelash) and treatment.