Genetic Hair Disorders: A Review

Azhar Ahmed, Hind Almohanna, Jacob Griggs, Antonella Tosti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hair loss in early childhood represents a broad differential diagnosis which can be a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge for a physician. It is important to consider the diagnosis of a genetic hair disorder. Genetic hair disorders are a large group of inherited disorders, many of which are rare. Genetic hair abnormalities in children can be an isolated phenomenon or part of genetic syndromes. Hair changes may be a significant finding or even the initial presentation of a syndrome giving a clue to the diagnosis, such as Netherton syndrome and trichothiodystrophy. Detailed history including family history and physical examination of hair and other ectodermal structures such as nails, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands with the use of dermoscopic devices and biopsy all provide important clues to establish the correct diagnosis. Understanding the pathophysiology of genetic hair defects will allow for better comprehension of their treatment and prognosis. For example, in patients with an isolated hair defect, the main problem is aesthetic. In contrast, when the hair defect is associated with a syndrome, the prognosis will depend mainly on the associated condition. Treatment of many genetic hair disorders is focused on treating the primary cause and minimizing trauma to the hair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-448
Number of pages28
JournalDermatology and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Alopecia
  • Children
  • Ectodermal dysplasias
  • Genetic hair disorders
  • Hair loss
  • Hair shaft disorders
  • Hypotrichosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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