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Definition Return to top
Trichorrhexis nodosa is a problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily.
Causes Return to top
Your genes may play a role in whether or not you develop trichorrhexis nodosa.
Certain things you do to your hair -- such as blow-drying, over-brushing, perming, or excessive chemical use -- appear to trigger the condition.
In some cases, trichorrhexis nodosa may be caused be an underlying disorder such as hypothyroidism, argininosuccinicaciduria, Menkes' kinky hair syndrome, Netherton syndrome, or or trichothiodystrophy.
Symptoms Return to top
Your hair may appear patchy or like it's not growing.
In African-Americans, looking at the scalp area using a microscope shows that the hair breaks off at the scalp area before it grows long.
In Caucasians, the problem often appears at the end of a hair shaft in the form of split ends, thinning hair, and hair tips that look white.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Examination of the hair shafts with a microscope may reveal changes of trichorrhexis nodosa.
Treatment Return to top
Improving environmental factors will reduce damage to the hair.
Your doctor may recommend gentle brushing with a soft brush instead of aggressive brushing, ratting, or other procedures.
Avoid harsh chemicals such as those used in straightening compounds and permanents. Do not use a very hot hairdryer for long periods of time. The hair should not be ironed. Avoid excessively harsh shampoos, but always use hair conditioners.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Improving grooming techniques and avoiding products that damage hair will help correct the problem.
This condition is not dangerous but may it affect a person's self esteem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your doctor if symptoms do not approve with changes in grooming and other home care measures.
Prevention Return to top
Avoid aggressive brushing and grooming, strong chemicals, permanents, straightening, and similar hair-damaging habits.Update Date: 4/16/2007 Updated by: Michael S. Lehrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.