Unusual Hair Problems

Unusual Hair Problems

Unusual Hair Problems – Uncombable / Spun Glass Hair Syndrome? Menkes Kinky Hair Disease? Some hair problems go beyond the common and the ordinary, and have quixotically out of the ordinary names to boot. Move over, candyfloss hair, hair loss and dandruff…

We’ve all heard of (or experienced) alopecia, which is no walk in the park. But let’s take a moment to sit around like tsking grandmothers and consider a myriad of hair problems out that that, until today, we’d most of us never heard of. These unusual hirsute calamities go beyond a bad hair day

The Uncombable Hair Syndrome

Yes, this is a real condition, not an occasional bout of ‘teaslehair’. The uncombable hair syndrome is also known as Spun Glass Hair or Pili trianguli et canaliculi or Cheveux incoiffables. Discovered in 1970, this is a very rare condition that causes the hair to assume certain very strange properties. It’s like Candyfloss hair, but taken to an extreme…

The hair is typically dry, brittle, stiff, and standing up from the scalp. This is most often seen in straw coloureded or very light blonde hair. The condition may be noted as early as 3 months of age or as late as 12 years of age when a mother typically finds that her child’s hair is literally impossible to comb.

The hair shaft itself is irregular and this causes the light to bounce off the surface of the hair, which is probably the descriptive term of spun glass hair. Normally we run our fingers through our hair, and we can arrange and rearrange it the way we choose. However, this is impossible for those with Uncombable Hair Syndrome since the scalp is affected here.

It is thought that the condition could be part of a larger group of abnormalities – called ectodermal dysplasia – that affect the teeth, hair, nails and skin. There could be a genetic element to the disorder since it seems to run in certain families. It is thought that the condition can be controlled with the help of products to moisturize and detangle hair with products containing Biotin or Vitamin H and moisturizers.

Menkes Kinky Hair Disease

It is called steely hair disease, copper transport disease, kinky hair disease or just Menkes disease… and it’s caused by copper deficiency in the body.

The disease is characterized by typical hair characteristics such as sparse hair growth, fuzzy hair or failure of the hair to grow and is first seen during infancy. It also causes neurological deterioration and can also affect the blood vessels, nervous system, bones and skin.


This is not so much a hair disorder as an impulse control disorder. It causes the sufferer to pull out their own hair, which is obviously most distressing for them. It is caused by stress or depression and is more commonly seen in females than males.

This is a problem not confined only to the scalp hair and those with the disorder may pull out hair from their lashes, eyebrows, face, legs, arms and even pubic hair. Sufferers may appear with patchy hair of varying lengths, tapered or blunt ends, and broken hair, which has been pulled out or which has been twisted until it breaks off. Certain situations or environments seem to trigger this sort of behaviour. Typically, sufferers feel isolated, and feel that they are the only ones who may have such a strange compulsion so that incidences of this disorder are often under-reported.

We’re certainly not being flippant about unusual hair problems – if you’ve got one, you’d do anything to be rid of it. But it is quite eye-opening, to discover the assortment of hairy issues out there. Rapunzel doubtless never suffered from one of these. It helps put lesser hair problems in perspective.

Uncombable Spun Glass Hair – but quite a mild case of it, compared with some sufferers out there

Menkes Kinky Hair Disease


Let Mookychick's newsletter Moth flutter to your side...