Hypotrichosis Simplex

What is Hypotrichosis Simplex?

Hypotrichosis simplex comes in two forms the generalized form and the scalp-only form also called hereditary hypotrichosis simplex of the scalp or HHS. This disorder leads people to develop a premature and permanent baldness and is caused by a rare genetic quirk.

Both men and women can get hypotrichosis simplex. With the generalized form, patients lose all of their body hair. With HHS, hair loss is limited to just the scalp. There is no other physical defect to the hair, scalp or body other than a defect in a gene called APCCD1 that tells the body to lose the hair. Hair loss starts by the time the patient is 10 and usually complete baldness hits about age 25.

What are the Symptoms of Hypotrichosis Simplex?

The most common symptom of hypotrichosis simplex is sudden loss of hair at a very young age. Hair starts thinning all over the scalp. It falls out easily during regular washing, brushing or combing. During the thinning process, the hair may change texture and become progressively paler as all color leaves it. Some patients also experience thinning eyelashes and eventual loss of eyelashes.

Hair loss can happen for many serious reasons such as internal organ failure, malnutrition and bad reactions to medications. Do not ignore hair loss and see a doctor to find out why the hair is disappearing or falling out.

Hypotrichosis Simplex Causes

Hypotrichosis simplex is a particularly rare variety of hereditary hair loss proceeded by no specific abnormalities. People who actually contract this disorder are affected by genetic causal markers. The cause of the initiation of symptoms is widely unknown but often discovered during early childhood and progresses with age. Hypotrichosis simplex may be inherited as either an autosomal recessive or autosomal dominant trait. Also, on occasion, these mutations are caused by the APCDD1 gene located on chromosome 18p11.

Depending on the nature of the genetic cause Hypotrichosis simplex is divided into two varieties: the generalized form and the scalp-limited form, as they are characterized based on the areas of the body they affect. Doctors look for the genetic cause during diagnosis as the progressive thinning of a person’s hair shaft associated with Hypotrichosis simplex is also a similar feature of disorders like androgenetic alopecia. People who have not received screening for Hypotrichosis simplex often pin their thinning hair and patches of hair loss on other causes due to the rare number of cases.

How is Hypotrichosis Simplex Treated?

There is no cure for hypotrichosis simplex. There is no treatment for it, either. Sadly, once the hair is gone, it is gone for good and will not grow back. Patients with hypotrichosis simplex that want hair need to wear a hair replacement such as a toupee or wig or undergo a hair transplant or hair grafting procedure. Even these procedures are not guaranteed to be successful.

Losing hair at such a young age can cause depression. This can be treated with therapy and medication. Joining an online or in-person support group helps let the patient know that he or she is not alone.

Hypotrichosis Simplex Prevention

Currently, there is no proven form of prevention or treatment for hypotrichosis simplex, as it is linked closely to genetics and the fact that now much is known about the molecular nature of hair growth and loss. The best way forward so far in terms of developing prevention methods lies in research into the genetic conditions of people who have isolated alopecia. They theorize that a prevention method might be tied to the fact that Hypotrichosis simplex has little involvement with body hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

By pairing this information with data on molecular, genetic and cellular pathways they are developing new screening methods and ways of shutting down the disorder. Because hypotrichosis simplex is typically inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern a parent can carry the mutations for the disease and unless they have a child with someone carrying the gene their off spring won’t develop the disorder and remain simply carriers making screening essential.

Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
January 15, 2018
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