Hair Shaft Defects

Hair shaft defects are types of hair loss. In some case of physical damage to the hair shaft/hair fiber, hair loss can occur.

Caucasian young man controls hair loss

The abnormalities of the hair shaft are often hereditary. And yet, there are cases when the hair shaft is weak due to poor hair care, environmental conditions, and excessive styling.

Hair loss due to hair shaft defects are rather rare.

Some Types of Hair Shaft Defects

Traction Alopecia and Trichotillomania

Traction Alopecia is a condition that occurs due to pulling/traction. Tight pony tails, tight braiding, other tight hair styles, and cornrow hair styles can cause Traction Alopecia.

In Trichotillomania, the hair loss occurs due to the same reason as in Traction Alopecia – pulling. And yet, Trichotillomania is a condition where the individual purposefully plucks out their own hair. It is often seen as a psychological problem but this is under debate. It is a habit in other views.

In Trichophagia an individual eats the hair that they plucked out. Because hair cannot be digested by the stomach, the hair in the stomach can build up into a hair ball.

Those who have Trichotillomania or Trichophagia may require psychological treatment because often times they are not aware of their condition or do not know how to stop it.

Loose Anagen Syndrome

Loose Anagen Syndrome was described in 1984. It is a hair disorder. The growing hair (hair in the anagen phase) can be easily pulled or plucked out of the hair follicle in Loose Anagen Syndrome.

The hair does not grow or need a cut. Loose Anagen Syndrome is more common in girls. The hair thins, and is sometimes misdiagnosed as Trichotillomania or Alopecia Areata. It is less seen in boys.

The exact reason of Loose Anagen Syndrome is not known. It can be hereditary. More research has to be done on the condition. There is no effective cure or treatment for Loose Anagen Syndrome.


Monilethrix is a hair condition. The hair fibers look like beads in Monilethrix. As the hair beadens, the hair starts falling.

Monilethrix does not occur only on the scalp but also on the other hair-bearing parts of the body.

Monile means necklace (hence the beads) in Latin, and thrix means hair in Greek. The disease runs in the families. Each case is different in severity. Monilethrix often occurs in children and improves in time but in some cases, people have Monilethrix throughout their lives.

In some cases, nail deformities may be present too. Monilethrix is sometimes misdiagnosed as Alopecia Totalis. There is no cure for Monilethrix. In some cases, Minoxidil can help improve the condition of the hair.

Overprocessing, cuticle stripping, and bubble hair

Most of us care about our hair, and how it impacts our appearance. There is an increase in the use of different hair products and styling techniques. Everybody wants perfect hair.

We sometimes damage our hair while we are trying to apply hair care.

Overprocessing is a very common cause of hair shaft damage. There are many styling options out there such as dyeing hair, bleaching, straightening, straightening, perming. These involve the use of heavy chemicals, and they damage the integrity of the hair shaft.

If you use these methods often, or incorrectly, your hair shaft will be damaged. Sometimes the damage is excessive, and irreversible.

Hair care products and shampoos with chemicals, air pollution, water pollution, sun exposure, excessive combing, and brushing all damage the hair fiber.

If your hair is damaged, and looks dull and weak because of over processing, it is best to cut off the damaged hair. Any other treatments are only temporary, and not entirely effective. Nothing is as good as the natural and strong hair.

Bubble hair is a hair condition where the water bubbles inside your hair are induced by hair dryers/hair blows or hair curling irons. Sometimes when we wash our hair, water gets trapped inside the hair. Using excessive hear to blow dry the hair or style it causes damage on the hair strands. Bubble hair makes the hair strands weaker, and they break off.

It is best to use less heat to prevent bubble hair. The cuticle of the hair is very essential, and it is best to keep it healthy.

Trichorrhexis Nodosa

Trichorrhexis Nodosa or Trichonodosis is a hair shaft defect. It is a common hair shaft defect which effects the hair fiber. The cause can be hereditary. There might also be an underlying cause. The condition is often acquired.

When the doctors observe an affected hair shaft under the microscope, the hair shaft will look normal. The fiber will appear swelling. The hair tips may look white. Some other symptoms are split ends, easily breaking, and thinning hair.

Your doctor may request blood tests to identify any potential underlying causes such as thyroid disease and anemia.

Some excessive hair styling choices, overbrushing, excessive dying, excessive washing, perming, using hot combs, and similar activities that put stress on the hair can cause Trichorrhexis Nodosa.

Treatment of Trichorrhexis Nodosa is available. If there is an underlying cause such as anemia, your doctors will first treat it. If you are genetically prone to it, your doctors will try to ensure that your hair fiber is stronger.

If your Trichorrhexis Nodosa occurred due to excessive hair styling, you can avoid any excessive styling, brushing, coloring, and use mild products for your hair.

To avoid any damage on your hair, use products that suit your hair type, limit styling methods and procedures, and learn more about hair, and how to care for it.


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