Uncombable Hair Syndrome: All You Need To Know About This Condition

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Uncombable Hair Syndrome: All You Need To Know About This Condition

Uncombable hair syndrome, also known as "spun-glass hair syndrome," is a hereditary disorder characterised by hair that cannot be easily flattened with a comb.

Uncombable Hair Syndrome: Everything You Need To Know About This Hair Condition 

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It arises from a genetic mutation that causes the hair to grow in multiple directions instead of following a downward pattern. Individuals with this condition may exhibit hair that is lighter in colour, dry, and frizzy. It's important to note that only the hair on the scalp is affected, while the rest of the body's hair grows normally. Typically, this issue arises in children ranging from three months to 12 years old. Fortunately, this condition typically resolves itself naturally over time.

Who is susceptible to uncombable hair syndrome?

Uncombable hair syndrome can affect people of any age, as it is caused by a genetic mutation. This condition is attributed to various genes, and the way it is inherited depends on the specific gene involved. It can be inherited through both biological parents (autosomal recessive) or from just one parent (autosomal dominant).

The exact prevalence of uncombable hair syndrome is uncertain, as the condition tends to resolve itself as children mature into adulthood.


Uncombable hair syndrome is characterised by various symptoms affecting the hair on a child's scalp, including:

  1. Coarse or rough texture

  2. Frizzy hair that cannot be easily combed or brushed to a smooth or flat state

  3. Light-coloured (hypopigmented) hair, ranging from silver, white, or blonde to light brown

  4. Shiny appearance

  5. Dryness

  6. Untamed growth, with hair growing in multiple directions instead of solely downward

It is important to note that not all people diagnosed with this condition will exhibit all of these symptoms. For instance, someone's hair may naturally be black or brown in tone or colour and still be classified as uncombable hair.


Uncombable hair syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation affecting certain genes, namely PADI3, TGM3, TCHH, or possibly an unidentified gene. These genes play a crucial role in instructing the hair strands to grow in a cylindrical shape, resembling a tin can. This cylindrical shape guides the hair to grow in a specific direction from the hair follicle, much like a vase supporting an upright flower.

When there is a genetic mutation in the PADI3, TGM3, or TCHH gene, it alters the shape and structure of the hair shaft. Instead of the desired cylindrical shape, the hair shaft may assume a triangular, octagonal, or heart shape. These deviations in the shape of the hair shaft determine the direction in which the individual strands will grow.


Uncombable hair syndrome is diagnosed by your healthcare provider through a comprehensive medical history review and a physical examination, during which your provider will gather information about your symptoms. The symptoms associated with this condition are distinctive and typically result in a diagnosis through a visual examination of your child's scalp and hair.

To confirm a diagnosis of uncombable hair syndrome, your healthcare provider may recommend the following tests:

Hair shaft test

A strand of hair will be removed by your provider and examined under a microscope. This examination focuses on the hair shaft, the visible part of the hair that protrudes from your child's skin. An irregular shape observed during this test can indicate the presence of uncombable hair syndrome.

Genetic test

A small sample of your child's blood will be taken by your provider to analyse any potential alterations in their genetic code. The detection of a genetic mutation through this test can lead to a diagnosis of uncombable hair syndrome.

Management and treatment

Uncombable hair syndrome currently lacks any specific treatment options. Dealing with hair that grows in various directions and resists laying flat can be challenging. However, you can adopt certain measures to simplify your child's hair care routine, such as:

  1. Avoiding hair treatments that involve harsh chemicals like perms or dyes, as they may prove ineffective or exacerbate symptoms

  2. Refraining from excessive brushing or combing of your hair

  3. Limiting the use of styling tools like curling irons or blow dryers on your hair

  4. Regularly trimming or cutting your hair


Uncombable hair syndrome is an uncommon genetic condition characterised by the presence of extremely light, dry, and brittle hair that stands upright from the scalp. Typically, this condition becomes noticeable during early childhood, although it may spontaneously resolve by the time a person reaches puberty. Currently, there is no known cure or specific medical intervention available for uncombable hair syndrome. However, the passage of time, practising patience, incorporating biotin supplements into the diet, and adopting gentle hair care practices can offer some assistance in managing the condition.

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