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Br J Dermatol. 1985 Oct;113(4):467-73.

Unruly hair.


One of the difficulties dermatologists encounter when attempting to diagnose rare scalp hair abnormalities is knowing where to start. Faced with a patient presenting with 'frizzy' hair it is helpful to have a systematic approach rather than simply 'thumb through the books'. Price (1979) classifies anomalies of the hair shaft in to those associated with increased fragility which consequently give rise to alopecia, and those which are not thus associated. There is a significant group of disorders which present with unruly hair, and these have been described under all manner of titles, including crinkly, woolly, kinky, crimped, frizzly, steely, spunglass, in an attempt to define their clinical appearance. This only serves to confuse the issue as no one word adequately describes many of these abnormalities. I would like to suggest an approach for categorizing and diagnosing unruly hair forms, based on a review of the literature as well as on experience with such cases. This is a modified and extended version of the only previous classification of unruly hair proposed by Lantis and Pepper (1978). I accept that there are some individual cases which are difficult to classify and remain unique.

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