Coiled hair shafts in keratosis pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a common complaint in adolescent girls. KP may not be a single entity as different morphological types are described. The most common variant of KP presents as reddish bumps on the back and outer aspects of the arm. It aggravates after waxing and I have personally noticed good improvement after laser hair removal. Till now it was considered a disorder of keratinisation.

keratosis_pilaris (Photo credit: ladypictureshow)

Dermatologists from Seth GS Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, have proposed an interesting new pathogenic mechanism for this common condition.[1] They have observed coiled hair shaft inside KP on dermoscopy that retained the coiled nature even after extraction. There was no obvious keratin plug. That explains the improvement following laser hair removal. Coiled hair may also make hair removal procedures more traumatic making the perifollicular inflammation more prominent.

Would hair softeners be of any help? Checkout curlynikki’s take on natural hair softners:

Here is an interesting article that describes the use of topical melatonin in androgenetic alopecia.[2] Out of curiosity I checked the wikipedia page on melatonin. Readers may be interested to know that melatonin supplementation causes vivid dreaming! Any perceived connection is likely to be just a coincidence.  ðŸ™‚


1. Keratosis Pilaris Revisited: Is It More Than Just a Follicular Keratosis?. 2013. 3 May. 2013 <;year=2012;volume=4;issue=4;spage=255;epage=258;aulast=Thomas> (Full article available from journal website free)

2. Fischer, TW et al. “Topical Melatonin for Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia.” International Journal of Trichology 4.4 (2012): 236.

Bell Eapen
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About Bell Eapen 247 Articles
Techie Dermatologist, Information Systems PhD, Supporter of Open-Source Software, Machine Learning and AI geek, loves cricket, Canadian wine and beer. [Resume]

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