What is the definition of Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Trichorrhexis nodosa is a common hair problem in which thickened or weak points (nodes) along the hair shaft cause your hair to break off easily.

What are the alternative names for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Hair shaft fracture; Brittle hair; Fragile hair; Hair breakage

What are the causes for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Trichorrhexis nodosa can be an inherited condition.

The condition may be triggered by things such as blow-drying, ironing the hair, over-brushing, perming, or excessive chemical use.

In some cases, trichorrhexis nodosa is caused by an underlying disorder, including very rare ones, such as:

  • Thyroid not making enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism)
  • Buildup of ammonia in the body (argininosuccinic aciduria)
  • Iron deficiency
  • Menkes syndrome (Menkes kinky hair syndrome)
  • Group of conditions in which there is abnormal development of the skin, hair, nails, teeth, or sweat glands (ectodermal dysplasia)
  • Trichothiodystrophy (inherited disorder that causes brittle hair, skin problems, and intellectual disability)
  • Biotin deficiency (inherited disorder in which the body is not able to use biotin, a substance needed for hair growth)

What are the symptoms for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Your hair may break easily or it may appear like it is not growing.

In African Americans, looking at the scalp area using a microscope shows that the hair breaks off at the scalp area before it grows long.

In other people, the problem often appears at the end of a hair shaft in the form of split ends, thinning hair, and hair tips that look white.

What are the current treatments for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

If you have a disorder that is causing trichorrhexis nodosa, it will be treated if possible.

Your provider may recommend measures to reduce damage to your hair such as:

  • Gentle brushing with a soft brush instead of aggressive brushing or ratting
  • Avoiding harsh chemicals such as those used in straightening compounds and perms
  • Not using a very hot hair dryer for long periods and not ironing the hair
  • Using a gentle shampoo and a hair conditioner

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Improving grooming techniques and avoiding products that damage hair will help correct the problem.

This condition is not dangerous, but may affect a person's self-esteem.

When should I contact a medical professional for Trichorrhexis Nodosa?

Call your provider if symptoms do not improve with changes in grooming and other home-care measures.

Hair follicle anatomy

REFERENCES

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Diseases of the skin appendages. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 33.

Restrepo R, Calonje E. Diseases of the hair. In: Calonje E, Brenn T, Lazar AJ, Billings SD, eds. McKee's Pathology of the Skin. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 22.

There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.

There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.