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Hair Easily Plucked Out: Loose Anagen Syndrome

By HERWriter
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Adults agonize over the loss of their hair. Imagine how a child feels if they suddenly start losing their hair but no one is sure why. Loose anagen syndrome is a condition where hair on the head in the growth phase (anagen) is easily pulled or plucked out due to an error in the hair’s growth structure. Children are most often affected. The hair typically remains thin and only grows in length to the nape of the neck.

Who is affected:

Loose anagen syndrome is most often diagnosed in children between the ages of two and five who have blond hair though it has also been found in those with dark hair. The incidence is greater in females than males and has only been reported in Caucasians. Parents often bring their children to see a doctor because they observe that their child’s hair has thinned, doesn’t seem to need haircuts and that the hair appears dull and unmanageable. Clumps of hair may have painlessly come out during rough play or even from the traction of wearing the hair in a ponytail.

What happens?

The inner root sheath normally develops during the anagen phase of a hair’s growth cycle and is believed to be responsible for anchoring the hair to the head. Faulty structural development leads to deformed hair shafts, which do not attach properly and cause the hair to having shorter growth lengths. Children affected with loose anagen syndrome are otherwise healthy without nutritional deficits or other medical problems.

Loose anagen syndrome can be confused for alopecia areata or trichotillomania so examination by a skilled dermatologist is needed. Additionally, other medical conditions such as anemia, thyroid disease or medication caused hair loss needs to be investigated. During an examination, the doctor will pull out a few strands of hair and look at them under a microscope. Hair affected with loose anagen syndrome will have a deformed bulb and lack both an inner and outer root sheath.


There is no medical treatment for loose anagen syndrome though the problem often improves as the child enters their teen years and adulthood. Some helpful measures to reduce hair loss are to treat hair gently during handling or washing and avoid pulling the hair back with rubber bands by using headbands instead. Although the hair loss is not medically a cause for alarm, it is important that parents and children receive reassurance and emotional support.

A forum on bravekids.org has posts from many parents describing their children’s situation with loose anagen syndrome. Some people post ideas that they feel have helped with hair re-growth such as certain shampoos or nutritional supplements or they share how uncomfortable it is when people stare or ask if they have been treated for cancer. Forums such as these provide an opportunity for parents and young people with this uncommon condition to find each other.



Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Add a Comment5 Comments


HI Jenny,

Glad your dermatologist thinks her form is mild.  You should ask him if in his experience does he think your daughter may outgrow it as she becomes older since she has a mild form or at least have it improve.

If your dermatologist does not have other people's names to give you that have children with the same condition then ask him to ask his staff to check with other dermatologists in your area to see if they have other families to give you names to.

I hope the support group is helpful.  I find forums to be great sources of information and support.

I don't know of any special products to use on her hair except using gentle ones and not tieing her hair back.  I don't really know more about LAS then what I wrote about.  The support group may have some good ideas of what has worked well for them. 

take care,


PS.  I just checked and I think that support group I gave you isn't active. I just looked and there is a facebook group on both Short anagen and loose anagen that has over 200 members and looks active.  I can't seem to paste the link but go to facebook and search

Short Anagen & Loose Anagen Syndromes (SAS & LAS) - Hair Disorders and you should find the group. 

February 23, 2012 - 5:12am

Hi Jenny,

What does the dermalogist say about your daughter's hair loss pattern?  Do they have other patients who have loose anagen syndrome you could contact?

I just checked and my link above of a support group is dead. I searched and found another one you might check out. 

February 22, 2012 - 2:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michele Blacksberg RN)

Hello and thanks for your response. Our dermatologist says he thinks that Emma may have a mild form of LAS since she doesn't have bald spots & clumps don't fall out. He actually had to pull really hard on a strand to get it to come out so that he could view it under his microscope to get the diagnosis. He showed us the hook on the end of her hair folicle. Her hair loss pattern just seems to happen on average every 4 months. I think I will call him about other people in our area with LAS. Maybe this would help me to have others to talk to. I am going to check out the support group as well. :) What do you know about LAS? Any products you would recommend?

February 22, 2012 - 7:49pm

Hi Susan, So glad to hear your daughter is doing better. It sounds like kids can outgrow LAS. I hope your daughter continues to do well. Michele

September 29, 2010 - 7:07pm
(reply to Michele Blacksberg RN)

Hello! I have a daughter who was diagnosed with LAS. Any advice would be appreciated as I don't know anybody else who is suffering with this. My beautiful daughter began losing her hair at 20 months old, happened again at 25 months, & we got a diagnosis at 26 months. It happened at 30 months and again at 34 1/2 months. She will be 3 years old next month. At first she lost her hair all over her head and it was extremely short all over. Since her diagnosis, when her hair falls out it seems to mainly happen on the left side and back of her head. There it is very short. Her hair everywhere else is very curly and soft. Just would love somebody to talk to about this.
Jenny Gurnsey

February 22, 2012 - 12:50pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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