What are the Causes? — Donovan Hair Clinic

Baby Hairs (short hairs): Why do they occur?

Baby hairs create a lot more confusion than most baby topics. Many people feel baby hairs are good but the reality is sometimes they are good, sometimes they are neither good not bad (and just plain normal) and sometimes they are a sign of something wrong with the hair growth mechanisms.

I’m frequently asked by patients and physicians how to determine the identify of a short 1 cm or so hair that is seen on the scalp. Looking at the scalp with dermoscopy, one often wanst to know “Is this a vellus hair I’m seeing or is it an upright regrowing hair as part of a telogen effluvium? … or is it simply a normal regrowing hair or something else?

The answer does not necessarily come immediately but rather it comes by asking oneself 6 questions:

1) Is the hair reasonably thick (i.e. 40-50 um or more) or is it very thin (less than 30 um)?

2) Are the ends pointy or blunt?

3) Are these short hairs found all over the scalp or just one area?

4) Are there just a few of these short hairs or lots and lots of them?

5) Is the baby hair twisting, curving or growing straight up?

6) Is the baby hair surrounded by redness, scale or pus?


By working through these 6 questions, I can generally determine the cause of the short hair I’m seeing on the scalp. 

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