Hair symptoms for ectodermal dysplasias vary according to the type. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways hair can be affected.

Scalp Hair

The hair on your scalp can show different symptoms than hair on other parts of your body, such as eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair. In the ectodermal dysplasias, the scalp hair symptoms may include:

  • absent hair
  • sparse
  • fine
  • lightly pigmented
  • abnormal in texture
  • fragile

  • unruly
  • sticking out in all directions
  • difficult to comb
  • hair that’s dry due to absent or poorly developed oil glands

Some defects of the hair are obvious at birth, while others may not be noted until later in life. Hair growth in some types of ectodermal dysplasia is slow, meaning haircuts are not needed as often as in unaffected family members.

After puberty, hair symptoms improve for some individuals. They may see some increase in hair density and thickness, as well as darkening of the hair. But, they usually will not develop a full head of thick hair.

Hair symptoms can vary greatly based on the type of ectodermal dysplasia. For example in some types of ectodermal dysplasia, such as ankyloblepharon-ectodermal dysplasia-cleft lip and/or palate (AEC) syndrome and ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome, the hair may be patchy in distribution and coarse and unruly, rather than thin and fine. In other types, such as hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED), there may be alopecia, or baldness. Early male pattern baldness is especially common in some ectodermal dysplasias.

Body Hair

The eyebrows, eyelashes and other body hair may also be sparse or missing hair. Body hair may thicken and darken at puberty, however, facial hair and hair of the groin and underarms typically develop normally in adolescents with ectodermal dysplasia.

While there are a variety of ectodermal dysplasia disorders affecting hair growth, there are treatment options that you can explore for certain hair symptoms.

To view this information in a PDF format, download our Hair Symptoms Info Sheet.

Download the Info Sheet