[Skip to Navigation]
September 1968

Hot Comb Alopecia

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Arch Dermatol. 1968;98(3):234-238. doi:10.1001/archderm.1968.01610150020003

An irreversible alopecia of the scalp occurs in Negro women who straighten their hair with hot combs. The disease is common and distinctive, clinically and histopathologically. The hair loss is incomplete and strictly limited to the crown. The follicles between the surviving hairs are completely obliterated.

The hot petrolatum used with the iron causes a chronic inflammation around the upper segment of the hair follicle leading to degeneration of the external root sheath. Ultimately, the entire follicle is destroyed and replaced with a band of dense collagen, a follicular scar.

Add or change institution