International Journal of Trichology International Journal of Trichology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 211-213  

Circle hairs: Clinical, trichoscopic and histopathologic findings

1 Dermatology Clinic, University of Catania, Italy
2 Department of Specialistic, Diagnostic and Experimental Medicine, Section of Dermatology, Laboratory of Dermatopathology, University of Bologna, Italy

Date of Web Publication11-Apr-2014

Correspondence Address:
Francesco Lacarrubba
Dermatology Clinic, University of Catania, A.O.U. Policlinico - Vittorio Emanuele, Via Santa Sofia 78 - 95123, Catania
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.130415

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Circle hairs (CH) represent a body hair growth disorder characterized by asymptomatic presence of hairs with typical circular or spiraliform arrangement, not associated with follicular or inflammatory abnormalities. Although this condition is rarely reported, it is probably underestimated, as a medical consultation for CH only is rare in practice. Trichoscopic and histopathological findings of CH have never been reported and this article will present and discuss six cases along with literature review.

Keywords: Body hairs, circle hairs, dermatoscopy, trichoscopy

How to cite this article:
Lacarrubba F, Misciali C, Gibilisco R, Micali G. Circle hairs: Clinical, trichoscopic and histopathologic findings. Int J Trichol 2013;5:211-3

How to cite this URL:
Lacarrubba F, Misciali C, Gibilisco R, Micali G. Circle hairs: Clinical, trichoscopic and histopathologic findings. Int J Trichol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Jun 2];5:211-3. Available from: https://www.ijtrichology.com/text.asp?2013/5/4/211/130415

   Introduction Top

Circle hairs (CH) represent a body hair growth disorder characterized by asymptomatic presence of hairs with typical circular or spiraliform arrangement, not associated with follicular or inflammatory abnormalities; [1],[2],[3],[4] they are almost exclusively seen on the trunk and upper legs of male overweight patients, where they are interspersed with normal hairs. Clinical, trichoscopic and histopathologic findings of six cases of CH are presented and discussed along with literature review.

   Cases Report Top

Six Caucasian adult males came to our observation for the evaluation of different cutaneous disorders, as described in [Table 1]. During physical examination, in all patients was noticed the presence of several CH, among normal hairs, especially on the trunk and thighs [Figure 1]a-[Figure 2]a; no signs of inflammation or follicular abnormalities were present. No specific association with other dermatoses and/or systemic diseases has been evidenced in any patient. Trichoscopy at ×150 magnification [Figure 1]b and c, [Figure 2]b and c, [Figure 3]a-c] showed in all cases no shaft abnormality and evidenced that some of these CH were located under a thin skin layer corresponding to outer stratum corneum, whereas others were protruding out of skin; most of CH showed an almost perfect round configuration. After pulling, CH showed a characteristic "question mark" appearance [Figure 3]d. In two patients (Patients 1 and 4) a biopsy was performed and histopathologic evaluation showed that hair follicle density was normal, with intermediate, miniaturized, anagen and catagen hair follicles and no inflammatory perifollicular infiltrate. Moreover, "river-bed", dilated, follicle infundibula, with entrapped hair shafts, were observed [Figure 1]d-[Figure 2]d.
Figure 1: Patient 1: Several dark circle hairs (CH), among normal hairs, on the abdomen (a); trichoscopy at ×150 showing CH protruding from the skin (b) or located under a thin skin layer (c); histopathology showing a "river-bed", dilated, follicle infundibulum, with an entrapped hair shaft (d)

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Figure 2: Patient 4: Clinical (a), trichoscopic (b, c) and histopathologic (d) aspect of circle hairs

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Figure 3: Patients 2 (a), 3 (b), 5 (c): Trichoscopic aspect of circle hairs (CH). Patient 6 (d) Characteristic "question mark" appearance of CH after pulling

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Table 1: Patients with circle hairs: Our experience

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   Discussion Top

After the initial description of 16 cases by Adatto, another seven cases of CH have been clinically, but not histologically, described in the English literature [Table 2]. Although this condition is rarely reported, it is certainly underestimated, as medical consultation for CH is rare in practice. As in our cases, all reported patients with CH were adult males and the most frequent localization was the back.
Table 2: Patients with circle hairs: Cases reported in the literature

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The pathogenesis of CH remains obscure. According to some authors, CH have a small hair diameter that make it difficult to penetrate stratum corneum and, for this reason, the hair grows in a circular tract and in a subcorneal location. [3] Other authors do not agree with this hypothesis, claiming that the follicular ostia are continuously open and hence that the hair does not need to perforate the stratum corneum: Based on this, they maintain that CH are probably a genetically pre-determined disorder. [4] The possibility that CH correspond to vestigia (or remnants) of the mammal undercoat has also been suggested. [4]

Trichoscopy is a non-invasive technique that has been utilized for the evaluation of different hair disorders. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9] In our cases, it showed that CH did not present any shaft abnormality. Moreover, it displayed that some CH were located under a thin skin layer, whereas others were protruding from the skin. A possible explanation for this is that the "rolling" initially takes place below the stratum corneum; then, with epidermis turnover, the hair protrudes from the skin.

The histopathology of CH has not previously been adequately described. In our cases, it showed the presence of a "river bed" dilated follicle infundibulum with entrapped hair shaft. Both hair follicle density and hair diameter resulted normal. We found no evidence of inflammatory infiltrate and no obstruction at the level of the follicular ostia that might have hampered hair growth, confirming that the follicular ostia are open. Whether the dilated infundibulum is the primary cause of CH, or secondary to the subcorneal hair growth, remains to be established and could represent an area of future research.

Differential diagnosis of CH mainly includes "rolled hairs", which are not perfectly circular, but may appear as irregularly coiled within a hyperkeratotic papule and associated with signs of inflammation and, often, with abnormalities of keratinization, such as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis and palmoplantar keratoderma. [4]

   References Top

1.Adatto R. Spiral hair (coiled hair). Dermatologica 1963;127:145-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Levit F, Scott MJ Jr. Circle hairs. J Am Acad Dermatol 1983;8:423-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Smith JB, Hogan DJ. Circle hairs are not rolled hairs. J Am Acad Dermatol 1996;35:634-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Contreras-Ruiz J, Duran-McKinster C, Tamayo-Sanchez L, Orozco-Covarrubias L, Ruiz-Maldonado R. Circle hairs: A clinical curiosity. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2000;14:495-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Micali G, Lacarrubba F. Possible applications of videodermatoscopy beyond pigmented lesions. Int J Dermatol 2003;42:430-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Lacarrubba F, Dall'Oglio F, Rita Nasca M, Micali G. Videodermatoscopy enhances diagnostic capability in some forms of hair loss. Am J Clin Dermatol 2004;5:205-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Miteva M, Tosti A. Hair and scalp dermatoscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol 2012;67:1040-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Rudnicka L, Olszewska M, Rakowska A, Slowinska M. Trichoscopy update 2011. J Dermatol Case Rep 2011;5:82-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Lacarrubba F, Micali G, Tosti A. Absence of vellus hair in the hairline: A videodermatoscopic feature of frontal fibrosing alopecia. Br J Dermatol 2013;169:473-4.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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