Select a treatment to
get started

What Is Loose Anagen Syndrome? Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Read on

While male pattern and female pattern hair loss are the most common forms of hair loss in men and women, there are a few other lesser-known causes of hair loss.

One of these lesser-known and less common causes is referred to as loose anagen syndrome. This condition is more commonly seen in very young children, but it can sometimes present in adults as well.

Below, we will cover just what loose anagen syndrome is, the common signs and symptoms of the condition, what the potential root causes are, who is mostly affected by this disorder, and the treatment options.

What is loose anagen syndrome?

Loose anagen syndrome is a rare hair disorder where hairs that are supposed to be in the growth stage are loosely anchored to the follicles. 

This commonly leads to hair that can be easily and painlessly pulled out of the scalp with a fraction of the tension normally required to extract hairs in the anagen (growth) stage.

Even the slight tension from tossing and turning during sleep, or cleaning and styling hair can lead to significantly more hair loss in these individuals.

What are the common signs and symptoms of loose anagen syndrome?

The defining feature of this condition is the loosely anchored hair which can be easily pulled out with no pain. But, there may be other signs and symptoms of this condition as well.

The hair of someone affected by loose anagen syndrome may appear “lusterless”, thin, fine, patchy, or be very slow-growing. The hair at the back of the head may feel sticky or rough, and stick out wildly. The texture and appearance of the hair may be frizzy, unruly, or unmanageable. The look of constant “bed head” may be noted.

Aside from the appearance of the hair, and easy and rapid shedding, there may not be other symptoms outside of these cosmetic concerns. Loose anagen syndrome is not considered a dangerous condition, but it can be distressing to the person or parents of a child dealing with the condition.

Loose anagen syndrome may be associated with other conditions, although definitive connections have not been established. Hereditary or developmental disorders like noonan syndrome, EEC syndrome, coloboma, hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, neurofibromatosis, woolly hair, trichotillomania, trichorhinophalangeal syndrome, or nail-patella syndrome are some potential associations.

How is loose anagen syndrome diagnosed?

A doctor will normally diagnose loose anagen syndrome using a few tests including a hair pull test in order to determine how easily hair is pulled out from the scalp. In people with loose anagen syndrome, a tuft of about 20-50 hairs is tugged on to see how many are pulled out. In people without loose anagen syndrome, the number may be 1-2 hairs. But, in those with loose anagen syndrome, 3-10 or more hairs may come loose from the follicle.

Doctors will also commonly look at images of the pulled-out hairs under a microscope, called a trichogram,  in order to visualize the look of the shaft and bulb. Loose anagen syndrome commonly comes along with a very peculiar and specific look of the bulb at the end of the hair. The end of the bulb may have a bent appearance, sometimes described as a crumpled sock, or a hockey stick. The cuticle may also look overly ruffled or twisted.

These two tests, along with the appearance, density, and texture of the hair, and the patient’s age, gender, and hair color can help a doctor diagnose this syndrome.

Which people are most commonly affected by loose anagen syndrome?

Most people affected by this disorder are young children between the ages of 2-6, although adults can also be affected rarely.

Females are more commonly affected than males, by a large ratio of 6:1. This syndrome also appears to be much more common in those with naturally blonde hair, although other hair colors can sometimes be affected.

How can loose anagen syndrome be treated?

Luckily, most people outgrow loose anagen syndrome, and their hair may become more in line with a normal growth pattern, texture, and density through adolescence. In adults experiencing this issue, the condition may spontaneously resolve.

In severe cases, topical Minoxidil is sometimes used to help speed hair regrowth. There are also mentions of doctors recommending a biotin supplement for loose anagen syndrome, although its benefits for this issue have not been studied.

Common treatments for androgenetic alopecia like Finasteride are not used in loose anagen syndrome, as these target the hormonal cause of androgenetic alopecia, and loose anagen syndrome does not have this same hormone factor.

Strut Health prescription hair loss medications online

Here at Strut, we do not treat loose anagen syndrome. But, we help people who are dealing with androgenetic alopecia (the cause of most hair loss cases), in order to help them slow the genetic and hormonal process and feel more confident about their hair.

We carry oral and topical treatments using ingredients like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, Spironolactone, Tretinoin, and Biotin to help you preserve your hair.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss treatment is a good fit for you, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today in about 10-15 minutes.

If you are a good candidate for one of our topical or oral treatments, your medication will be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

Related posts