Flame Hair

There are some amazing tricks that can be performed with fire. For instance you create the illusion of breathing fire using flammable fuels. You could also make handheld fireballs, my personal favorite, by using a lower temperature flame. But what you don’t want is flame hair.

Flame hair is a term used to describe hair breakage1. Hair breakage is common in hair conditions such as centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a permanent form of hair loss2. Injuries, due to hair pulling, damage and inflammation can cause breakage1,3.When a hair is pulled, a wavy, cone-shaped hair, also called a residue can remain behind3. This uniquely shaped residue is referred to as flame hair due to its match-like characteristics (e.g., thin, short and has a distal tip)1. Flame hair can be commonly found in trichotillomania patients, a hair pulling disorder3. This has been found in a recent study, where hair characteristics (e.g., broken hairs, coiled hairs etc.) were examined in 370 patients with varying hair conditions (e.g., trichotillomania, alopecia areata and tinea capitis) 3. Flame hairs were found in 25% of trichotillomania patients (n=44)3.

Along with trichotillomania, flame hair has also been found in other hair conditions. In an additional study that consisted of 454 patients with 11 different scarring and non-scarring hair loss conditions flame hair was discovered1. Flame hairs were found in all patients who had chemotherapy-induced alopecia (n=6) and radiotherapy-induced alopecia (n=2)1. In traction alopecia (hair loss due to extended force) and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia patients, it was rare to find flame hair (4% and 3%, respectively)1.

Hair breakage might be an early sign of a hair condition (e.g., central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia)4. With breakage difficult to spot, you may need a hairstylist’s assistance to keep track of any new hair breakage developments5. You can also talk to a Sure Hair representative for more information.

Article by: Sarah Versteeg MSc, Mediprobe Research Inc. 

  1. Miteva M, Tosti A. Flame Hair. Skin Appendage Disord. 2015 Sep;1(2):105–9.
  2. Mhaskar S, Kalghatgi B, Chavan M, Rout S, Gode V. Hair breakage index: an alternative tool for damage assessment of human hair. J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Apr;62(2):203–7.
  3. Rakowska A, Slowinska M, Olszewska M, Rudnicka L. New trichoscopy findings in trichotillomania: flame hairs, V-sign, hook hairs, hair powder, tulip hairs. Acta Derm Venereol. 2014 May;94(3):303–6.
  4. Callender VD, Wright DR, Davis EC, Sperling LC. Hair breakage as a presenting sign of early or occult central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia: clinicopathologic findings in 9 patients. Arch Dermatol. 2012 Sep;148(9):1047–52.
  5. Gathers RC, Jankowski M, Eide M, Lim HW. Hair grooming practices and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Apr;60(4):574–8.