Dandruff-associated smouldering alopecia: a chronobiological assessment over 5 years

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2006 Jan;31(1):23-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2005.02026.x.


Background: In some individuals, dandruff may be recurrent and even chronic. This represents a difficult-to-treat condition. Excessive hair shedding and diffuse alopecia may develop.

Objectives: To evaluate the chronobiological aspects of dandruff, hair shedding and alopecia.

Methods: This study was performed in eight men suffering from such a scalp condition. They were examined 40 times at regular intervals for five consecutive years. Hair-density assessments and trichograms were performed at least twice per trimester on the parietal region of the scalp, corresponding to an area where dandruff was present.

Results: A positive correlation was found between the percentage of telogen hairs and dandruff severity as assessed by the squamometry index. Bimodal yearly biorhythms were found for dandruff severity, telogen counts and hair loss between two consecutive visits. The chronobiological fluctuations were prominent in some study participants, but remained inconspicuous in others. The biorhythms were almost synchronized in all participants, showing variations over the year.

Conclusions: The biorhythms on the hair cycle in dandruff are not fundamentally different from those previously reported in subjects without dandruff. The periodicity may be an intrinsic feature of human skin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / complications*
  • Dermatomycoses / complications
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Malassezia / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Periodicity
  • Scalp Dermatoses / complications*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors