The hair eclipse phenomenon: sharpening the focus on the hair cycle chronobiology

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Dec;25(6):295-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.2003.00198.x.


Chronobiology governing the hair cycle is a fascinating and complex process. Both the hair growth cycle and the hair shaft growth are coordinated and depend on the interplay of different biological signals and various exogenous stimuli. A latency period may occur between hair shedding (teloptosis, exogen phase) and the early emergence of the next anagen VI stage. This lag time referred to on the hair eclipse phenomenon likely depends on the influence of a series of distinct synchronizers, and does not represent per se a peculiar hair cycle phase. It is the result of some dysregulations of the hair cycling, involving early teloptosis, delayed anagen I initiation or stunted hair growth at any stage between the anagen I and anagen V phases. As such, the hair eclipse phenomenon may be an erratic process occurring in physiopathological conditions affecting hair follicles singly or in focal to generalized patterns. It may be more frequent when it follows synchronized teloptosis occurring in telogen effluvium (newborn alopecia, post-partum alopecia, seasonal alopecia and alopecia areata). It may also be prominent when microinflammation is abutted on the permanent portion of the hair follicle as in dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis, androgenic alopecia and photoageing baldness. Local synchronizers such as growth factors and other mediators may eventually be lacking or involved in the hair eclipse phenomenon. Their identification and characterization might drive new corrective or preventive applications.