Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 281, Issue 3, pp 188–192 | Cite as

Effects of plucking on the anatomy of the anagen hair bulb

A light microscopic study
  • I. D. Bassukas
  • O. P. Hornstein
Original Contributions


The effects of mechanical plucking on the anatomy of human anagen hair bulbs were studied histologically in biopsy specimens taken from scalp areas of ten volunteers immediately after plucking. Anagen hair bulbs were shown to tear off not arbitrarily but in reproducible patterns which include, apart from the “typical” break conically surrounding the dermal papilla, three additional break forms:(1) rupture of the hair around the upper third of the papilla resulting in so-called dysplastic anagen hairs of the trichogram, (2) rupture of the hair well above the dermal papilla resulting in “brocken” anagen hairs, (3) total removal of the proximal follicle epithelium with removal of the dermal papilla resulting in so-called papilla hairs of the trichogram. Plucking also gives rise to alterations of the mesenchymal sheath of the hair follicle mainly leading to hemorrhages and a distinct edema entailing an increase in the volume of both the dermal papilla and the underlying “papilla cushion” of Pinkus. The different break types can be due to inappropriate plucking techniques or may depend on different subphases of the anagen stage.

Key words

Mechanical plucking Trichogram Anagen hair bulb Breaking pattern 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Birbeck MSC, Mercer EH (1957) The electron microscopy of the human hair follicle. I. Introduction and the hair cortex. J Biophys Biochem Cytol 3:203–214Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brachet J (1985) Molecular cytology, vol. 1. Academic Press, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Braun-Falco O, Heilgemeir GP (1985) The trichogram. Structural and functional basis, performance, and interpretation. Semin Dermatol 4:40–52Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Braun-Falco O, Rassner G (1965) Über den Einfluß der Epilationstechnik auf normale und pathologische Haarwurzelmuster. Arch Clin Exp Dermatol 223:501–508Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Casey JH, Moxham A, Nabarro JDN (1964) Idiopathic hirsutism. Seasonal variation of hair-growth and response to oestrogen administration. Lancet I:587–588Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Deinlein E, Schell H, Winter M, Hornstein OP, Katsuoka K (1985) DNA flow cytometry: a new technique for rapid analysis of cell-cycle kinetics in human anagen hairs. Arch Dermatol Res 277:337–339Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Deinlein E, Schell H, Rodehorst R, Katsuoka K (1986) Zur Zellkinetik des menschlichen Kopfhaares — Impulszytophotometrische Untersuchungen. Z Hautkr 61:1137–1144Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hashimoto K, Shibazaki S (1976) Ultrastructural study on differentiation and function of hair. In: Kobori T, Montagna W, et al. (eds) Biology and disease of the hair. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 23–57Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ito M (1986) The innermost cell layer of the outer root sheath in human anagen hair follicle. Light and electron microscopic study. Arch Dermatol Res 279:112–119Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ito M (1987) Electron microscopic study on cell differentiation in hair follicle in mice. J Invest Dermatol 90:65–72Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Loeffler M, Potten CS, Wichmann HE (1987) Epidermal cell proliferation. II. A comprehensive mathematical model of cell proliferation and migration in the basal layer predicts some unusual properties of epidermal stem cells. Virchow Arch B 53:286–300Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Maguire Jr HC, Kligman AM (1965) Hair plucking as a diagnostic tool. J Invest Dermatol 43:77–79Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Moretti G (1965) Das Haar. In: Stüttgen G (ed) Die normale und pathologische Physiologie der Haut. Fischer, Stuttgart, pp 506–553Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Orfanos CE (1979) Alopecia androgenetica. Klinische Aspekte. In: Orfanos CE (Hrsg) Haar und Haarkrankheiten. Fischer, Stuttgart New York, pp 573–604Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Parakkal PF (1979) Katagen- und Telogenphase. In: Orfanos CE (Hrsg) Haar und Haarkrankheiten. Fischer, Stuttgart New York, pp 77–93Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Potten CS, Loeffler M (1987) Epidermal cell proliferation. I. Changes with time in the proportion of isolated, paired and clustered labelled cells in sheets of murine epidermis. Virchow Arch B 53:279–285Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Saitoh M, Uzuka M, Sakamoto M (1970) Human hair cycle. J Invest Dermatol 54:65–81Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sato Y (1976) The hair cycle and its control mechanism. In: Kobori T, Montagna W, et al. (eds) Biology and disease of the hair. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 3–13Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Takashima I, Kawagishi I (1976) Comparative study of hair growth in mammals, with special references to hair grouping and hair cycle and hair growth rate in the juvenile stumptailed macaque. In: Kobori T, Montagna W, et al. (eds) Biology and disease of the hair. University Park Press, Baltimore, pp 457–471Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Van Scott EJ, Reinertson RPA, Steinmüller R (1957) The growing hair roots of the human scalp and morphologic changes therein following amethopterin therapy. J Invest Dermatol 29:197–204Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zaun H, Ludwig E (1976) Zur Definition ungewöhnlicher Haarwurzeln im Trichogramm. Hautarzt 27:606–608Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. D. Bassukas
    • 1
  • O. P. Hornstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

Personalised recommendations