The Normal Scalp

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When doctors first learn to examine the scalp, it’s not uncommon for many to be surprised about its complexities.   One of the joys of teaching is helping others understand not only what is "abnormal" - but also what is "normal."  Recognizing what is abnormal in the scalp can only occur with a thorough understanding of what constitutes a normal scalp examination.

One of the first surprises is the realization that hair fibers don’t emerge from the scalp one-by-one, but rather in groups. These groups of hairs are called “follicular units.” Some follicles have three or four hairs coming out, some have two and some have just a single hair. The photo at the right shows these follicular units labelled 1 (single hair follicular unit), 2 (two hair follicular unit) and 3 (three hair follicular unit). Sometimes hair fibers emerge from the scalp in groups of 8, 10 or even 15 hairs. A previous article discussed the diseases that can be associated with such a phenomenon.

PHOTO: Follicular units: Hair follicles emerge in groups of 1-5 hair


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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