By Gary M. White, MD


Poliosis is a localized patch of white hair. It can involve any hairy area on the body including the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. It may occur congenitally affecting a tuft of hair along the anterior hair line. when this occurs, the term "white forelock" is used. The white forelock may occur in the setting of several genetic syndromes including piebaldism, Waardenburg, and tuberous sclerosis.

Accquired poliosis most commonly occurs when the hair regrows in the setting of alopecia areata. Other causes of acquired poliosis include vitiligo, halo nevi, radiation therapy and various inflammatory conditions.

Melanoma of the scalp has been reported to cause acquired poliosis [AD 1995;131;618(CP)].

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