Happy Toddler Diagnosed With Uncombable Hair Syndrome Shows There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Hair Day

The birth of a child is a highly anticipated and long-awaited event in many people’s lives. A baby brings equal amounts joy, responsibility and concern to the parents, who try to notice every little change in their children. Most times tiny colds come and go and the kids grow up without much fuss. But sometimes, certain conditions cause worry and wonderment, especially when they develop in the early stages of life.

This is the story of Locklan Samples who, when born, had smooth jet-black hair, which was replaced with pure white fluffy locks in the span of 6 months. Initially a cause for concern to the parents, the seemingly only cosmetic changes to their baby have turned him into a little celebrity, bringing joy and awareness of the condition called ‘Uncombable Hair Syndrome’. Let’s get into the details!

Meet Locklan, a boy with an unusual haircut. Sadly, it’s not on purpose, but a result of a rare genetic condition

17-month-old Locklan was born in Roswell, Georgia: a regular baby, healthy, happy, and rocking a full head of jet-black hair, similar to his mom Katelyn’s. However, by the time he was 6 months old, his original dark hair was replaced by what’s affectionately called “peach fuzz” by Katelyn and her husband, Caleb. The more the hair grew, the more it stood out, both with its lightness and frizziness.

Bored Panda was curious about the origins of the boys name so we contacted Katelyn and she said that her grandma’s maiden name was McLoughlin, “she was so special to me I wanted to name my son after her. So shortened it and made the spelling easier to “Locklan” with the nickname “Lock” – it was truly just meant to be that he would have the most epic locks of all time!”

The differences between their two sons caused some confusion, but not too much worry at first

The confusing change to Lock’s hair was surprising but not immediately concerning to the parents. The toddler’s mom told PEOPLE that they knew it was different, but didn’t know exactly how, “and then it kept growing and growing.” By the time he turned 9 months old, Lock’s hair was white-blonde, super soft and standing upright from the scalp, unable to be combed flat. Although it matched his three-year-old brother Shep’s hair in color, their hair textures were complete opposites.

A commenter on Instagram referred to the rare ‘Uncombable Hair Syndrome’ (UHS), which caused the family to get concerned

The moment the parents got concerned was when someone commented on Lock’s hair on Instagram, suggesting the hair being a result of an extremely rare condition called ‘Uncombable Hair Syndrome’ (UHS). As Katelyn put it, “I was like, oh my god, what is this? Is something wrong with my baby? I went into tailspins on Google.”

But Google would prove to be little help as Locklan is 1 out of a 100 people that has been documented to ever have experienced it. She called the pediatrician, but as she had only seen one case in 19 years of her practice, she referred Katelyn to a specialist in Atlanta’s Emory Hospital. There, Locklan’s diagnosis was confirmed as UHS.

Locklan became 1/100 people to ever have the condition, so what are the symptoms, implications, and treatment options?

According to The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), UHS is a rare disorder of the hair shaft of the scalp, usually characterized by silvery-blond or straw-colored hair that is disorderly, stands out from the scalp, and cannot be combed flat. It may first become apparent from 3 months of age to 12 years of age. Usually it occurs on its own, but it has been documented in certain cases to be in association with another disease. The syndrome has been found to be caused by mutations in the genes involved in hair shaft formation.

“When you look under the microscope, you can see that instead of having hairs that are cylinder-shaped, the shaft of the hair is actually more in a triangular shape,” Dr. Carol Cheng, a pediatric dermatologist at UCLA Health, told ABC. She continues to explain that the triangular shape is the reason why the hair is so uncombable, as the grooves within them prevent any structure from being applied.

As the condition only affects Lock’s hair, the parents were assured there isn’t much to worry about

The diagnosis unsurprisingly caused the parents to fear for their son, especially as it has no treatment. Katelyn expressed her feelings, saying “you’re just going about your day thinking everything’s fine and that your kid might have curly hair, which does run in the family. And then to hear that there’s a rare syndrome associated with your kid—it was crazy.”

Fortunately, as of now, the condition only seems to affect Lock’s hair. The parents have been reassured that, considering Locklan’s overall development has been normal, they don’t need to be worried. Doctors have noted that the condition typically improves or resolves itself once puberty begins, so it’s a matter of wait-and-see.

The little information available led to Lock’s mum finding a Facebook group, sharing experiences and outcomes

Although the family tried to gather more information about the condition, there’s very little information online or among specialists as there have been so few cases. Katelyn managed to find a Facebook group, uniting parents of kids with the syndrome or people who have it themselves. According to Lock’s mom, it’s been a great source of comfort just being able to share pictures and talk about different things, as well as seeing the changes of the hair in others.

Katelyn recommends new parents to embrace their children’s uniqueness, saying : “It’s the most beautiful hair. Also, talk to your doctor or find a dermatologist that has helpful information for you.”

For now, the loving mom is choosing to let Lock’s hair “just be in its free form.” She hardly has to wash it, because it doesn’t get greasy. Katelyn describes the hair as incredibly soft, but very fragile, hence she brushes it rarely and carefully, trying to be as gentle with it as possible, but it’s no trouble for her. In fact Katelyn describes how sad she is “to even think about his first haircut let alone his hair being completely different than it is now. It brings us such joy and we just are along for the ride!”

Locklan has since become the internet’s ‘Little Rockstar’, bringing smiles to others’ faces

After Locklan’s diagnosis, Samples followed her husband’s advice and launched @uncombable_locks, an Instagram account featuring pictures of Locklan and his hair journey.
Everyone coming across the account has thrown their support behind Locklan and since then, he’s become the internet’s Little Rockstar. His mum said that it brings a smile to people’s faces and whilst he’s still little, “he loves the attention and doesn’t mind it.”

Katelyn also said that she’s preparing to teach him to love his hair the way it is, as there is a chance that this will be a long-time endeavor. She stated that with both of their kids, they are teaching them “to be proud of who they are and what makes them stand out. Kids will be kids and my husband and I just want our boys to be confident. Locks hair is so special and we hope he sees that.”

A bright future awaits this boy and we cannot wait to see more of him!

It is difficult to not love the little fluffy-haired boy. To some a rock star, to me, personally, a tiny Albert Einstein. The look suits him and his personality very well, and regardless of what the future brings, we hope Locklan has a smooth childhood, full of joy and sunshine.

Let us know what you thought of this story! Would you like to rock this haircut? Isn’t this boy just a treasure? And as always, for the careful readers, please comment ‘panda bear’ to let me know you’ve read the full story. For now, have a good one!’


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