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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 140-141  

A proposed system for redefining of the zones of the scalp

College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Date of Submission20-Jul-2020
Date of Decision30-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Conor T Boylan
14 Bideford Drive, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B296QG
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijt.ijt_119_20

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How to cite this article:
Boylan CT, Gaston MS, Merwaha P. A proposed system for redefining of the zones of the scalp. Int J Trichol 2020;12:140-1

How to cite this URL:
Boylan CT, Gaston MS, Merwaha P. A proposed system for redefining of the zones of the scalp. Int J Trichol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jan 30];12:140-1. Available from: https://www.ijtrichology.com/text.asp?2020/12/3/140/292095


We enjoyed reading a recent article entitled, ̶S0;Scalp hair whorl patterns in patients affected by Neurofibromatosis Type 1: a casecontrol study” and found its conclusions to be particularly interesting.[1] However, we felt it was limited by an issue frequently seen in publications in this field. That is, there was an element of ambiguity as to what areas of the scalp were being referred to in text. In describing locations of hair whorls, the authors used terms such as “apical,” “parietal region,” “vertex,” and “midline” without definition. Using the parietal region as an example, different authors appear to define it in different ways. Rojhirunsakool and Suchonwanit define the parietal region as “7 cm above both external auditory ear canals,”[2] whereas Prodigner et al.describe a squamous cell carcinoma on the topmost part of the scalp as being in the parietal region.[3] This heterogeneity is common throughout all zones of the scalp and leads to difficulty in interpreting the findings of papers in this field.

We propose a redefining of the zones of the scalp using a nomenclature adapted from Beehner's 2001 paper on scalp landmarks, with input from a 2015 paper by Chopra et al.[4],[5] The redefined zones are expressed pictorially in [Figure 1]. Using these papers, the areas of the scalp can be defined as:
Figure 1: Original diagram showing the anatomical “zones” of the scalp. The seven zones are as follows: forehead (yellow), frontal scalp (orange), midscalp (dark blue), vertex (green), posterior scalp (red), temporal scalp (light blue) and posterior auricular (purple)

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  • Forehead: The area between the anterior hairline superiorly, supraorbital ridge inferiorly, and temporal ridges laterally
  • Frontal scalp: The area on the top of the head from roughly in line with the midpoint of the zygomatic arch to the anterior hairline
  • Midscalp: The area between the frontal scalp and vertex, bordered laterally by the temporal/parietal hair fringes
  • Vertex: A somewhat oval-shaped region in the posterior scalp overlying the lambda that is the typical site of the hair whorl in men
  • Posterior scalp: The area overlying the occiput from vertex superiorly to superior nuchal line inferiorly and laterally to the mastoid portion of the temporal bone
  • Temporal scalp: The lateral area of the head superior to the zygomatic arch and between the forehead and posterior scalp
  • Posterior auricular area: From the posterior of the ears to the anterior margin of the posterior scalp.

These zones reflect differences in hair stream directions, neurovascular supply, outward appearance, and practices of plastic surgeons in terms of hair transplantation and reconstructive flap design. It should be noted that these definitions are not absolute, and comments and adaptations are encouraged to improve their applicability. Ultimately, however, we believe that this nomenclature can provide a foundation to begin to more accurately describe the zones of the scalp and to create a greater homogeneity in how authors and clinicians define the locations of their findings.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Sechi A, Neri I, Patrizi A, Starace M, Savoia F, Leuzzi M, et al. Scalp hair whorl patterns in patients affected by neurofibromatosis type 1: A case-control study. Int J Trichology 2020;12:56-61.  Back to cited text no. 1
Rojhirunsakool S, Suchonwanit P. Parietal scalp is another affected area in female pattern hair loss: An analysis of hair density and hair diameter. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2018;11:7-12.  Back to cited text no. 2
Prodinger CM, Koller J, Laimer M. Scalp tumors. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges 2018;16:730-53.  Back to cited text no. 3
Beehner ML. Nomenclature proposal for the zones and landmarks of the balding scalp. Dermatol Surg 2001;27:375-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chopra K, Calva D, Sosin M, Tadisina KK, Banda A, De La Cruz C, et al. A comprehensive examination of topographic thickness of skin in the human face. Aesthet Surg J 2015;35:1007-13.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Assessing the accuracy of computed tomography in detecting bony invasion and thickness of squamous cell carcinoma of the scalp
Conor T Boylan, Michaela S Gaston, Puja Merwaha, Kurdow Nader, Sukhbir Rayatt
The Neuroradiology Journal. 2021; : 1971400921
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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