Hay’s Daze: Are you afflicted with the ravages of U.H.S.?

So I was deep into research the other day, firmly ensconced in one of my favoured research facilities and I discovered something interesting. That is to say I was having a burger at the A&W carefully studying one of those Coffee News publications that happen to always be lying around high end restaurants and I noticed a tiny article about hair. This made my hair stand on end.

You see, I like hair. Always have. When I met my Better Half 350 years ago one of the first things I noticed about her was that she had extremely long beautiful hair that fell well past the back pockets of her bell bottom jeans. I almost asked her to marry me even before I introduced myself.

So anyway, under the erudite “Everybody’s Talking” section of the Coffee News I immediately noticed an article about a girl in Australia whose name is Shilah Calvert-Yin. Little Shilah has an unfortunate “diagnosed condition” involving her hair. Yes folks, this poor Sheila (which is what Australians sometimes call females) has UHS! According to the article, which must be true on account of it’s right there in the Coffee News, this unfortunate lass (which is what Scottish people sometimes call females) has “Uncombable Hair Syndrome.” WHAT?! Uncombable Hair Syndrome? Hair that can’t be combed?? My first thought was: hey, I have that! And thinking back to our way-back long-haired musician days, my second thought was: hey, most of my friends in the band had that!

The Coffee News article goes on to note that the identifying factor in UHS is the fact that her hair is “wild and unruly.” Wow. With that kind of diagnostic symptomology I figure about one fifth to one quarter — or possibly half of the human race has been or is currently afflicted with UHS. This made me scratch my head. So I needed to, as researchers like to say, take a “deeper dive” on the subject.

And guess what — according to several websites that must be true because they are on the internet, Uncombable Hair Syndrome is an actual, real thing. The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Centre (GARD for short) lists UHS as “a rare disorder of the hair shaft of the scalp… characterized by silvery-blond or straw-colored hair that is disorderly; stands out from the scalp; and cannot be combed flat.” Apparently it’s thought to be inherited so it can be blamed on parents, but the good news is the syndrome is not particularly painful, doesn’t have any other negative health ramifications and usually “spontaneously regresses” in “late childhood.” Which is odd since most of the wild and unruly hair I’ve noticed or experienced seems to be much more chronic during the teen years.

My extensive research which lasted upwards of eight minutes revealed that there is no known cure or treatment for Uncombable Hair Syndrome but experts recommend a regimen of “gentle hair care.” Or, if you are duly diagnosed, you can wait until puberty and see if it goes away.

As for the young bird (which is what people from England sometimes call females) in Australia, the Coffee News reports that Shilah is OK with looking like she just stuck her finger in a light socket. She likes that it makes her “unique” and “sets her apart from her friends”. I mean, some people go to great lengths to have uncombable hair. Take rock singer Rod Stewart for example. Or Tina Turner. Or some Pomeranians.

So, good on little Shilah the UHS girl, I say. She’ll grow out of the wild and unruly hair. But it’s obviously too late for the rest of us.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and film maker.

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