Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans (KFSD) is an uncommon genodermatosis mainly characterized by follicular hyperkeratosis, progressive cicatricial alopecia and photophobia. Although an excess of affected males and linkage studies strongly suggest an X-linked pattern of inheritance, an apparently rarer autosomal dominant form with prominent follicular inflammation has also been postulated. We report on a three-generation family with five affected individuals and male-to-male transmission. In addition to widespread keratosis pilaris, cicatricial alopecia and eye involvement, our patients show diffuse facial erythema, recurrent folliculitis, enamel hypoplasia, and thickened nails. A literature review of the last 50 years identified 43 additional KFSD cases. X-linked inheritance is demonstrated in two pedigrees by linkage studies and suspected in five. An autosomal dominant pattern is confirmed in three families, including ours, by male-to-male transmission and considered likely in four. Marked facial erythema, extensive folliculitis, onychodystrophy and multiple caries are frequently reported in the autosomal dominant variant, while palmo-plantar keratoderma and early onset seem more typical of the X-linked form. Moreover, three sporadic male patients showing additional multisystemic abnormalities might be explained by an X-linked contiguous-gene syndrome.