Monilethrix Treatment & Management

Updated: Jun 21, 2016
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

No effective treatment is available. [25, 26] A wig can be used. Some report spontaneous improvement.

The systemic administration of vitamins, retinoids, griseofulvin, oral contraceptives, steroids, radiation therapy and external desquamative ointments, steroid preparations, and minoxidil does not show impressive results. A 7-year-old girl treated with oral acitretin had good clinical and cosmetic results, but clinical symptoms recurred after discontinuation of acitretin therapy. [27]

The avoidance of trauma is the most effective method of managing this anomaly. Congenitally abnormal hair tends to have an increased susceptibility to weathering and cosmetic damage (eg, sunlight exposure, dyeing, bleaching, perming, curling), which can prevent hair from growing to its maximum length.

No definitive therapy is recognized, but topical minoxidil 2% (1 mL night and day for 1 y) led to an increase of normal hair shaft without any adverse effects in one report. Topical minoxidil 2% may be a good therapeutic option to treat monilethrix. [28]

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Prevention

The avoidance of trauma is the most effective method of managing this anomaly. Because congenitally abnormal hair tends to have an increased susceptibility to weathering and cosmetic damage, patients should avoid exposing their hair to the following:

  • Sunlight
  • Dyes
  • Bleaches
  • Chemicals used in permanent waving
  • Curling devices
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