• Users Online: 284
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

  Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 147-148  

Minoxidil-induced hypertrichosis in a child with alopecia areata

Department of Dermatology, Era's Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Ajay Kumar Rai
Department of Dermatology, Era's Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, Uttar Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.202269

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Rai AK. Minoxidil-induced hypertrichosis in a child with alopecia areata. Indian Dermatol Online J 2017;8:147-8

How to cite this URL:
Rai AK. Minoxidil-induced hypertrichosis in a child with alopecia areata. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 8];8:147-8. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2017/8/2/147/202269


Here, we are reporting development of severe hypertrichosis in a 3-year-old child with alopecia areata secondary to topical minoxidil, a commonly used off-label topical therapy for the same.

A 3-year-old male child developed acute onset multiple bald patches diffusely distributed over the scalp (30% scalp area), along with loss of eyebrows. Parents started twice daily application of 5% minoxidil lotion on suggestion of a chemist and continued the same for more than 2 months without any dermatological consultation. No standard method of application of minoxidil was followed and it was applied as ordinary hair oil (2 times a day in liberal amount, 3 bottles of 60 ml were used in 2 months). There was no significant improvement in bald patches; however, slowly the boy developed hypertrichosis over forehead, cheek and neck [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]. No other cutaneous or systemic side-effects were noticed by parents during minoxidil use. No other topical or systemic medications (such as steroids) were used before or during minoxidil use. General physical and cutaneous examination of the child was within normal limit, excluding any other systemic cause for hypertrichosis. No serum hormonal investigations were performed due to lack of clinical indication. Parents were counselled regarding the cause of excessive hair growth and advised to discontinue minoxidil use.
Figure 1: Hypertrichosis over forehead with lack of eyebrows due to alopecia areata

Click here to view
Figure 2: Hypertrichosis with ophiasis pattern of alopecia areata

Click here to view

Pharmacologically, minoxidil, originally manufactured as an antihypertensive drug, is mainly used for alopecia. It affects hair growth through various plausible mechanisms such as increased duration of the anagen growth phase, agonistic effects on adenosine-triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels, and prostaglandin stimulation in the dermal papillae. Though it is primarily approved for androgenetic alopecia of both sexes, its off-label uses include topical application in alopecia areata.

There have been several reports of systemic administration of minoxidil either by oral administration to the mother during pregnancy or by oral ingestion by the child, leading to diffuse hypertrichosis of the newborn and children.[1],[2]

Hypertrichosis is also a common side effect of topical minoxidil use more commonly seen in women. Systemic absorption of the drug is <2% with topical therapy. It is usually localized to the head and neck; it may occasionally involve other body areas.[3],[4],[5] Severe affection by topical use, as in our case, is uncommonly reported.[6]

Hypertrichosis caused by topical minoxidil depends on various factors such as higher amount or concentration of application, excessive systemic absorption, and high sensitivity of the follicular apparatus to minoxidil. In our patient, the high dose and unsupervised application (both in terms of concentration and daily quantity) in combination with the patient's low body weight and age favored the development of hypertrichosis.

The efficacy of topical minoxidil in alopecia areata has never been definitively proven. Because of higher chances of adverse effects, use of topical minoxidil should be discouraged in the pediatric age group. If required, lower concentration (2%) of minoxidil in gel-based formulation should be used in pediatric age group because of relative safety. Over the counter sale of minoxidil should be restricted completely or to a minimum concentration of preparation.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Lorette G, Nivet H. Diffuse hypertrichosis caused by minoxidil in a 2-and-a-half-year-old child. Ann Dermatol Venereol 1985;112:527-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kaler SG, Patrinos ME, Lambert GH, Myers TF, Karlman R, Anderson CL. Hypertrichosis and congenital anomalies associated with maternal use of minoxidil. Pediatrics 1987;79:434-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Peluso AM, Misciali C, Vincenzi C, Tosti A. Diffuse hypertrichosis during treatment with 5% topical minoxidil. Br J Dermatol 1997;136:118-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
González M, Landa N, Gardeazabal J, Calderon MJ, Bilbao I, Diaz Perez JL. Generalized hypertrichosis after treatment with topical minoxidil. Clin Exp Dermatol 1994;19:157-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Roy K, Forman S. Miscellaneous topical agents. In: Wolverton S, Editor. Comprehensive dermatologic drug therapy. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2013. p. 629-35.  Back to cited text no. 5
Guerouaz N, Mohamed AO. Minoxidil induced hypertrichosis in children. Pan Afr Med J 2014;18:8.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Treatment of pediatric alopecia areata: A systematic review
Virginia R. Barton, Atrin Toussi, Smita Awasthi, Maija Kiuru
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded261    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal