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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Other Names for this Disease
  • Nodose hair
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Is there treatment available for monilethrix? Is there a cure for the condition?

Unfortunately, the is no cure for monilethrix. Some patients have reported spontaneous improvement, particularly during puberty and pregnancy, but the condition rarely disappears completely.[1][2]

While there is no recognized definitive treatment for monilethrix, oral acitretin and topical 2% minoxidil have shown good clinical and cosmetic results with continued use.[2][3][4] The systemic administration of vitamins, retinoids, griseofulvin, oral contraceptives, steroids, radiation therapy, external desquamative ointments, and steroid preparations have not show impressive results.[2]

Avoiding trauma is perhaps the most effective method of managing monilethrix. This is because from birth, the hair of individuals with monilethrix tends to have an increased susceptibility to weathering and cosmetic damage (e.g., sunlight exposure, dyeing, bleaching, perming, curling). This susceptibility to damage can prevent hair from growing to its maximum length.[2]

Last updated: 3/12/2014

  1. Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Chapter 661 - Disorders of Hair. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, An Imprint of Elsevier; 2007;
  2. Schwartz RA, Alexiewicx-Slowinska M. Monilethrix. Medscape Reference. September 12, 2013; Accessed 3/12/2014.
  3. Karincaoglu Y, Coskun BK, Seyhan ME, Bayram N. Monilethrix: improvement with acitretin. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005; Accessed 1/31/2012.
  4. Rossi A, Iorio A, Scali E, Fortuna MC, Mari E, Palese E, Greco P, Carlesimo M. Monilethrix treated with minoxidil. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2011; Accessed 1/31/2012.