Oral Minoxidil Helps Nail Growth — Donovan Hair Clinic

53 % of Surveyed Users State Oral Minoxidil Helps Nail Growth

Authors of a new study set out to evaluate whether oral minoxidil affected nail growth. They did so by administering a questionnaire to patients using oral minoxidil.

There were 74 patients who were using oral minoxidil who were invited to participate in the survey. 66 completed a questionnaire (response rate of 89%). 71.2 % of patients were female and the mean age was 45.1 years. Patients in the study had healthy nails except for two patients with a history of toenail onychomycosis. At the time of the questionnaire, the  mean duration of treatment was 10.7 months and median dose of oral minoxidil was 1.25 mg.

After starting oral minoxidil, 53.0% (35/66) reported their nails grew more quickly, 37.9% (25/66) reported their nails became stronger, and 36.4% (24/66) reported their nails looked nicer.

There was no clear evidence that patients who had nail improvements were using oral minoxidil at higher doses than patients who did not notice nail improvements. In addition, there did not seem to be clear evidence that patients who had nail improvements used oral minoxidil for longer duration than that for patients who did not notice nail improvements.

Summary and Discussion

I really enjoyed this study. I often tell my patients that hair and nails are like “cousins.” Many treatments that affect hair have the potential to affect nails. Many diseases that affect hair also have the ability to affect nails.

This study is a nice example of how oral minoxidil can help both hair and nails. About one half felt their nails grew faster on oral minoxidil and one-third felt their nails were stronger and just plain nicer.

There are limitations to this study and the authors point this out. There are no controls and no placebo. There could be reporting bias too. But all in all there’s good evidence that oral minoxidil helps nails – at least for some patients.

Now, this is not the first time that minoxidil has been shown to help nails. Topical minoxidil has been studied in the past. Aiempanakit  et al performed a small study of 32 patients back in 2017 and found that nails treated with topical minoxidil 5% twice daily had a growth rate of 4.27 mm/month, compared with 3.91 mm/month in untreated nails. This difference was statistically significant  (P = 0.003)

In 2021, Garbers and colleagues published results from a randomized study of 38 participants found that nails treated with topical minoxidil 5% twice daily had a growth rate of about 0.126 mm/day, compared with about 0.105 mm/day in controls. This difference was also statistically significant (P < 0.01).  .

The mechanism of minoxidil in improving nail growth rate is unclear but may be related to increased blood flow to nail roots through vasodilation or upregulation of certain genes.  



 Alsalhi W et al. Effects of oral minoxidil on nails: A cross-sectional analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2023 Feb 2.

Aiempanakit K, Geater A, Limtong P, Nicoletti K. The use of topical minoxidil to accelerate nail growth: a pilot study. Int J Dermatol. 2017;56:788–91.

Garbers L, Miola AC, Dias PCR, Miot LDB, Miot HA, Schmitt JV. Efficacy of 2.5 mg oral biotin versus 5% topical minoxidil in increasing nail growth rate. Exp Dermatol. 2021;30:1322–3.

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