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Case Reports
July 1973

Toxic Alopecia From Ingestion of Boric Acid

Author Affiliations

USA; USA; USA; USA; Presidio of San Francisco
From the Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, Letterman General Hospital, Presidio of San Francisco, Calif. MAJ Martin is now with the Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, William Beaumont General Hospital, Fort Bliss, Tex.

Arch Dermatol. 1973;108(1):95-97. doi:10.1001/archderm.1973.01620220057014

The hair loss in a young woman with an obscure diffuse alopecia was traced to her chronic ingestion of mouthwashes containing boric acid. Cessation of this occult source of boric acid resulted in complete regrowth of hair.

It appears that boric acid may have accumulated in the hair follicles, with a resultant toxic effect on the susceptible hair bulbs.

This case indicates that boric acid poisoning should be suspected in patients with profuse unexplained alopecia, since cessation of the boric acid ingestion results in complete hair regrowth and may be lifesaving.