Does D matter? The role of vitamin D in hair disorders and hair follicle cycling

Dermatol Online J. 2010 Feb 15;16(2):3.


Background: The role of vitamin D in the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes is well known within the field of dermatology.

Objective: We sought to evaluate the role that vitamin D and the vitamin D receptor play in the hair cycle and assess how this can be clinically applied to the treatment of hair disorders.

Methods: A MEDLINE search (1955-July 2009) was preformed to find relevant articles pertaining to vitamin D, the vitamin D receptor, and hair loss.

Results: The vitamin D receptor, independent of vitamin D, plays an important role in hair cycling, specifically anagen initiation. The role of vitamin D in hair follicle cycling is not as well understood.

Limitations: The review is broad and there are limited human studies available to date.

Conclusion: Additional studies to evaluate the role of vitamin D in the hair cycle should be done. Treatments that up regulate the vitamin D receptor may be successful in treating hair disorders and are a potential area of further study.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / genetics
  • Animals
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / embryology
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Hair Follicle / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism*
  • Retinoid X Receptors / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • HR protein, human
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Vitamin D