Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

This 5-Month-Old Baby Grew Excessive Body Hair After Being Put On A Medication, And He's Going Viral For Making Hairy So Dang Cute

Making hairy the most adorable thing ever!

This video of 5-month-old Mateo Hernandez recently caught the attention of over 91 million people on TikTok:

Mateo is on a medication called diazoxide and it has a side effect that causes him to grow body hair.

And so many of the videos showcasing his hair have been going mega viral — here's another one with nearly 35 million views that shows his mother brushing his back:

To get more information about Mateo's condition, BuzzFeed spoke to Mateo's parents, Bri Shelby and Jared Hernandez. "Our son was diagnosed with congenital hyperinsulinism, a condition where the pancreas produces too much insulin and knocks the blood sugars dangerously low," explained Bri.

Bri and Jared with baby Mateo sitting on a bench posing for a photo

After his diagnoses, Mateo was put on diazoxide. "Our baby had to have the max dose of this medicine for it to be effective because his body wasn’t responding to the lower doses," she said. "We were scared that if he didn’t respond to the max dose, that he would end up having surgery to have his pancreas removed or parts of it removed."

Before Mateo took the medicine, Bri was told that one of the side effects could be hair growth, but she never expected it to grow as much as it did. "Every baby is different on how their body responds to the medication, and our son was also on the max dose. As the days and months went by, we noticed more and more hair and we were shocked, but got used to it."

Bri said the hair Mateo has shouldn't be lifelong, however. "He should lose the hair after he stops taking the medication. I never expected my first video to become this big. Now I’m posting videos of it to show people that this is okay and it’s normal, and to not be ashamed!"

According to Bri, most of the responses about Mateo's condition have been positive, but unfortunately some have been negative — and people are even telling her to wax him.

@blshelby

Since my other video got taken down he’s still so precious. #fyp #foryoupage #baby #hairy

♬ original sound - Camylio

"No matter who you are, you will always have people that will say negative things, but we don’t let that affect us because at the end of the day, my baby is doing better, he’s healthier, and most importantly, he’s ALIVE. People don’t know what we went through having a newborn, and then having him being admitted in the hospital for two and a half months was hard on us emotionally and mentally because it was never-ending, and I just wanted my newborn home," Bri said.

To learn more about Mateo's rare disease, BuzzFeed also spoke to Dr. Stephen Stone who is an Instructor in Pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

"Hyperinsulinism is a condition where a child's pancreas produces too much of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas and works to lower the body's blood sugar. Congenital means that a child was born with this condition, thus congenital hyperinsulinism means that a child developed high insulin levels at, or shortly after, birth," Stone explained.

The main symptom of hyperinsulinism is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and Stone said babies who have this condition may be jittery, limp, or have a hard time waking up to feed. "Extremely low blood sugars can be very dangerous for babies, resulting in seizures or brain damage," Stone said.

A doctor attending to a baby being held by their parent

Treatments for congenital hyperinsulinism include IV fluids with dextrose (sugar), diazoxide — which is what Mateo is on — octreotide, lanreotide, and pancreatectomy (surgery to remove part or most of the pancreas).

A child attached to an IV

Stone said that Mateo is experiencing a side effect called hypertrichosis (the medical term for excess hair growth) on the body. "Hypertrichosis is common for many patients taking diazoxide and is not physically harmful. The dose of diazoxide needs to be adjusted to prevent low blood sugars, and thus some patients may need to take doses at the upper end of the therapeutic range (higher than average). Some patients will eventually outgrow their hyperinsulinism or be able to tolerate lower doses of diazoxide, making the excessive hair growth less noticeable or go away altogether," he explained.

Jared holding up Mateo with the caption "When your son has more hair than his father"

Mateo's excessive hair growth is different from lanugo — which is the soft and downy hair that we commonly see on newborns. "Unlike hypertrichosis, lanugo will disappear on its own within a few weeks. The hair seen in hypertrichosis is typically darker, longer, and more full," Stone said. He also said that while hypertrichosis does not go away on its own, because Mateo's is caused by medication, the hair should eventually fall out as soon as he stops taking it.

If you would like more information about congenital hyperinsulinism, Stone suggests referencing Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI). "They are a patient advocacy organization which raises awareness and research funding for patients affected by congenital hyperinsulinism." You can follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

CHI is here to help support patients and patient families throughout their HI journeys. Visit our website to learn more about our free resources today: https://t.co/OwAFVL3Alx #Hyperinsulinism #CongenitalHyperinsulinism #RareDisease #RareDiseaseResearch #Hypoglycemia

Twitter: @congenitalhi

Lastly, Bri has one ending message for parents: "If you are going through this, or any rare condition, please don’t be discouraged or ashamed by your baby's condition or what people say. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel — as long as your baby is alive, thriving, and getting healthy, that is all that matters at the end of the day."

Special thanks to Bri and Jared for sharing Mateo's story and for Dr. Stone's expertise. You can follow Mateo's journey on Instagram and TikTok and you can follow Dr. Stone on Instagram and Twitter.

TikTok videos not playing for you? Refer to this guide that may help fix the issue!