Hair loss and Minoxidil

Treatments ● January 2019

In 30 Seconds

  • Minoxidil was originally created to treat hypertension. Side effects include hair growth. Result.
  • Minoxidil has been tested many times, prior to and after FDA approval. Yet the results vary in tests. Medical professionals believe this is due to the varying levels of potency in tests, as well as the variety in things like test sizes.
  • One study found that 60% of the patients treated with 5% Minoxidil experienced an increased scalp coverage after 48 weeks treatment.

That moment when we spy our bald patch having significantly grown causes mild panic in even the most zen of us. Before you go into meltdown, remember that thanks to the wonders of science and technology, hair loss isn’t always permanent.1

If you don’t fancy embracing the bald (and we have to say – it’s a look that’s considered not only attractive but also powerful2) then popping a pill – or slapping on some scalp solution –  might be the answer for you.

Here’s our guide to Minoxidil: the facts, the myths, the side effects and how effective it really is in taking you from forehead to full head. So you can make a more informed choice.

If you don’t fancy embracing the bald (and we have to say – it’s a look that’s considered not only attractive but also powerful) then slapping on some solution might be the answer for you.

What Is Minoxidil?

  • There are two pharmaceuticals approved to help tackle the problem of hair loss. These are Minoxidil and Finasteride.3
  • Minoxidil was originally created to treat hypertension.4 Side effects include an increase in hair shedding after withdrawal from the treatment.5
  • It comes in oral tablets, shampoo formulas and as a concentrate to apply directly to the scalp.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

  • Minoxidil is used to help hair growth in the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is not used for baldness at the front of the scalp or to treat a receding hairline in men.6
  • Minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs called vasodilators. They make your blood vessels wider and are used to treat heart failure and control high blood pressure.7
  • Hair growth on the scalp was noticed as a side effect of Minoxidil. It’s not known exactly how it works.8

Is Minoxidil Effective?

  • One study, however, found that 60% of the patients treated with 5% Minoxidil experienced an increased scalp coverage after 48 weeks treatment.9
  • Minoxidil has been tested many times, prior to and after FDA approval. Yet the results vary in tests. Medical professionals believe this is due to the varying levels of potency in tests, as well as the variety in things like test sizes.10
  • Some studies looked at hair count within a certain area on the scalp. Other studies measured hair strand thickness, while others counted numbers of hairs lost during washing. This makes it difficult to compare studies efficiently and consistently.
  • A primary inconsistency in Minoxidil’s effectiveness during trials is due to its varying levels of available concentration (1%, 2%, 3% and 5%) and the length of time it can be administered. While some trials report best results within 16 weeks of use, other studies covered a much longer time period of 12 or even 24 months.
  • The 5% concentration is generally regarded as the most effective form of Minoxidil.11

How to Use Minoxidil?

According to medicines.org.uk:

  • The 5% topical solutions are intended to be applied directly to the scalp twice a day.
  • Make sure your hair and scalp are completely dry first.
  • You may need to wait for 2 months or more to see an improvement in your hair growth. So stay patient. And let your hair do it’s thing.
  • Topical Minoxidil should not be applied to inflamed, infected, irritated or painful scalp skin. If your scalp is normal and health – you’re fine to apply it.
  • Topical Minoxidil is only for the treatment of alopecia androgenetica (male pattern baldness). Don’t use it for other types of hair loss –  for example when there is no family history of hair loss, hair loss is sudden and/or patchy, hair loss is due to childbirth, or the reason for hair loss is unknown.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after use.
  • See a doctor if hypotension is detected or if you start experiencing chest pain, rapid heart beat, faintness or dizziness, sudden unexplained weight gain, swollen hands or feet or persistent redness or irritation of the scalp.Note: these side effects are rare.
  • Patients with known cardiovascular disease or cardiac arrhythmia should contact their doctor before using Minoxidil.12

Side effects? Actually very rare, but can include itching or skin rash or increased hair loss initially (usually a sign that it’s working – it’s a resetting of the hair cycle).13

The Takeaway

Whatever you choose, it’s good to have all the facts. Then whether you’re rocking thick, windswept hair (thanks to your Minoxidil) or taking inspo from The Rock, feel proud of your look. It’s all about you, after all.

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