Minoxidil 101

Treatments ● September 2019

If you’ve gone from locks of love to locks of loathe, you’re not the only one. By 35, two thirds of men out there will have started the balding process. 

Luckily, there’s a whole universe of solutions out there to help you reverse hair loss if you’re not quite ready to embrace the bald.

If you’ve gone from locks of love to locks of loathe, you’re not the only one.

In addition to treatments like finasteride, minoxidil is a highly effective hair loss solution that stimulates hair growth. Unlike finasteride, minoxidil can be used by both men and women and is a topical liquid. 

 

What is Minoxidil and how does it work?

Similarly to sildenafil (i.e Viagra), minoxidil was not originally intended for its current function. In fact, minoxidil was initially developed as an antihypertensive, functioning to dilate blood vessels in the aim to lower blood pressure. It was later discovered to increase hair growth in different areas of the body after oral intake. This led to its development as a topical treatment for scalp hair loss. Nice little surprise, aye? 

Since its launch as a hair loss solution, minoxidil is the clinically approved topical treatment for hereditary hair loss in men aged between 18-65 suffering from androgenetic alopecia (aka Male Pattern baldness (MPB)). It is the first and only licensed topical treatment proven to prevent and even reverse the effects of male pattern hair loss. It works by dilating the blood vessels, supplying nutrients to the scalp hair follicles. In doing so, minoxidil stimulates and prolongs the anagen ‘growth’ phase and prevents the shrinking of hair follicles. This leads to a thicker, more nutritionally-enriched hair with denser qualities and a larger hair shaft to boot. 

In fact, minoxidil was initially developed as an antihypertensive, functioning to dilate blood vessels in the aim to lower blood pressure.

Sound appealing? Minoxidil is the active ingredient found within our twice daily extra strength topical solution, all included within our handy hair plans. Lucky you! 

How effective is it?

Minoxidil is an effective treatment for MPB when applied topically, twice a day, consistently over the course of 3-6 months. It has been clinically demonstrated in a number of studies (see links below) to halt and even reverse the signs of male hair loss versus placebo particularly at the crown of the scalp. The effectiveness of minoxidil has been shown to be dependent on consistent twice daily application and targeting the solution to the problematic areas of the scalp. Its hair growing magic will only last for as long as its applied, and once it has been stopped hair loss can revert back again within 4-6 months. Therefore, to achieve optimal results it is recommended to apply the solution regularly, and build it into your daily routine. Once you get into the habit of it, it will be second nature, just like the hair it will grow!

So, what types of minoxidil products are available?

Minoxidil was initially approved as a tablet for the treatment of hypertension, due to its blood vessel dilation effects. Minoxidil exists predominantly as a topical treatment, and can be purchased as a solution, foam and newer formats like cream. The topical solution is a chosen favourite for those that want to apply the solution at the hair loss sites. The accepted strengths of minoxidil on the market are typically 2% and 5%. Based on studies, the 5% strength solution has been consistently demonstrated to be more effective to the 2% strength solution. A study of 393 men with male pattern hair loss demonstrated the higher effectiveness of the 5% solution. After 48 weeks, the men who used the 5% solution experienced 45% more hair regrowth than those who used the 2% solution. They also had an earlier response to treatment and better visual hair outcomes. Result. So what science has learnt is that Minoxidil is dose dependent and a higher percentage has greater hair growth potential.

Who should use Minoxidil and what to expect?

Although Minoxidil is licensed for use by both genders, our hair plan is designed for male pattern baldness occurring between the ages 18-65. For the best results, don’t hang around. The moment you notice thinning or receding hair, we recommend that you start using minoxidil consistently to prevent further hair loss. The topical products are easy to apply and safe to use. Most men don’t experience any side effects from topical treatment. The most common issue, albeit still rare, tends to be scalp irritation early on in treatment. Given Minoxidil’s use is confined to the scalp, it is very uncommon to experience widespread side effects, such as changes in blood pressure. 

It is normal to experience increased hair shedding for the first couple of weeks of Minoxidil treatment. Don’t panic, this is normal and expected! As your hair enters a new growth cycle it sheds and think of it as new, stronger hairs replacing the frail, older ones. With consistent twice-daily application the results should start coming through within 3-6 months’ use.

How do I apply Minoxidil?

  • Ensure hair is dry before applying minoxidil treatment solution to the scalp.
  • Part the surrounding hair and apply 7 sprays (1ml) to the problematic ‘balding’ areas. Ensure the solution gets maximal contact with the scalp as thats where is act – not the hair.
  • Keeping the head tilted back, release the liquid onto different areas of the front and top of the scalp.
  • The solution may drip… To prevent this, and maximise delivery, move your hair to direct the solution to the areas that require the most action. 
  • Leave the areas of application untouched as there isn’t a need to rub it in. 
  • Wash your hands immediately after use and avoid contact with eyes/face. 
  • Carry this process out twice a day. (Morning and early evening are the obvious times.) Avoid doing immediately before going to bed, if you don’t want it to simply transfer over to your pillow. Usually an hour before is best. 

If you’re not ready to embrace the bald, start your free online consultation with Manual.

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