Is Minoxidil Useful as a Treatment for Alopecia?
Minoxidil is one of the many treatments to delay hair loss whose use has become more widespread as it helps, above all, to slow down or stabilise in some way some of the most common types of alopecia (androgenetic alopecia in particular), providing strength to the scalp and promoting hair growth or thickness.
If you have problems with alopecia, thinning hair or baldness in general, you have probably already heard about minoxidil. Let’s see what truth there is in everything that has been said about this medication.
- How Does Minoxidil Work?
- Does Minoxidil Work for Hair Regrowth?
- Side Effects of Minoxidil
- Dr. Balwi’s Explanatory Video
How Does Minoxidil Work?
Classified as a vasodilator drug, i.e. it increases blood circulation in the scalp and face. Rogaine is the trade or brand name for minoxidil, a drug initially created by scientists to treat high blood pressure and duodenal ulcers. However, during studies and clinical trials, U.S. scientists noticed that it appeared to strengthen and promote overall body hair growth.
Therefore, minoxidil, its active ingredient, acts by partially expanding the hair follicles and lengthening the hair growth phase. More follicles in the growth phase means that you will see more hair density on the scalp.
Does Minoxidil Work for Hair Regrowth?
According to studies and clinical trials, minoxidil in combination with other medications, reduces thinning hair and makes it thicker and healthier. Although it has shown to work in only 3 out of every 4 men. In addition, it is most effective if you are under 40 and have recently started to experience thinning hair. Specifically, it is most effective for androgenetic alopecia.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, minoxidil is safe on facial hair, eyebrows and scalp. Scientists in Thailand conducted a study to determine the safety and efficacy of a 3% minoxidil lotion for beard growth.
With minoxidil hair loss slows and works by stimulating the follicles where hair is still growing. It does this by increasing blood flow to the scalp and also in other ways that are not fully understood.
The product works to some extent, as has been shown in clinical studies, but only for some forms of baldness and only if applied regularly. In addition, the hair you have lost is unlikely to grow back, and it can take up to a minimum of four months to see the first results.
In one of the studies, 46 participants applied the lotion three times a day on the facial hair area. This treatment, based on the physician’s assessment and the participants’ self-assessment, resulted in a noticeably thicker and fuller beard, although they needed between 6 months to 1 year to see this. Side effects have been reported to be mild and not statistically significant.
Minoxidil Side Effects
Although the drug is considered safe and effective in two out of three people, it does have side effects. Let’s see what the main ones are:
Most common side effects
- Changes in the texture or colour of the hair
- Irritation and redness of the scalp
- Hair growth on adjacent areas of the scalp and face, such as the forehead
Unwanted side effects
Although rare, it may cause more serious problems. See your doctor or dermatologist immediately if you experience any of these.
- Chest pain
- Sudden, unexplained weight gain
- Swelling of the hands or feet
- Fainting or dizziness
When the drug is first started, there is an increase in hair loss during the first few weeks, as the hair follicles shed old hair to make room for new hair strands.
Extreme care must be taken to ensure that the product does not get into the eyes when it is applied. If it does accidentally, the eyes should be rinsed with plenty of cold water.
Dr. Balwi’s Explanatory Video
In the following video, Dr. Balwi – Elithair’s Head of Hair Surgery – clarifies the reality of Minoxidil as a treatment for alopecia.
Rogaine is moderately effective in stopping hair loss, reducing hair thinning and promoting new hair growth in both men and women. It takes some treatment time (4 to 6 months), depending on your genetic and environmental factors to start seeing results.
However, it is not a cure for alopecia or baldness and you have to apply this medication regularly and indefinitely to continue enjoying its benefits.
Keep in mind that if you stop using minoxidil, the hair growth benefits you receive will gradually disappear. In contrast, hair transplantation is the only permanent solution to hair loss and rarely requires follow-up procedures.
Do you have any further questions? Then do not hesitate to contact our team who will answer all your questions as well as provide you with a free, no-obligation hair analysis.