What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil works to stimulate the scalp promoting hair growth. It was originally merchandised as a medication to lower blood pressure as an antihypertensive vasodilator medication, however, when the high-blood pressure patients complained of the unwelcome side-effect of sporadic hair growth, researchers jumped at the prospect of a solution to hair loss and created a topical solution of Minoxidil to potentially cure balding.
Used and adored worldwide by men and women alike, Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp once or twice daily for a minimum of 6 months, gradually enhancing the cell proliferation and strengthening the hair follicles. Typically, patients experience hair growth within the first four months of treatment and thus if successful, can continue the treatment long-term which gives them a new lease on locks and life!
So how does it work? Well, the system by which Minoxidil encourages hair growth isn’t completely understood by scientists… yet! But basically, we believe that it widens the blood vessels which open the potassium channels resulting in more oxygen, blood and nutrients to access and nourish the hair follicle. In turn, this encourages the follicle to produce thicker hairs, thus stopping hair loss in its tracks and re-growing new strands!
The results of Minoxidil are revolutionary, although the medication does have some low risk and unlikely side-effects. Some patients may experience an itchy scalp, whereas others may develop dermatitis. Extra unwanted hair can sprout in other body areas, such as on the arms, lower back and perhaps the chest; however, the pros of Minoxidil by far outweigh the cons. Saying that, if you are using Minoxidil and experience any of the following; hives, breathing problems, chest constriction or pain, swelling of the face, rash, light-headedness or heart pain – discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention.
Minoxidil typically comes with instructions, and it is important that you read them fully before applying the treatment. However, the application procedure is quick, simple and easy and will entail something similar to the following instructions;
- Ensure that your hair and scalp are thoroughly dry before applying.
- Apply the dosage prescribed to the area of the scalp being treated, starting in the middle of the bald spot – Follow your specific instructions on how to apply the solution.
- Refrain from shampooing your hair for at least four hours after applying Minoxidil.
- Promptly wash your hands to remove any medication after application.
- Allow your scalp to dry naturally; do not use a hairdryer. Using a hairdryer on the scalp may tamper with the treatment.
- Give Minoxidil approximately two to four hours drying time after applying it, including before going to bed. Minoxidil may stain clothing, hats, or bed sheets if your scalp is not fully dry after using it.
Again, please refer to your doctor’s instructions or medicine leaflet before applying this treatment. Once administered frequently, Minoxidil is highly likely to block further balding and produce new hairs on your scalp. Nevertheless, if you stop using Minoxidil, you will return to your pre-Minoxidil appearance. Therefore, it is important to maintain treatment if you wish to keep your new full head of hair.
Although research shows that Minoxidil is less successful in older men who have experienced hair loss for more than five years, and men who have large bald spots, the results vary from patient to patient and Minoxidil typically has a 40% success rate; could you be in that 40% of newly hairy men?
Minoxidil can be purchased over the counter for treatment of hair loss and is highly recommended by patients, doctors and researchers alike. Furthermore, there are also alternative natural remedies such as saw palmetto which can have an effect on hair loss, as well as hair transplants and certain surgeries.