29 Jun Minoxidil Explained
According to the NHS, hair loss and baldness can affect men and women of all ages, but today we’re lucky to have a few treatment options that can help ease the stresses of thinning hair.1
Unfortunately, there’s no miracle cure that can suddenly turn a bald scalp into a thick head of hair, but one scientifically proven treatment2 can be used to slow and combat any existing hair loss – more specifically the application of Minoxidil.3
Here we explain what you should know about this treatment and have covered some of the most common questions people ask about how it works and how it can be used.
What is Minoxidil
Minoxidil – sometimes known under the brand name Regain – is a product you can buy to help fight your hair loss. It can come in the form of a liquid solution, spray or foam that you apply directly to your scalp and in some cases as an oral tablet.
Minoxidil is a ‘vasodilator’, which means it is a medication that opens (or dilates) blood vessels.4 So, in treating hair loss, it expands the blood vessels you have in your scalp to create a healthier blood flow to your hair follicles. This subsequently helps boost the follicles that may have weakened and shrunk where your hair has started thinning.
According to PubMed.gov, it is thought that this new blood flow also enriches the follicles with more oxygen and nutrients. Then, when your hair grows out from these and replaces the old hair, it’s much stronger and will look thicker and more luscious.
How long does Minoxidil take to work?
Technically, Minoxidil will start working from the first time you apply it to your scalp..
It works by speeding up the anagen phase of hair growth (first stage of hair growth). This phase can last several years so it can take some time for you to see real visible results. You’ll likely have to wait around four months.5 during this period the Minoxidil will have been working to improve the blood flow to your hair follicles and the supply of nutrients going to your strands of new hair.
There have also been instances where Minoxidil has worked much quicker than expected as it has sped up the hair growth cycle. While in these cases it does cause your initial hair loss to also speed up, the regrowth has then occurred in a shorter time frame.
How do I take Minoxidil?
How you use Minoxidil will depend on the treatment you’re given or recommended by an expert.
The MayoClinic has some detailed guidance. However, as an example, if you were to use the foam, spray and the solution you apply to your scalp, you will typically need to:
- Make sure your hair and scalp are dry
- Apply and gently massage the Minoxidil into the affected areas of your scalp
- Thoroughly wash your hands after you’ve finished applying the Minoxidil
- Allow your scalp to then dry (this can take between two and four hours) and avoid getting your hair wet in this time
- Do not use a hairdryer
The number of times you’ll need to do this on a daily basis6 will depend on the treatment you need, but typically for adults it will be either one or two times daily.
If it’s more than once a day, the interval between the application of Minoxidil will also depend on your recommended dosage, but you’ll most likely be told to use it once in the morning and once in the evening.
People using Minoxidil are also advised to be as consistent as they can with their treatment and to do their best to get into a set application routine. If for whatever reason you accidentally forget to use Minoxidil one day, it’s often recommended that you apply it as soon as you remember and then get back to your routine.6
What are the side effects of Minoxidil?
As we’ve also mentioned above, Minoxidil can make your hair fall out faster if it speeds up your hair growth cycle, but other than this, and according to the NHS, there are a few possible side effects such as:
- Increased body hair growth
- Skin rashes and irritation
- Nausea and vomiting
However, the NHS also highlights that with the relatively small doses given, the risks of side effects is very low.
The final point to consider when using Minoxidil is that it’s unfortunately not something that will cure baldness.7 In other words, if you have lost hair it will not regrow. Minoxidil only replenishes the follicles that are weakening as a result of male, or female, pattern baldness.
You should also note that when you stop using Minoxidil it’s likely your hair will start to thin out again within a matter of weeks, so keeping your treatment routine going is the best way to help keep your hair looking healthier and thicker for longer.
Is Minoxidil right for me?
As you should with any form of medicinal treatment, it’s important to get the thoughts and recommendations of an expert to determine if Minoxidil is the right choice for combatting your hair loss. The NHS recommends various options.
This is where the Fagron TrichoTest could help. In just a few simple steps this test can analyse your genetic coding and your lifestyle and help determine what’s causing your hair loss and which treatment – potentially including Minoxidil – could work best for you.
You can find out more about the Fagron TrichoTest and how it works here.