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Minoxidil against Hair Loss: Benefits, Action, Side Effects

What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is the primary treatment for androgenetic alopecia. Its administration enhances hair growth on the scalp and other areas of the body, including the eyebrows and beard. It is available as a topical solution (lotion) or foam or in pills and may also be given as an intradermal injection.

  • It is amongst the top choice treatments for almost every type of hair loss

  • It is a safe treatment, approved by the US FDA and the European Union

  • Available in spot solution, foam, pill and injected versions

  • Effective in hair loss, reducing hair thinning and promoting new hair growth

  • Acts through vasodilation resulting in better oxygenation and nourishment of hair follicles

  • Treatment time varies from 4 to 6 months to start seeing results

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Excellent results in both men and women

Hair loss treatment with minoxidil

It is well known that off-label treatment with injectable minoxidil has excellent results in men. At the same time, the results in women are also impressive. In a 2021 scientific study published in Dermatology Therapy, treatment with minoxidil intradermally with 0.5% injections accelerated hair regrowth in women with androgenetic alopecia. Intradermal injections were administered weekly to 26 patients in the scalp treatment area(s) for 10 consecutive weeks. In 69.2% of patients, there was an increase in anagen hair from 69.9% to 78.5% in just 10 weeks.

Minoxidil’s action against hair loss

A recent five-year clinical study (2021), published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, shows that minoxidil acts through multiple pathways (vasodilator, anti-inflammatory agent, anti-androgen Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction inducer) and may also affect the duration of the anagen and telogen phases of the hair life cycle.

Based on the results of the study, minoxidil 2% shows maximum hair growth in men in the first year with a decrease in subsequent years. Topical minoxidil causes hair regrowth regeneration in both frontal and apical areas. The 5% solution and foam did not differ significantly in efficacy from the 2% solution.

After 6 months of administration, minoxidil in 5 mg/day tablets was significantly more effective than topical 5% and 2% in men with androgenetic alopecia. The low dose of 0.5 – 5 mg/day may lead to a decrease in hair growth in men in the following years. There were no serious side effects. This shows that minoxidil pills are also safe and effective in male and female pattern hair loss.

How to get better and faster results

Minoxidil is the primary medication for patients with androgenetic alopecia, but it is also used to treat other hair disorders such as alopecia gyroid, diffuse alopecia, scarring alopecia, telogen hair loss, traction alopecia and in hair shaft disorders.

To maximize the effectiveness of minoxidil, it is important to follow application instructions and best practices:

  • Apply minoxidil to a clean, dry scalp: This will help ensure that the medication is able to penetrate the skin and reach the hair follicles.
  • Use the recommended amount of minoxidil: Use the dropper provided to measure out the correct amount of medicine and apply it evenly to the treatment areas of the scalp.
  • Massage the scalp after applying minoxidil: Use your fingertips to gently massage the medication into the scalp. This will help improve blood flow to the hair follicles and maximize the effectiveness of the drug.
  • Allow the minoxidil to dry completely: Allow the medication to dry completely before you treat your hair or before going to bed. This will help you avoid transferring the medicine to other areas of the skin or removing it. Do not wash your hair for 4 hours after application.
  • Be consistent with the use of minoxidil: It is important to use the medicine as directed in order to see the best results. If you stop using minoxidil, you may notice a reversal of results.
  • Be patient: It may take up to 4 months to see the first visible results of minoxidil. It is important to be patient and consistent with the instructions for use, even when you do not see immediate results.

By following these best practices, you can help maximize the effectiveness of minoxidil and boost your hair growth.

What you need to know

Use of minoxidil in women

Minoxidil topical is the only drug for female androgenetic alopecia that has received FDA approval. The dosage, method of application and concentration of the drug differ between the sexes due to various factors. However, the underlying mechanism of action and benefits of minoxidil in the treatment of hair loss are similar in men and women,

The concentration of minoxidil solution recommended for women is usually 2%, while men can use a solution of 5% or higher concentration. The lower concentration of minoxidil in women is due to the justification that the symptoms and causes of hair loss in women differ from those in men. Higher concentrations are not necessary for optimal results in female hair loss.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use minoxidil. The safety of the drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding and its effects on the fetus have not been fully documented by scientists.

Minoxidil doses – Instructions for use

The dose of this medication is determined by the medical practitioner and is different from one patient to another.

The optimal dose of minoxidil for the treatment of hair loss may vary depending on several factors, including the severity of hair loss, the formulation of minoxidil used, and individual response to treatment.

For the most commonly used minoxidil 5% topical solution, the most common dose is 1 ml (milliliter) and is applied to the treatment area of the scalp twice a day, 12 hours apart. It is important to use the dropper or spray applicator provided with the medication to ensure accurate dosing.

Some formulations of minoxidil, such as a 2% solution or foam, may have different dosage recommendations, depending on your needs. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your doctor or on the product label.

Caution on overdosing

If you missed a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed, skip the missed dose and take the next one at its normal time.

Do not double the dose to catch up. Note that higher doses of minoxidil do not necessarily lead to better or faster results. On the contrary, overdosing increases the risk of side effects.

Storing the medicine

Minoxidil should be stored at room temperature away from heat. This product is flammable. Keep it away from heat sources and avoid exposure near fire after treatment until the drug is completely dry. Keep the medicine away from children and pets.

Provide a solution to the problem of hair loss

At Cosmetic Derma Medicine, we have many years of experience in minoxidil and other hair loss treatments and our results have often received positive feedback from the scientific community at international conferences. We are capable of identifying the cause of the problem and providing a solution to your problem.

We emphasize hair growth treatments and modern therapies backed by clinical research, treating all types of hair loss with a science-based approach and based on each patient’s problem.