Hair loss isn’t usually anything to be worried about, we normally shed 50-100 hairs a day without even noticing. Common causes for hair loss have been linked with stress, diet, weight loss and vitamin/mineral deficiencies such as iron. It can however be unsettling, especially if the hair loss is more permanent e.g. male and female pattern balding. Minoxidil can help prevent hair loss, read on to find out how.
MINOXIDIL: How it works
The most popular and effective method of treatment for hair loss for both men and women is with the topical use of Minoxidil 5% and 2% respectively. Minoxidil is an antihypertensive vasodilator, originally used to treat individuals with high blood pressure doctors soon realised a number of patients experiencing hair growth.
In order to understand how Minoxidil works, we must first understand the Hair Growth Cycle and it’s 4 stages:
Hair Growth Cycle
The growth phase of the hair cycle, where healthy hair grows roughly half an inch (1.27cm) per month, this usually lasts between 3-5 years.
The transition phase of the hair cycle, this is at the tail end of the anagen phase and lasts an average of 10 days.
The resting phase of the hair cycle, this is where the follicle remains inactive for up to 3 months as new hairs begin to grow.
The new hair phase of the hair cycle, this is where the old inactive hairs from the telogen phase fall out as the new hairs continue to grow.
Now for where Minoxidil fits into this cycle, Minoxidil works by widening the blood vessels which allows for more oxygen, blood and nutrients to reach the hair follicles. This, in turn, leads to an early restart in the Anagen phase rather than follicles waiting to proceed through the entire cycle to begin growth.
MINOXIDIL: How long does it take to see results?
It is important to note that minoxidil isn’t a quick fix and will require topical application twice per day to the affected areas for the foreseeable future.
When application of the topical solution is consistent, it can take up to 4 months to start seeing the benefits of minoxidil and sometimes longer depending on the individual.
What to watch out for when using minoxidil
- Due to the nature of the topical solution, it can lead to shedding of hair around 2 months of use, whereby hair is pushed from the Telogen phase into the Exogen phase allowing for new healthy hair to grow.
- It doesn’t work for everyone. The solution will work best for younger individuals who are just starting to experience hair loss and is less likely to work for individuals who are already bald. In some instances it may only stop hair loss rather than promote new hair growth.
- If you stop the use of minoxidil, hair loss will continue and the hair will begin to thin again.
- The long lasting reliance on minoxidil will in turn lead to it being a costly solution.
Article by V, part of the OS team.