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  5. Minoxidil For Hair: Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects

Is hair thinning giving you nightmares of complete baldness? Well, you are not alone. Considering today’s fast-paced and stressful life, hair thinning has become a constant companion.

Needless to say, many people are looking for a solution to stop hair thinning. One such highly recommended hair thinning treatment is minoxidil. It is a topically used hair care serum that addresses a range of hair woes. Here, we will discuss all that you need to know about minoxidil and what outcome you can expect from it!

What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a professionally recommended medication for hair care issues. In the 1960s, the medication was first developed to treat high blood pressure. But during studies on its effectiveness, an improvement in hair growth was noted.

It is now used both for treating blood pressure and improving hair growth. [1] In fact, after a few years of research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the topical usage of minoxidil to treat male hair loss. In later years, people started using it for female hair loss as well. Minoxidil topical medication is available as gel, foam or serum. [2]

How Does Minoxidil Work?

To understand how minoxidil works, requires you to understand the core reasons for hair thinning. Hair loss is usually hereditary in nature, and it happens slowly but steadily. Eventually, hair starts thinning and the follicles stop producing new hair. That’s when you start balding.

In males, it is called male pattern baldness as it starts with a pattern. First, the temple area of the head starts thinning and then the crown area. In females, the hair thinning does not follow any particular pattern. Another huge reason for growing hair loss among adults is stress and hypertension.

Minoxidil belongs to a drug family called a vasodilator. It is vastly recommended as a treatment for alopecia related hair loss. It works by broadening your blood vessels and helps oxygen-rich blood to their hair follicles. It shortens the resting phase of your complete hair cycle and increases the anagen or growth cycle. 

How To Use Minoxidil Effectively?

Minoxidil is available in the market in concentrations of 2% and 5% topical solutions. While the original trade name of minoxidil was Rogaine, later different versions of minoxidil have been available in the hair care industry. A clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of 5% and 2% minoxidil concluded that men using 5% concentrated minoxidil experienced 45% better  than the 2% group. [3]

Steps To Follow

1. Comb your hair and divide it into small parts.

2. Apply a small amount, such as 1ml of the product on the scalp.

3. Massage it on your scalp using your fingers.

4. Leave it for at least 4 hours.

5. The best time to use minoxidil is before bedtime or before styling your hair.

What Are The Benefits Of Minoxidil?

1. Boosts Hair Growth

Minoxidil is used for hair growth. Experts say that one can see a visible amount of hair growth, after four months of proper treatment. Studies suggest that 60% to 70% of the patients get a good result after a proper medication of minoxidil. But regrowth of hair on a completely bald scalp is virtually impossible.

2. Increases Hair Density

Minoxidil not only stimulates hair growth but also increases the density of your hair. It means that when you use minoxidil for hair growth, it makes your hair much fuller and healthier.

3. Suits Most Hair Types

Minoxidil is safe for all hair types in general. People with any type of natural hair should not face any major problem while applying minoxidil. However, those with coloured hair may experience mild irritation after using minoxidil.

Who Should Or Should Not Use Minoxidil?

A. People Who Should Use:

1. People above the age of 18 with hair loss issues.

2. People suffering from alopecia related hair loss.

3. People with a family history of baldness.

B. People Who Shouldn’t Use:

1. Those below the age of 18.

2. Pregnant ladies or lactating mothers.

3. People with red, itchy lesions on their scalp.

4. Those who have hair loss due to other medical conditions

5. Hair loss after using certain hair care products.

What Is The Dosage Of Minoxidil?

The dosage of minoxidil for males and females is pretty much the same. If you are using a minoxidil solution, then a 2% or 5% concentration is good enough. Both men and women can apply 1 ml or 20 drops of the serum directly onto the scalp.

If you are using foam, then a 5% concentration of minoxidil is suggested. Similar to the serum, 1 ml for each application is enough for both genders.

Do make sure that the dosage doesn’t cross more than 2 ml within 24 hours. Usually, at least 4 months of constant application is needed for visible results.

What Are The Side Effects Of Minoxidil?

A. Common Side Effects

1. Burning or stinging sensation on the scalp.

2. Scalp irritation

3. Dryness and itching

B. Lesser-Known Side Effects

1. Increased hair fall

2. Inflamed hair follicles

3. Facial swelling

4. Acne breakout

C. Serious Side Effects That Need Medical Attention

1. Unwanted facial or body hair

2. Irregular heartbeat

3. Swelling in fingers or feet

4. Chest pain

5. Dizziness

6. Unexpected weight gain

7. Severe allergic reactions

8. Numbness

How Long Does Minoxidil Take To Work?

The typical progress timeline after minoxidil usage is four months. In most cases, patients start seeing hair growth within four months. One may initially experience increased hair loss after the application. It is just a matter of time when your hair follicles transfer from the resting phase to the active phase. In case, several months of application also does not lead to results or improvement, it is suggested to stop the application and consult a doctor.

Wrapping Up

Minoxidil has proven to be a great help to many for hair growth. It starts working immediately but the actual results take 4 to 6 months to happen. Apart from a few special conditions like lesions on the scalp, pregnancy and coloured hair, minoxidil is safe for everyone. However, be mindful while applying the medication, as too much may cause irritation.

Also, check if you are allergic to any ingredients used in the medication, otherwise, there is a risk of severe allergic reactions. Make sure you consult a doctor if you have any serious side effects after applying minoxidil.

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