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How Does Minoxidil Work For Hair Loss

What Is Minoxidil & How Does It Promote Hair Growth

Frontal Hair Loss – Does Minoxidil Work?

Minoxidil is a vasodilator, meaning its designed to dilate blood vessels and improve the flow of blood to certain areas of your body.

Although its mechanism of action isnt exactly known, it is believed that when applied topically in the form of a serum or foam, minoxidil interacts with scalp sulfotransferase, which converts it into minoxidil sulfate which is thought to be the active form of minoxidil.

From there, it shortens your hairs telogen phase , and pushes it into the anagen phase prematurely, and even extends the growth period of hair, making your hair grow longer and thicker.

Unlike finasteride, which works by reducing the levels of DHT in your bloodstream, minoxidil has no known effect on your hormones. Its best to think of minoxidil as a local solution that can help improve your hair growth, whilefinasteride is designed to shield your follicles from DHT.

One of the most common misconceptions about minoxidil is that its only effective on the scalp and crown. Many people are convinced that minoxidil isnt effective for preventing frontal hair loss around the hairline.

Yes It’s Normal To Lose More Hair When You Start Minoxidil

The beginning of any hair loss treatment regimen can feel like your moment. After seeing your hair do nothing but fall out, youre finally taking matters into your hands and putting an end to it. Many guys turn to minoxidil, a topical solution thats proven to stop hair loss and even regrow hair for some men.

The problem with minoxidil? Its not an instant cure for male pattern baldness. Most men dont start seeing results for the first 4-6 months of treatment. In fact, some guys even see their hair fall out in even larger quantities in the first few months of their treatment. This increased hair loss is referred to as minoxidil shedding, and its an infamous term among men starting minoxidil.

The good news? This is expected. Its a significant indicator that youre on your way to growing new and healthier hair. At first glance, this might not make a lot of sense. So we talked to one of our Keeps advisors to understand how this all works.

The Strengths Of Minoxidil

There are two different strengths of minoxidil that you will often see. These are: 2% and 5% solutions, though you may find 10% solutions. Each of these strengths has different advantages and disadvantages. The higher the percentage of the solution, the more concentrated the minoxidil is.

The 2% and 5% have been around the longest, have had the most studies done on them, and are the only two approved by the FDA. However, based on the studies that compared the 2% with the 5% minoxidil, it is reasonable to assume that the 10% minoxidil may be even better.

One study done on these two in 2002, for example, used hundreds of participants and lasted 48 weeks. After establishing a baseline, the subjects were examined every 4 weeks. At every test, the 5% minoxidil solution came out on top.

A similar study of these two minoxidil strengths was done in 2004, this time with women instead of men. Like before, the 5% minoxidil solution did better. Therefore, while neither of these has been compared in a study to the 10%, it stands to reason the latter would give even better results.

However, this is not to say the results of 10% minoxidil will be twice the results of 5% minoxidil. This is the law of diminishing returns. At some point the results will plateau, increasing the risks without increasing the benefits.

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Does Minoxidil Actually Work

The topic of thinning hair is a persistent issue for many ages and demographics. Thats why there has been a wide range of research conducted, aiming to figure out whether minoxidil works to reduce hair thinning. Studies show minoxidil does provide positive results with regards to hair loss. 40% of men stated that they found their hair was regrowing with the use of Minoxidil. This is a great result for those experiencing pattern baldness or hair thinning.

Just how much Minoxidil works for you may depend on your age. In one study, it was found that men under 40 respond better to treatment with Minoxidil. This may be due to the fact that some of the hair follicles in younger individuals are not yet so irreversibly damaged.

While some of this research may seem male-centric, this is because it is usually men that suffer from pattern baldness with age. Fortunately, more research is now being conducted that involves women and Minoxidil.

Serum Concentrations With Oral Minoxidil Are About 20

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It is not surprising that blood levels of minoxidil are higher when you take it orally, but the key question is how much higher? First, its important to understand the there is some systemic absorption of minoxidil even in users of topical minoxidil. Its just that its very low. About 99 % of users of topical minoxidil have blood levels less than 2-5 ng/mL. However, some patients using topical minoxidil occassionally do acheive much higher levels or minoxidil in the blood – even levels up to 21 ng/mL. Fortunately that is uncommon. Concentrations of minoxidil higher than 5 % may increase absorption. Topical medications like topical retinoids and topical cortisones can increase absorption of minoxidil for example. The serum concentration of minoxidil is about 20-30 times higher with use of oral minoxidil than topical minoxidil.

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Oral Minoxidil: New Treatment For Male And Female Baldness: New Use Of An Old Drug

3 Dec 2019

What is oral minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a drug originally used to treat high blood pressure. Interestingly, it was found that one of the side effects of the medicine is to increase hair growth, so it was then used as a topical treatment for Androgenetic alopecia many years ago.

The use of topical minoxidil is the only approved treatment for female pattern hair loss, in other words, female baldness. It is also one of the only 2 approved treatments for male baldness.

Finasteride is the other approved treatment in men. Clinicians also use it in other hair disorders such as in telogen effluvium, in alopecia areata, in traction alopecia and others. Topical minoxidil is available in 2% and 5%, both as a lotion and foam.

Oral minoxidil is only approved for high blood pressure but has been used off-label in some hair disorders too over the last few years.

How does oral minoxidil work?

How it works is not fully understood, but it is probably due to the increased blood flow to the roots of the hairs. This makes hair longer and thicker and stops it from falling out.

When can you use oral minoxidil?

In several cases, people may find that the use of topical versions can make their hair greasy, fuzzy and it is not uncommon to develop irritation of the scalp along with associated itching and a burning sensation.

There are also reports of patients who become allergic to it.

Is oral minoxidil safe?

Who should not use oral minoxidil?

How should oral minoxidil be taken?

Krox20 Protein Scf Gene

Researchers from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have identified a protein called KROX20, which switches on cells in the skin and tells them to become hair. Furthermore, these hair precursor cells then go on to produce a protein called stem cell factor , which plays a critical role in hair pigmentation.

When the SCF gene was deleted in the hair precursor cells in mice, they grew gray hair that turned white with age. Moreover, when the KROX20-producing cells were removed, the hair ceased growing, and the mice became bald.

With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems, said Dr. Lu Le, associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern.

Future work by the team will focus on finding out whether KROX20 and the SCF gene stop functioning properly and lead to male pattern baldness.

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Answer: Minoxidil 5% For Hair Loss

Yes it does,Minoxidil or Rogaine is one of FDA approved medications for hair loss. Although it is available over the counter, I always recommend the patients to use it after seeing a hair loss doctors and preferably after mapping their scalp hair miniaturization. This microscopic evaluation determines the level of your active hair loss that shows whether or not minoxidil can help your condition.

Medical Conditions And Health Concerns

Does Rogaine Really Work For Mens Hair Loss?

There are certain medical conditions that you should be hyper-aware of if you are interested in taking minoxidil. Depending on your health and the form of minoxidil you plan on using, you should consider consulting with your doctor first.

During this consultation, you should tell your doctor if you have had any chest pains, any recent heart attack, any problems with your kidneys, asthma, migraines or headaches, or if you are prone to epilepsy or have another seizure disorder.

Any one of these conditions can potentially increase the risk of taking minoxidil. This is why you should talk to your doctor about it. Also, there has been no proof that minoxidil is safe to take while pregnant. However, it has been proven that minoxidil can pass into breastmilk and can harm a baby.

If you have pheochromocytoma, which is an adrenal gland tumor, then you should definitely not be taking any form of minoxidil. The three other main conditions that mean you should avoid minoxidil are: fluid retention/congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and renal failure/dialysis.

Finally, it is entirely possible to have an allergic to minoxidil. If you have never used anything with minoxidil before, you should test some of the minoxidil out on a small area of skin. The inside of your forearm is a great place for this.

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Body Hair Increase Side Effect

Another major recent news story regarding oral Minoxidil also comes from Spain in August 2019. Apparently, 17 infant children were mistakenly given oral Minoxidil instead of heartburn medication.

Over a year after the medical error, families of some children are complaining that the body hair keeps growing. Also from Spain, a September 2020 study on low-dose oral Minoxidil and hypertrichosis.

The children subsequently developed a condition called werewolf syndrome in which large parts of their bodies become covered in hair. This condition is also referred to as hypertrichosis.

Luckily, the body hair will disappear a few months after the children stop taking oral Minoxidil. Above photo is from the video of this shocking news story.

Where Can You Get Minoxidil

Because Minoxidil is not a prescription treatment for hereditary hair loss, it is not available for free on the NHS. It can, however, be bought in many high street pharmacies . Most pharmacies will offer Regaine but certain pharmacies will also offer other brands of Minoxidil, such as Kirkland. In some cases pharmacies will also have an own-brand Minoxidil on their shelves. It is up to you which brand of Minoxidil you use, however you may find that price is a factor.

It is standard for a one-months supply of Minoxidil to cost between £20 and £30, depending on the brand and the strength of the solution. This price will go down if you buy in bulk .

It is important to speak to your doctor before you start using Minoxidil. This is because over-the-counter Minoxidil such as Regaine is only licensed for use on hereditary hair loss . If you are experiencing hair loss of another kind, then treatment with Minoxidil may not be suitable.

However as above, Minoxidil has been proven to be effective in 60% of men with male pattern baldness.


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Who Gets The Best Results From Rogaine

Rogaine is applied to the scalp to help grow hair and prevent hair loss caused by male or female pattern baldness. This is the most common type of hair loss and runs in families.

Rogaine works best in people with hereditary hair loss at the vertex of the scalp or for women with general thinning of hair on the top of the scalp. Rogaine isnt meant for a receding hairline or baldness at the front of your scalp.

Rogaine has been shown to be most effective in people under 40 years old and for those who start using it at the first signs of hair loss. It wont help people whove already gone completely bald.

Dont use Rogaine if any of the following apply:

  • You dont have a family history of hair loss.
  • Your hair loss comes on suddenly and falls out in patches.
  • Youre under the age of 18.
  • Your scalp is red, itchy, infected, or painful to touch.
  • Your hair loss is caused by hair products, chemicals, or hair grooming methods like cornrowing.
  • Your hair loss is caused by another condition, like a thyroid disease or alopecia areata, nutritional deficiencies, scarring of the scalp, or medications, such as chemotherapy.

If you have heart disease, see your doctor before trying Rogaine.

Stages Of Hair Growth Miniaturization

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Hair is made up of the hair follicle and the shaft . In the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, cells divide and grow to produce the hair shaft, which is made from a protein called keratin. Papilla that surround the bulb contain tiny blood vessels that nourish the hair follicles and deliver hormones to regulate the growth and structure of the hair.

Hair follicles, much like all cells, have cycles. A natural part of the cycle involves shedding around 50 to 100 hairs per day.

Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years and then takes a break for several months. While the hair follicle is in its rest phase, the hair falls out. There are around 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time and others produce hairs, hair loss is usually unnoticeable. More noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption to the growth and shedding cycle, or if the hair follicle is obliterated and replaced with scar tissue.

Scientists now understand that pattern baldness occurs through a phenomenon known as miniaturization. Some hair follicles appear to be genetically oversensitive to the actions of dihydrotestosterone , which is a hormone that is converted from testosterone with the help of an enzyme held in the follicles oil glands.

The only two drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss are minoxidil and finasteride .

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Adverse Reactions And Side Effects

Unfortunately, oral minoxidil has wide and rapid tissue distribution. The major consequence of this pharmacologic process is that you may experience hair regrowth in unwanted areas of the body such as the face, chest, and legs. While this may be a dream come true for most men, it may be an unwanted side effect for women since most women dread body hair.

What is more oral minoxidil has some unique side effects and can even lower blood pressure if taken in high doses.

Additional side effects include:

  • swelling of hands and feet
  • fatigue
  • difficulty in breathing

Interactions with other medications

Minoxidil can interact with other medications and either reduce their effectiveness or worsen their side effects. This is why you should be careful using oral minoxidil if you have a pre-existing medical condition for which you are receiving treatment.

While this article does not list all the drugs that interact with minoxidil, you should rely on your doctorâs advice before deciding on using oral minoxidil with another medication simultaneously. A few examples of drugs not to use with oral minoxidil are metronidazole, guanethidine, and disulfiram.


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