Hair thinning can be a troubling and embarrassing issue for both men and women, with male pattern baldness affecting around one-third of all men. Minoxidil is a proven medication for hair regrowth and loss prevention in males that requires ongoing use and is therefore deemed safe for long-term use.
Why Minoxidil is useful
By the age of 50, 85% of men will experience noticeable hair thinning, and male pattern baldness is the cause of around 90% of male hair loss.
To combat this, Minoxidil is a treatment that has helped many men regain their confidence, as well as their hair. Minoxidil is an active ingredient proven to help stimulate hair follicles that has been successful for both regrowth and for hair loss prevention. When it comes to hair loss prevention, up to 4-in-5 men have found that Minoxidil halts hair loss, and it’s most beneficial for hair loss at the top of the scalp.
The science behind Minoxidil
The ingredient was initially produced in the late 1950s for the treatment of ulcers, and although unsuccessful for its intended purpose, it was branded Minoxidil in 1963 and went on to treat high blood pressure in 1979. By 1988, it had become an approved over-the-counter product to treat baldness.
When it comes to the science behind the success of Minoxidil, which is classed as an antihypertensive vasodilator, there are two main possible mechanisms of action. The first is that Minoxidil dilates the blood vessels around the hair follicles, allowing for more nutrients to be supplied to the follicle and thus stimulating them to prompt hair growth.
The second possible mechanism is that Minoxidil enhances the synthesis of follicular DNA by boosting the production of sulfonyl transfers. In turn, this boosts the activity of potassium in cells and thus hair growth.
The Minoxidil range
Both Rogaine 5% foam and Kirkland Minoxidil 5% foam can be bought in different amounts, such as for 1, 3, 4 or 12 months. Rogaine Topical 5% liquid solution and Kirkland Minoxidil 5% extra strength liquid provide an alternative to foam, and are both supplied in dropper bottles.
Side effects of Minoxidil
Side effects are rare, and many men will use Minoxidil with great success. As with any product, however, side effects are possible and you should carefully read the information leaflet supplied with the product and consult your GP if you have any concerns. Minor side effects may include redness or a stinging sensation where the product is applied.
In serious but very rare cases, the product may lead to an irregular heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness and chest pain if it is absorbed through the skin’s barrier, and users should consult their GP straight away. Signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, a rash or problematic breathing, are also rare but medical attention should be sought immediately.
Can I use Minoxidil long term?
Minoxidil products that require twice-daily use will often show results around the two-month mark; however, it can take up to 4 months for a visible benefit. The time taken for results to show and the amount of hair regrowth varies by individual.
It is suggested that, in the unfortunate event of not seeing any regrowth after 4 months, you should stop treatment. However, many men will have success with Minoxidil and it’s important to continue using it as otherwise hair loss will reoccur. Minoxidil is part of a daily regimen and hair follicles will need to be cared for continually to ensure regrowth and to prevent further loss.
Analytical Research Labs Inc. (ARL), reputable and highly respected in the field of hair tissue mineral analysis, have provided certified laboratory test results for the success of Minoxidil. However, Minoxidil primarily works for hair loss at the top of the scalp.
Minoxidil is the only active ingredient in these treatments and therefore success rates are sometimes lower than alternative treatments that include more than one active ingredient, such as DHT blockers, vitamins and minerals.
There are, however, many positive reviews of Minoxidil and studies have shown it to be successful for approximately two-thirds of trial participants.
Many users will go on to use Minoxidil for several years with hair regrowth and no side effects. After approximately 15 years of continual use, however, some users may find that it no longer provides the same results and that hair loss returns.