The pharmaceutical formulation minoxidil is a vasodilating drug that was initially used to treat hypertension. It causes the blood vessels to widen allowing more blood to flow through the cardiovascular system. However, use of minoxidil showed up an interesting side effect: body hair grew thicker during treatment with the drug.
Male pattern baldness is essentially caused by the buildup of dihydrotestosterone in the hair follicles, which restricts blood supply, causes the hair to thin out and starve and eventually fall out. Over the longer term this causes hair loss and baldness. The vasodilating effect of minoxidil opens up the blood vessels and improves nutrient uptake that can stimulate hair regrowth. Thus minoxidil has been found effective in combating male and female pattern baldness. Some scientists are also of the opinion that minoxidil has the capability of modulating certain hair-related activities in calcium channels pathways that stimulates hair growth.
Minoxidil is an FDA approved formulation and in many countries around the world and can be purchased over the counter without the need for a doctor’s prescription. It is also sold under the names Rogaine and Regaine. Minoxidil is available as a topical solution or as foam, in either 2% or 5% strength.
Though many clinical studies have shown 50% effectiveness for men and 44% for women who used minoxidil, surveys have indicated that over 80% of the men using the drug experience a positive difference in terms of hair growth while using the pharmaceutical.
Minoxidil, sold as a topical 5% solution in alcohol for men and 2% solution for women, can be applied by gently rubbing on the scalp. It is recommended that 1.5 to 2 ml be applied on the scalp daily. Minoxidil 5% solution is sold under many brand names, but essentially they are all the same. Some of the common brands available in the United States are Men’s Rogaine, Women’s Rogaine, Med Minoxidil, etc. The pricing is also purportedly competitive.
Fast results have been observed in men and women when hair loss is identified and the minoxidil is applied early enough. It has been seen that it works well for hair loss prevention than as treatment for reversal of hair loss. The treatment produces results when used continuously. A noticeable change is usually seen in about four to six months of continuous use of minoxidil. Hair loss is seen to recur if the treatment is stopped. Thus the treatment is most recommended for those with minor hair loss who want to turn it around.
Minoxidil can be used by both men and women.
When minoxidil is directly applied to the skin, some side effects such as itching and peeling may occur. There may also be a rise in acne.
Vision problems and decreased libido have been cited in some cases.
Decreased results have been seen in older men.
Rogaine (minoxidil) for Alopecia: This product brought new growth. It took a little while but have regrown hair back and front. I was having great anxiety over hair loss because I am only 22, however I feel so much better and look like my old self again. Would recommend.
Rogaine Women’s (minoxidil) for Alopecia: Fantastic- you can no longer see my scalp in the front. I am going to try it on my eyebrows! It’s not often a product works as promised- but it did for me. I lost hair at 50 and am now 54. I will continue to use Rogaine for women.