Hair Minoxidil

Hair Minoxidil

Minoxidil or to use the brand name Rogaine is a hair loss drug which is prescribed for male pattern baldness. It is available as a lotion and is rubbed onto the scalp in order to stimulate the hair follicles into growing new hair.

It prevents the shrinkage of the hair follicles, often caused by excess amounts of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is a by-product, caused by the effect of 5-alpha reductase (an enzyme) on the male hormone testosterone which leads to hair loss. Too much DHT over-stimulates the hair follicles, which weakens them and causes them to fail. The end result is hair loss in the form of male pattern baldness.

Minoxidil does not affect DHT and is used to treat both male and female pattern baldness. But it is particularly effective in women who have a better response to this drug compared to men.

It is also used as preparation for a hair transplant.

How does Minoxidil work?

Minoxidil extends hair in the growing or 'anagen' stage of the hair growth cycle which means longer, thicker hair. So you end up with hair which is denser rather than an increased number of individual hairs.

It takes around 4 to 6 months before you see any results.

You apply Minoxidil twice a day to your scalp in the morning and later on in the evening. It is a good idea to apply this straight after having a bath or shower as it will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Minoxidil is useful for stimulating hair growth and is cheaper than many other forms of treatment. It is available online or via a private prescription. Follow the instructions carefully.

Side effects of Minoxidil

Minoxidil is safe and effective but like any medication it does have side effects which are:

  • Irritation in or around the scalp
  • Hyper-sensitive skin especially when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Skin rashes
  • Heart palpitations

Minoxidil is a longer course of treatment than Finasteride which some patients find time consuming and annoying. Plus it is considered less effective than Finasteride.