Is Minoxidil a Viable Option for Hair Loss?
With so many different options available on the market for stopping hair loss and promoting hair growth, it can be difficult for the consumer to wade through all the misinformation and come away with something that actually works. The hair growth industry in the United States takes in about four billion dollars annually (over twelve billion dollars globally) so there are numerous companies trying to grab your money and offer you hair growth products. Let’s take a look at one that actually has the research completed to back up their claims about hair regrowth.
Brief History of Minoxidil
Interestingly enough, minoxidil was never meant to be associated with hair loss. The FDA originally approved minoxidil in 1979 as a way to treat high blood pressure. But science has a tendency to find other uses for medication that are not always listed on the label.
One of the “side effects” listed for minoxidil was hair growth. Not just hair growth on parts of the body, but actually on top of the head. Don’t you wish more drugs had a similar side effect? In any case, it was not much longer before doctors started prescribing minoxidil to their balding patients in an effort to keep the hair they had and regrow some of the hair that they had lost.
In 1988, minoxidil was officially recognized by the FDA as a drug to treat baldness in men. Branded as Rogaine, it was available only with a prescription and was priced on the high side. By 1989, it was already raking in a billion dollars worldwide. The company Upjohn had the patent and were the only ones producing the amazing hair growth drug. In 1991, they even started a brand just for women as well. The amount of money Upjohn was raking in was astounding. They were the only supplier for the huge demand around the globe.
However, by 1996, generic forms of minoxidil were introduced onto the market and now there are numerous companies that produce the drug. Plus, it is available over the counter and without a prescription. In fact, for about five dollars a month, almost everyone can now afford minoxidil.
Does Minoxidil Work for Everyone?
If minoxidil could grow back hair for everyone and make us all look like teenagers again, it would be a miracle. But it can’t. In a large study conducted in 1987 that originally got the drug approved for treating hair loss, only 40 percent of the men grew moderate hair on the crown of their head. About 62 percent reported there was less hair loss happening than before.
Minoxidil mostly does not work for regrowing a hairline or hair on the front of the scalp. It is only meant to regrow hair on the crown of the head. If you are almost completely bald, minoxidil is not going to be for you. Instead you should probably invest in a razor, take it all off, and hit the weights. It seems to be a good look nowadays. However, if you start it early enough while you still have a decent hairline, you could keep that hair in place instead of having it go down the drain. At five dollars a month, it could be worth it.
The Negatives Associated with Minoxidil Use
Just like with any medication, there are going to be certain side effects resulting from minoxidil use. Scalp irritation is one that happens often, as the liquid solution can bother the scalp a bit since there the drug contains alcohol. There is also a chance of weight gain, dizziness, swelling of hands and feet, or even chest pain. But the chances of these things happening are slim.
Probably the biggest negative with using minoxidil is the need to apply it in the morning and at night. It can make styling your hair in the morning a bit difficult until you get a routine in place. Putting it on at night before you go to bed is not that big of a hassle. To make it easier, you should use the 5 percent minoxidil foam instead of the liquid. Just be certain you are getting it on the scalp and it is not absorbing into the hair instead.
It does take three to six months of use before you can see noticeable results (if you achieve any at all). Plus, you will have to continue to use it for a lifetime. As soon as you stop using minoxidil, you can lose the new hair that you regrew and your hair loss will start all over again in months.
Is Minoxidil Right for You?
As far as hair loss drugs, minoxidil is pretty simple to use and does not have many serious side effects. Of course, the monotony of having to use it twice a day can become a bit much, but if it helps you keep and regrow your hair, it will be worth it. The cost is not a factor either at approximately five dollars a month.
However, keep in mind that it only regrows a moderate amount of hair for about 40 percent of men and only in the crown area. Still, you won’t know how you will react to it until you actually give it a try. Just be ready to make the commitment of using it for a lifetime if it does provide the results you are after. If you don’t, your hair loss will continue just like before.
If you are interested in perhaps boosting the effects of minoxidil and attacking hair loss in a completely different way, you should look at adding a laser cap to your daily routine. You only need to use it every other day for about 30 minutes and the low-level laser therapy will help stop your hair loss within months and will help you start to regrow hair possibly around the six-month mark. Combined with minoxidil, the effects could be much quicker and the results could be better.