You can’t fight a battle or win a war without a well-thought-out strategy or plan of attack. Those plans have to take into consideration the battlefield, the nature and strength of the enemy, and the objectives of the battle. All of this also applies to the war against balding and hair loss. If you are losing hair and want to do something about it, you need a plan to prevent any further loss and beat back the forces that are attacking your appearance and self-confidence.
Having a hair loss prevention plan in place can reduce the likelihood of hair loss, slow down or stop hair loss once it starts, and increase the strength and resiliency of your follicles. Implementing such a plan is particularly important for those who are genetically predisposed to hair loss or who have noticed early signs of shedding, thinning, or balding.
There are many ways to attack hair loss, and which way will get optimal results for you will depend on your specific condition as evaluated by a hair loss professional. One common hair loss prevention plan involves the use of the popular hair loss medication Minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine®.
What is Minoxidil and How Does It Work?
In the early 1980s, scientists found that Minoxidil was effective at stimulating new hair growth. Shortly after that, the drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as a topical treatment for male pattern baldness as well as baldness in women.
Minoxidil works by converting vellus hairs, which are short, fine body hairs to terminal hairs – fully developed “regular” hairs thus increasing the size of hair follicles that have been affected by pattern baldness. The drug also prolongs the growth phase of the hair follicle growth cycle, which results in thicker hair.
The drug is typically applied topically to the scalp once or twice each depending on the patient’s condition and the doctor’s recommendation. Application is easily done at home.
How Effective is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is proven to help slow or stop hereditary hair loss in four out of five people. Some patients will even grow new hair after regular use of the medication. Rogaine® for Men Extra Strength usually starts to work and show results after about eight weeks of treatment, while Rogaine® for Men Regular Strength works after up to four months of treatment.
Individual users of Regular Strength Rogaine® have reported success rates of 30-40% while users of Extra Strength Rogaine have seen success rates closer to 50-60%.
Once usage is discontinued, the hair loss which had been slowed or stopped will resume and the “re-growth” hair will most likely fall out.
It’s important to note that Minoxidil is not a cure for baldness. Its real benefits are stopping or slowing hair loss. The drug’s effectiveness depends on how advanced your hair loss has become.
Does Minoxidil Have Side Effects?
Yes, minoxidil can have side effects, but they are usually mild and go away on their own. The most common side effects include:
- Skin irritation: This can include redness, burning, itching, and dryness.
- Scalp irritation: This can include dandruff, flaking, and inflammation.
- Unwanted hair growth: This can happen anywhere on the body, but it is most common on the face and neck.
- Dizziness: This is rare, but it can happen if you take minoxidil orally.
If you experience any side effects from minoxidil, stop using it and talk to your doctor. They can help you decide whether to continue using minoxidil or switch to a different treatment.
Here are some tips for reducing the risk of side effects from minoxidil:
- Start with a low dose and increase it gradually if needed.
- Apply minoxidil to a dry scalp.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying minoxidil.
- Avoid getting minoxidil in your eyes, mouth, or nose.
It is important to note that topical minoxidil is much less likely to cause side effects than oral minoxidil. Oral minoxidil is used to treat high blood pressure, and it can cause serious side effects such as heart problems and fluid retention. Topical minoxidil is absorbed into the bloodstream in much smaller amounts, so it is less likely to cause these side effects.
Overall, minoxidil is a safe and effective treatment for hair loss. The side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. If you are considering using minoxidil, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.
If you’re ready to do something about thinning hair and implement an effective hair loss prevention plan, contact the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222 to receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan.