Minoxidil

MinoxidilMinoxidil was originally developed to lower blood pressure (when taken by mouth) but it had the side effect of increasing hair growth.

Lotions containing Minoxidil have been demonstrated scientifically to slow down hair loss and to strengthen existing hair. It is the only treatment that has been proven effective in women. Minoxidil was originally believed to help hair by improving the circulation in the scalp. It is now known that it has direct effects on hair cells and it causes a longer Anagen i.e. growing phase in the growth cycle. That in turn can slow down hair loss, and cause existing hairs to grow thicker, longer, and darker to improve the fullness of the appearance of the hair.

Within six to twelve months of stopping the use of Minoxidil, however, any benefits gained during the course of treatment will be lost and it will be as if Minoxidil were never used.

Many hair transplant doctors believe that Minoxidil, when used post operatively after hair transplantation, speeds up the onset of transplanted hair re-growth. The transplanted hair is not dependent on Minoxidil and will last long after the Minoxidil has been stopped.

In many locations, Minoxidil is available without a prescription, over-the-counter. There are two strengths of Minoxidil. 5 percent Minoxidil has been shown to be more effective than 2 percent Minoxidil but approximately 6 percent of people who use 5 percent Minoxidil stop it due to side effects whereas about 2 percent of people who use 2 percent Minoxidil stop it.

The most common side effects of Minoxidil are skin irritation including any or all of redness, itching, or flaking. Rarely, women who use Minoxidil on their scalp notice increased facial hair that resolves completely once the Minoxidil is stopped. If excessive amounts of Minoxidil are used and/or Minoxidil is applied to wet skin, Minoxidil can be absorbed into the blood stream and can lower the blood pressure which can give rise to other effects such as headaches or dizziness or even feeling faint on rising. Rarely, in sensitive people who use excessive dosages of Minoxidil, palpitations and/or swollen ankles can occur.

It is extremely rare, if ever, for Minoxidil, by itself, to produce as much of a cosmetic improvement as hair transplantation. Minoxidil, however, can be used in conjunction with hair transplantation.

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