Minoxidil - Treatments For Hair Loss

Minoxidil was first manufactured to treat high blood pressure and was only available as an oral pill called Loniten. Those taking Loniten began to notice a thickening of head and body hair. Eventually, hair growth was listed as a possible side effect of taking the drug.

In the 1980’s, a topical hair loss treatment was released by Upjohn Corporation. This topical treatment was known as Regaine and contained 2% minoxidil. Regaine is now available with minoxidil in 2% or 5% concentrations, including a 5% concentration in the form of a foam. Generally, it is recommended that women receive treatments with 2% minoxidil and men receive treatments with 5% minoxidil.

Regaine has been the most popular hair growth treatment since its release in the 1980’s. While minoxidil’s ability to treat hair loss is not entirely understood, some professionals believe it is because the drug is a potassium channel opener. This means that minoxidil causes hyperpolorization of cell membranes. Another theory is that minoxidil causes dilation of blood vessels around hair follicles. Increasing the blood flow around the follicles will provide additional nutrients that may promote hair growth.

Whatever the reason, those using Regaine with minoxidil experience an increase in hair growth. Studies have shown that the average male will increase the number of hairs per square centimetre by 39. Individuals using the drug usually obtain a much fuller and thicker head of hair.

It is best to begin using Regaine at the first signs of hair loss. Those who have experienced severe balding or large patches of thin or absent hair, may find that Regaine does not significantly improve their hair density. Those using Regaine may experience a rapid increase in hair loss if treatment is ceased after prolonged use.

Minoxidil solutions should be applied to the scalp twice daily and should not be rinsed for at least four hours. It may take a few weeks to a few months after beginning treatment for hair re-growth to begin. New hairs may initially appear light or soft, but will begin to resemble the natural colour and texture with continued use of the product.

Most patients will see hair re-growth within six months of using the product. If no noticeable change has occurred after four months of use, minoxidil may not be the best option. Unfortunately, the drug does not work for everyone. Hair transplant surgeons may recommend alternative treatments for hair re-growth including hair transplantation.

The most common side effect associated with minoxidil is a dry, itchy scalp. Alcohol is contained in the solution and may cause dandruff to occur. Although rare, allergic reactions to minoxidil or the inactive ingredients may occur.

Patients with heart disease or heart related illnesses should consult a physician before beginning minoxidil treatments. It is possible for minoxidil to negatively effect the heart in patients with these conditions.

A surprising, yet common, side effect of minoxidil is hair loss. The drug encourages hairs reaching the telogen phase of hair loss to shed. The shed hairs may re-grow with continued minoxidil treatments, but manufacturers of Regaine do not guarantee re-growth.

Guide to Treatments For Hair Loss

Treatments For Hair Loss Intro

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