Minoxidil Solution is used to stimulate hair growth in the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is not used for baldness at the receding hairline in men or the front of the scalp.  The brand name of Minoxidil is Rogaine.  It will only work where applied.  Although the studies of minoxidil showed hair growth in the crown area, enough evidence suggests that it works everywhere on the scalp.

The 2 percent minoxidil solution is also used to help hair growth in women with thinning hair.  Most men use 5% minoxidil to help facilitate hair growth and it is the most effective.  Minoxidil is available in a foam and topically.  Remember minoxidil only works on the scalp, not the hair.

Minoxidil belongs to the drug category by the name of vasodilators. It is unknown how minoxidil stimulates hair growth.  Minoxidil works by being a potassium channel agonist.  Minoxidil cycles cell out of telogen and push them into a more sustained anagen phase.   Early shedding is normal for patients with minoxidil due to this shift from telogen to anagen.  It takes at least 6 months for most patients to see the effectiveness of minoxidil.

Patients should use minoxidil continuously.  Starting and stopping can lead to unnecessary shedding.  Often times patients will shed during the first 3 months until your body adjusts to it.

Side Effects

  • Allergic contact dermatitis is the most common side effect.
  • A flaky itchy scalp is also common
  • Some patients will notice increased facial hair growth (women)
  • Heart palpitations can occur
  • Minoxidil can make patients hair look oily- this is due to propylene glycol is the main culprit for most of the symptoms seen above.

FAQs

Is all Minoxidil the same? 

As long as the active ingredient is listed and it is bought from a legitimate source minoxidil should be equivalent.

Can Minoxidil be made to be more effective? 

A combination with a retinoic acid can facilitate absorption of the product.

Is oral Minoxidil effective?

It is currently being investigated as a hair loss medication but definitive data is not yet available.

Does Minoxidil help me prior to a hair transplant?

Yes, by shifting more hairs to the anagen phase minoxidil can improve hair graft take.

I can’t take Minoxidil due to irritation?  What can I do? 

Most likely it is due to the polypropylene glycol and switching to a version free of this may solve the issue.  The combination with retinoic acid such as in Formula 82M and Formula 82F can also improve tolerance of the product.