Is your hair still thinning despite taking hair growth supplements? Are you worried about getting bald in your 30s? You are not the only one wondering about answers to these questions. 

Many people, especially women, are worried about thinning hair and getting bald despite following their hair care routine religiously. To solve this problem, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved a medicine called Minoxidil, which is most commonly advised for hair loss and thinning issues. 

Read on to know more about this magic pill and how it can help you. 

What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil was the first FDA approved medication for hair loss. It was originally developed to treat high blood pressure but later studies proved that it is suitable for treating hair loss in both males and females. 

It is available in oral (tablets and capsules) and topical (shampoo, foam etc.) forms. This article focuses more on the topical forms of minoxidil.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

Minoxidil works in 4 ways:

  • Reverses the miniaturisation of follicles (hair follicles make thin strands of hair) by increasing their diameter and length.

  • Increases blood flow around follicles.

  • Promotes growth by stimulating follicle movement.

  • Extends each follicle growth phase (a phase in the hair life cycle).

How to Use Minoxidil Properly?

Topical minoxidil only works when applied properly to your scalp, i.e., it does not work on the hair per se. While applying minoxidil, keep the following things in your mind:

  • It can work in areas with miniaturised hair (where the area is not totally bald).

  • It will work in the front part of your scalp and temples (area behind your ears) if that area has just started thinning.

  • It can be applied on a damp scalp when you get out of the shower, or as directed by your doctor.

  • For minoxidil to be effective, it must be used regularly. You may experience shedding in the first 3 to 6 months of usage. This generally is an indication that medicine is working, so do not stop the medication if you experience this. Consult your dermatologist in case of doubt.

  • A few rare side effects of minoxidil are scalp irritation, lightheadedness/dizziness, increased facial hair (in case it is dribbling on your forehead while applying on the scalp). If you experience any of these side effects, please discontinue and consult your dermatologist. 

Who Should Not Use Minoxidil?

You should not use minoxidil if you are:

  • Allergic to it.

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Taking high blood pressure medications.

  • Taking other medicines/treatments for hair loss.

How Long Does Minoxidil Take to Show Results?

Minoxidil, when applied topically, can take some time to show significant results. It can take around 8 weeks to a year to see the results. The results of minoxidil also depend on the quality and type of your hair. It usually takes more time on coloured/pre-treated hair as compared to natural hair. 

As hair loss is complicated and can be caused by a variety of causes such as stress, hormonal changes, diseases, certain diets, and rapid weight reduction, it is best to get expert help if you notice significant hair loss. 

A dermatologist can determine what's causing your hair loss and may suggest topical minoxidil in conjunction with vitamin D and dietary supplements to restore your hair's lustre, growth, and fullness.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.