Minoxidil and Hair Shedding – See the Connection

Minoxidil, which is also known by the name Rogaine, is a popular hair restoration treatment for people that suffer from thinning hair on the scalp. Minoxidil is available as foam or a gel and it is designed to be applied to the scalp (topically) on a daily basis. Some of the people that start taking the product might notice they are starting to lose more hair, instead of restoring it, for a small amount of time.

Many patients ask…”Am I supposed to lose hair when I start taking minoxidil?” Let’s examine how minoxidil works in order to get the answer to that question.

Minoxidil – How it Works

How Minoxidil worksMinoxidil was first developed in order to treat hypertension in patients. It was noted by many researchers that patients that used minoxidil for hypertension, who also suffered from alopecia, experienced hair regrowth.

While minoxidil is a very popular hair regrowth treatment, it should be noted that it does not work for everyone. Minoxidil is classified as a vasodilator which means it opens the blood vessels of patients so blood can flow more easily where it is applied. The increase in the amount of blood circulation to the scalp might be one of the reasons minoxidil is able to increase the amount of hair growth enjoyed by a person.

Minoxidil and the Cycles of Hair Growth – See the Connection

The hair growth cycles include the growth phase (anagen) and the resting phase (telogen).

During the growth phase, the application of minoxidil to the scalp might play a part in extending the length of the anagen phase of the hair.

In clinical trials conducted on rats, it was shown that minoxidil worked to shorten the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle from 20 days to only one or two days.

Minoxidil and Hair Shedding

How does minoxidil affect hair sheddingWhile minoxidil does have some rather mild side effects like itching and flaky skin, it can also cause the hair of a person to shed when the product is first used by a person. Just as minoxidil can cause the resting phase of the hair to occur quicker than normal, the product can also cause the hair of a person to fall out at a quicker pace.

Patients should not worry as minoxidil does extend the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Even though a person might experience some shedding of the hair when they first start using the product, there should be some new hair growth that will help to replace the hair that was lost due to the hair fall.

The amount of hair shedding experienced by a person varies per individual. Some people will see some severe shedding of the hair while others will have little to no hair shedding at all. At the moment, there are no concrete numbers or statistics to show how many people do, or don’t, experience shedding of the hair once they start to use minoxidil.

As mentioned earlier, there is no guarantee that minoxidil will work for everyone which means the results vary per person. In general, it can take about two months to see results if the product is used on a consistent/daily basis. Around four months after consistent use of the product has started, a person should begin to see more hair growth and less hair loss.

After four months of minoxidil use, any hair shedding might not be related to the product. This can also means that a person might not be an ideal candidate for the use of minoxidil.

Minoxidil – Doctor Consultation

Patients that are experiencing severe hair shedding, or are not seeing the results they desire from minoxidil, should consult with a doctor about continued use of the product. The doctor can examine your scalp in order to determine the cause of the hair loss. In addition, the doctor can identify the reasons for the positive or negative results from the use of minoxidil so it can be decided if the continued use of it on the scalp will help to generate hair regrowth.

Hair loss is not always an easy topic for patients to discuss but a doctor that is board-certified and experienced in treating hair loss/performing hair transplants can address any questions or concerns on the part of the patient.

If the person is not an ideal candidate for the use of minoxidil to promote hair regrowth, a hair transplant might be the best option to achieve the desired hairline. A hair transplant provides natural looking results that last a lifetime and uses donor hair from the body of the patient that will be implanted into the balding area of the scalp. The doctor will need to examine the patient to determine if the person is in good health and can undergo surgical hair restoration. The doctor will also need to make sure the patient has enough quality donor hair on the scalp or the body to successfully provide the desired final results when it comes to hair regrowth.

– MA