Imagine you looking into the mirror and notice your scalp is more visible.
Looks like you are losing your hair. Now what?
Well, your dermatologist has recommended taking topical minoxidil solution to keep the hair you have and even regrow hair back.
So how long will it take for minoxidil to work?
Luckily, we have all of the answers for you in this article. Everything from what the medication is to what side effects you should expect.
Keep reading along!
What Is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a generic medication that is used as a hair loss and hair regrowth treatment.
We are sure many of you have heard of Rogaine, which is the branded form of the medication. Minoxidil and Rogaine are exactly the same, but they are created by different manufacturers.
The minoxidil medication works by making the telogen phase (resting) shorter and switching to the anagen phase (active).
Let’s explain the hair growth cycle.
There are three phases in your hair growth cycle, anagen, catagen, and telogen.
When your hair is in the anagen phase, it grows to its full length. Approximately 85% to 90% of your hair follicles are in the anagen phase.
After the anagen phase, your hair moves into the catagen phase where the hair separates from your scalp.
Finally, the last phase is the telogen phase. Here the whole hair structure is at rest for many months.
When minoxidil shortens the telogen phase, it means your hair spends less time at rest and gets to the anagen phase (active) earlier.
Minoxidil is also a vasodilator, so it expands your blood vessels to improve blood circulation.
The additional blood circulation increases blood flow to your scalp, and in turn increases the amount of nutrients supplied to your hair follicles.
In total, minoxidil helps stimulate hair growth and gives you thicker hair with more density.
How Effective Is Minoxidil In Regrowing Hair?
When it comes to men with male pattern baldness, many studies have shown minoxidil to produce positive results at regrowing hair.
For example, a notable study performed by a group of dermatologists was conducted on men with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness).
The men received minoxidil topical solution 5% for 12 months. At the end, the study found that 62% of men had a smaller area of thinning hair or baldness than at the start of the study.
Another study conducted on men with male pattern baldness compared the effects of minoxidil 5% with minoxidil 2%.
The study found that both solutions produced positive results to treat hair loss, however the 5% solution was better at generating new hair growth.
Overall, research proves that minoxidil is effective as a hair loss treatment and to regrow hair.
How Much Time Does Minoxidil Take To Show Results?
Results will vary on a person to person basis, but minoxidil should produce noticeable improvement after three to six months, with significant results after a whole year of use.
How does it start?
Due to minoxidil’s chemical effects and your body’s natural reaction, you shouldn’t expect to see results immediately after starting the medication.
When you first start using minoxidil, expect slightly more hair shedding than usual for the first few weeks.
This is a good thing. New hairs are growing and old weak hairs are being pushed out as your hair shifts to the growth phase.
After this period of time, the shedding will stabilize and you will have less shedding overall.
With less shedding, now it’s time for your hair and bald spots to fill in.
Again, do not expect to see results instantly.
Your scalp will need time to accumulate more hair follicles. You should expect to see healthy hair growth after a few months after using minoxidil.
How Long Does Minoxidil Shedding Last?
Minoxidil hair shedding begins when you start your hair loss treatment and will last for the first three to four weeks.
This is completely normal and should not be a reason to worry or stop using the medication.
The shedding is not permanent. Over the duration of your treatment, the shedding will stop and you will start to have new healthy hairs.
Why does shedding happen?
As mentioned above, it is a good thing.
Since minoxidil pushes your hair to the anagen phase prematurely, it can cause more shedding due to new hair growth.
New hairs are causing old hair to detach from your scalp.
So, when you first begin using minoxidil, you might notice more fallen hair in your shower drain or on your pillowcase.
Side Effects Of Minoxidil
As a disclaimer, this is not professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before starting this medication.
Minoxidil is a vasodilator, which means it widens blood vessels.
Theoretically, this could increase the risk of heart problems and other side effects. In practice, however, minoxidil seems to be safe when used as directed.
The most common side effects are itching and scaling of the skin where the drug is applied.
Less common side effects include burning or stinging sensation, headache, dizziness, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and swelling of the eyelids or face.
How To Make Minoxidil More Effective
Congratulations, you have decided to take a step forward in fighting hair loss.
To make sure you get the most out of your treatment, here are a few tips to improve your results.
- Apply Properly: Whether you are applying the topical or foam minoxidil solution you want to make sure the medication reaches your scalp. Only then the treatment will work properly. So, before applying the solution, part your hair to maximize contact.
- Use With Finasteride: Finasteride is another hair loss treatment which significantly reduces the amount of DHT in your body. The DHT hormone is what causes androgenetic alopecia in men. When paired with minoxidil, the two medications are highly successful in stopping hair loss and regrowing your hair.
- Start Treatment ASAP: In general, hair loss treatments are much more effective when started earlier on. Minoxidil’s effects can be enhanced by starting treatment as soon as you notice signs of hair loss or crown balding.
Who Should Use Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a good candidate for people who want to keep what they have, since it is not a cure, but rather a treatment that helps to maintain hair.
Furthermore, it is good for people who are just starting to lose their hair, because minoxidil can help to stop the progression of hair loss in some cases.
In men, minoxidil is good at treating male pattern hair loss in the crown area and receding hairlines.
On the other hand, it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Putting It All Together
Minoxidil is a medication designed for treating pattern hair loss.
This drug works by changing the hair growth cycle from the resting phase to the growth phase.
When you start using the minoxidil treatment you should expect minor shedding initially. However, this should stop after a few weeks.
Initial results from minoxidil can be seen after three to six months. Final results will be more significant and can be seen after one year of minoxidil treatment.
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Fact Checked by our Director of Dermatology – We know that understanding how your skin and hair work can seem scary, so my team and I devote our time to thoroughly researching every single topic and product we write about. We hope you find our reviews helpful and informative.
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