Hint: It Is Not a Cure for Every Type of Hair Loss
You know there are products out there formulated to stimulate hair growth such as Minoxidil available over the counter, and when you first notice that your hair is thinning or even developing bald spots, your first instinct might be to dash to the drug store and grab the first product to promote hair growth you see.
It would be great if it were that easy. But it isn’t. To really understand the best approach to your individual hair loss, it is important to discover the underlying cause, which is something a dermatologist can do.
What Exactly Does Minoxidil Do?
Originally minoxidil was used for treating high blood pressure and one of the side effects was increased growth of unwanted hair on the face and other body areas. This led to creative minds crushing the pills and mixing them in a suspension that could be topically applied to the scalp of balding men with enough positive results so that there was some increase in hair growth for a certain percentage of men. Medical scientists are not entirely sure how it works, but what is known is that it has two primary effects on the scalp. First, it slows the rate of hair loss, and second it promotes new hair growth. This new hair growth comes from increased hair follicles, and the hair also becomes thicker in most users. These effects continue only as long as the product is used daily on a continuous basis.
Minoxidil has a good track record treating hair loss due to genetic factors, specifically androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness as well as female pattern baldness. But it can and does work for other forms of hair loss, including types of hair loss more specific to women. It is important that women use the two percent solution rather than the five percent option to minimize the occurrence of unwanted hair on the face or other body areas.. Minoxidil can be a great solution for women experiencing thinning hair, but it isn’t for every type of hair loss.
When NOT to Use Minoxidil
There are situations where doctors recommend against using Minoxidil.
First of all, the product should never be applied to your scalp if any irritation or inflammation is present. So, it there is itching, flaking, soreness, tenderness, pimples, or open lesions on the scalp, minoxidil can actually cause the scalp irritation to worsen.
All hair loss conditions associated with any type of scarring and injury to the scalp need anti-inflammatory medication to heal the scalp rather than a product to try and grow the hair back.
If hair loss starts suddenly or occurs in patches all over the scalp, do not use this product.
For any type of hair loss other than hereditary hormonal baldness, see your doctor to get a medical diagnosis.. Also, some women many lose hair shortly after childbirth, and Minoxidil should not be used in that situation either.
Minoxidil was originally designed as a blood pressure medication, and is a vasodilator, so if you have any sort of heart issues, talk to your doctor before trying this product.
It is always wise to see your doctor if you notice thinning hair to rule out any medical problems before trying any product or home remedy. Androgenetic alopecia for which minoxidil is appropriate is only 1 out of 20 or more possible medical causes of hair loss, so it’s best to make sure that’s what you really need before you decide to use it.
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia- Receding Hairline or Autoimmune Disorder?
- Central Centrifugal Scarring Alopecia (CCSA): An Overview of What It Is and What to Do
- Why A Dermatologist Should Be Part of Your Healthy Hair Team
- Is Your Hair Trying to Tell You Something?
- Facts You Need to Know About Alopecia Areata