Minoxidil and Shedding: Why it Happens and What to Expect – Healthline

Posted: March 24, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a popular product for people with thinning hair. The product comes as a gel or a foam, and is meant to be applied topically to your scalp on a daily basis.

When people first start using minoxidil to restore their hair, some notice that they actually start losing more of it at least for a short period of time.

There are plenty of clinical trials and medical evidence that support the use of minoxidil for moderate hair loss caused by alopecia. But how do you know if its actually working, especially if it looks like youre losing more hair than before?

Lets cover hair loss caused by Rogaine so you can understand how common it is, what causes it, and whether you should be concerned.

Minoxidil was a drug originally developed to treat hypertension.

Researchers observed that people who had alopecia and used minoxidil for hypertension experienced hair regrowth, and the worlds most popular over-the-counter treatment for alopecia was born. People have been using minoxidil to treat hair loss since 1986.

The way that minoxidil works isnt completely clear. Whats apparent is that minoxidil decreases hair loss in some people while also increasing hair growth. It doesnt work for everyone.

Minoxidil is also classed as a vasodilator, meaning that it dilates your blood vessels so that blood flows more easily where its applied. An increase in blood circulation to your scalp could be part of why minoxidil increases hair growth.

Your hair follicles go through four phases of growth. Not every follicle is in the same phase at once. Minoxidil is believed to affect two stages of hair growth.

The anagen phase of hair growth is its growing phase. This is when the hair is being pushed out from the root. Applying minoxidil may extend the length of the anagen phase.

The telogen phase of your hair is its resting phase, when its done growing but not yet ready to fall out. In clinical trials on rats, minoxidil shortened the telogen phase of hair from 20 days to 1 to 2 days.

Minoxidils side effects are typically mild. Common side effects include mild itching and burning as well as flaky skin. Minoxidil can also cause your hair to shed, especially when you first start using it.

As minoxidil speeds up the resting phase of your hair, sometimes it falls out more quickly than it normally would.

However, minoxidil also extends the growth phase of your hair. That means that even though some hair shedding is to be expected at first, new hair growth should soon replace the hair that youve lost.

Not everyone will experience shedding as a side effect of minoxidil, while some may experience it severely. There arent statistics currently available that explore how common this particular side effect is.

You cant do much to prevent minoxidil-related shedding or even predict if youll experience it when you first start using the product.

One thing to be aware of is that the higher the concentration of minoxidil you use, the more powerful the side effect is likely to be. Using a foam with 2 percent concentration of minoxidil, for example, could cause fewer side effects than with a 5 percent concentration.

If youre seeing a lot of hair loss, you might want to switch to a less powerful dose of minoxidil. If youre concerned about hair loss and havent started using minoxidil yet, start with a lower concentration and work up to a higher one if you need it.

Results of minoxidil vary from person to person. Generally speaking, it takes about 8 weeks of consistent use to start to see results with minoxidil. After 4 months of use, you should start to see the end of hair loss and start to see hair growth.

If its been 4 months and youre still seeing hair shedding, it may not be related to minoxidil. Its also possible that minoxidil isnt the right product for you. If you see a lot of your hair falling out after 4 months of use, speak with your doctor about alternative treatments.

Minoxidil does have some other side effects in addition to hair shedding. Side effects may include:

If youre experiencing strong side effects as a result of minoxidil, call your doctor and discontinue use.

If youve been using minoxidil for several weeks and youre still seeing more hair loss than growth, see your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. They may be able to determine if hair loss is being caused by another underlying health condition.

You should always seek medical attention if you experience the following:

Some shedding is normal when you start using any topical product that contains minoxidil. If youre concerned about hair loss, this might be alarming, but its typically no cause for concern.

If shedding doesnt stop within 4 months of starting a hair regimen with minoxidil, discontinue use and speak with your doctor about other hair regrowth options.

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Minoxidil and Shedding: Why it Happens and What to Expect - Healthline

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