Managing hair loss can be taxing. Not only are you coping with the physical and emotional effects, but researching the plethora of hair loss remedies in the market can be frustrating.
At mailMymeds, we recognize this, so we put together a comprehensive article on one of your options: minoxidil – a popular solution among both men and women. In this article, we’ll discuss what minoxidil is, how it works, potential side effects, how it’s used, and whether it’s the right solution for you.
What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil was originally developed for the treatment of high blood pressure. However, researchers discovered a pleasant side effect during clinical trials – it fostered hair growth. 1
This revelation led to FDA approval of minoxidil 2% as a hair loss remedy in men (1988) and women (1992). 2 Today, it’s available under various brand names such as Rogaine and Kirkland minoxidil. All options offer a convenient solution for those battling hair loss.
How Does Minoxidil Work?
To understand how minoxidil works, you need to know the hair growth cycle (don’t worry, we’ve only included the information you need to know).
The hair growth cycle consists of 3 stages that all happen at different times for each hair follicle. 3 Once the cycle is complete, it restarts, and a new hair is formed.
The cycle starts with the anagen phase that lasts two to six years, during which the hair grows. 3
The second phase is the catagen phase. The catagen phase is a one to two-week transition stage between the anagen and telogen phases. During the catagen phase, the hair decreases in thickness. 3
Lastly, the hair enters the telogen phase. The telogen phase is called the resting phase of the hair cycle since no growth occurs. Hairs can stay in this phase for a few months to a year. 3
At the end of the telogen phase, the hair may fall out. Hair falling out during the telogen phase is completely normal. An average person loses up to 100 hairs a day. Once the hair falls out, new hair growth occurs in the same hair follicle, and the cycle starts again. 3
So, how does Minoxidil fit into this cycle?
Minoxidil affects two hair growth stages: shortening the telogen phase and extending the anagen phase. By affecting these two hair growth phases, minoxidil helps lengthen and thicken your hair. 4
In addition to the hair growth cycle, minoxidil strengthens hair follicles and encourages growth by increasing blood flow and nutrients around the follicles. 4
Minoxidil For Women vs Minoxidil for Men
If you’ve been shopping for minoxidil lately, you may have noticed the “for men” and “for women” labels on the products.
You may have also noticed minoxidil for women is more expensive than the male counterpart.
Lastly, if you read the ingredients, you may have noticed they are identical. 5
Don’t worry. Your eyes are not deceiving you.
In fact, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine found that women pay an average of 40% more for minoxidil than men. However, aside from the branding, the ingredients and drug strength are identical. 5
If you’re interested in saving money and buying the identical male version of minoxidil, we recommend talking with your doctor to see if it’s the right choice. Your physician will be able to sit down with you and assess your situation so you can decide with confidence.
To order hair loss medication from mailMymeds today, all you have to do is fill out a questionnaire on our site and you will be matched with a board-certified physician in the US. You can also visit our hair loss blog for more information on topics such as hair loss and stress, causes of hair loss in women, hair loss shampoo, and much more.
Minoxidil Foam Vs. Tablets
Minoxidil foam and tablets are each used for different conditions. 6
The FDA has approved minoxidil in foam and liquid form for hair loss in men and women. On the other hand, minoxidil tablets (Loniten) are FDA-approved for hypertension and not for hair loss. Clinical trials have shown Loniten is neither safe nor effective for treating hair loss. 6
If you have any questions, please talk with your doctor, or contact us to discuss with one of our friendly physicians.
Minoxidil Side Effects
As with any medication, you may experience adverse effects with minoxidil. We’ve listed a few common side effects below:
- Scaly skin
- Unwanted hair growth (face, arms, legs) 1
Please contact your doctor if these symptoms interfere with your health and daily life. If you have any questions about the side effects, don't hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable board-certified physicians.
Minoxidil may cause the following severe side effects:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swelling of hands or feet
- Scalp irritation or redness
- Unwanted facial hair
- No hair regrowth after four months of usage 7
If you experience any of the above symptoms, stop using minoxidil immediately and contact your physician.
Lastly, it’s important to note that minoxidil should be avoided if you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, as it can harm your developing baby. 7
How To Use Minoxidil
Minoxidil usage is easy and convenient. Apply 1 mL of solution twice a day directly on the hair loss area on the scalp. 7
It’s important to note that using more solution or increasing the frequency will not improve results. Furthermore, diligent and continuous usage is needed to see hair growth. If you stop using minoxidil, your hair loss may return. 7
Final Thoughts on Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a popular treatment for hair loss and offers hope to individuals trying to regain their locks.
If you’re interested in starting minoxidil, it’s important to follow recommended guidelines, maintain a consistent dosage schedule, and consult a healthcare professional if you experience any concerning side effects.
To get started with your hair loss treatment, contact us for an online consultation today. One of our physicians will be happy to help with any questions you may have about minoxidil.
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical conditions, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.