Topical Minoxidil Hair Treatment
Topical minoxidil is an established hair restoration treatment. While it is most commonly used to treat male and female androgenetic alopecia (hereditary hair loss through pattern baldness), it can also treat thinning hair and various other hair loss conditions.
Topical minoxidil treatment for hair loss is available over the counter as either a solution or foam. Unlike oral minoxidil and other drugs for hair loss, users apply the topical minoxidil hair treatment directly to the scalp.
Want to find out if topical minoxidil is the right treatment for your hair loss? Book a comprehensive and professional consultation with Dr Bonaros today.
Table of Contents
- How Topical Minoxidil Works
- Using Topical Minoxidil for Hair Growth
- Topical Minoxidil vs Oral Minoxidil
- Dr Bonaros: Experienced & Compassionate Hair Growth Specialist
How Topical Minoxidil Works
Topical minoxidil solution and foam are derived from minoxidil tablets that were originally developed in the 1970s to combat hypertension. Members of early clinical trials for minoxidil experienced hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth on the body). This resulted in medical professionals developing topical minoxidil as a way to treat hair loss.
Studies have shown that minoxidil can effectively slow down hair loss caused by pattern baldness and even help to regrow hair. While it is unclear exactly how this process works, medical professionals know that topical minoxidil has the following effects that may contribute to hair regrowth:
- Slows and reverses the size reduction of hair follicles.
- Encourages follicles to transition to the growth stage of the hair growth cycle.
- Dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow around hair follicles.
- Nurtures existing and new hair growth by lengthening the follicle growth period (anagen phase).
Minoxidil is commonly used to treat male pattern baldness, making it an ideal solution for anyone with a family history of androgenetic alopecia. Call us on 0141 340 9098 for advice on topical hair loss treatments for men and women.
Using Topical Minoxidil for Hair Growth
When determining whether or not to use topical minoxidil for hair loss, it is important to learn about its dosage, results, and potential side effects so you can make a fully informed decision.
Topical Minoxidil Dosage
The topical minoxidil dose for hair loss depends on various factors, including your biological sex and which topical formulation you’re using.
For the minoxidil solution, it is recommended to apply 1 ml two times per day. Men generally use the 5% solution, while women use the 2% solution. When it comes to minoxidil foam, both men and women should use the 5% formulation once per day. The recommended dosage is a full capful for men and half a capful for women.
The method of application is the same for both the solution and foam. This process must be carefully followed to ensure the best results possible. Patients should make sure their scalp is dry before they gently massage either the solution or foam to the affected areas. The minoxidil solution or foam then has to remain on for at least four hours.
It is recommended that patients let the minoxidil dry for two hours to stop it from accidentally spreading onto the face or other surfaces. Minoxidil should dry naturally, as using a hairdryer to speed up the process could interfere with the effects of the medication.
Topical Minoxidil Results
At Dr Bonaros’ hair restoration clinic, we are passionate about providing high-quality hair loss treatments and will guide you through your treatment plan with the utmost compassion and professionalism.
While minoxidil hair loss treatment begins working immediately to stimulate hair growth, it typically takes two months of consistent usage before patients begin to see the effects of this medication. The timeframe also varies from person to person, and you might need to wait between four and six months for visible results. As your hair loss slows, you will see improvements in the thickness and growth of existing and new hair.
It is important to understand that, when it comes to hair loss treatment, minoxidil is not a once-off cure and requires consistent usage to maintain efficacy. If you stop using your minoxidil hair regrowth treatment, its effects will dissipate and your hair will return to its original growth cycle over the next three to four months.
Topical Minoxidil Side Effects
Although topical minoxidil has many benefits, it is also important to note the following potential side effects.
- Patients often notice some initial hair shedding after they start using minoxidil to treat hair loss. This side effect is caused by the minoxidil’s stimulation of hair follicles from the resting or telogen phase to the growth or anagen phase and only lasts between four and six weeks.
- Some users may experience an itchy allergic reaction to the propylene glycol used in the minoxidil solution. If this occurs, patients are able to switch to the topical foam which does not contain this ingredient.
- Minoxidil can also cause unwanted hair growth (hypertrichosis), specifically on the face. However, this is more common with higher doses such as those found in oral minoxidil and should subside one to three months after drug discontinuation.
- This topical treatment often contains alcohol which, when applied to the affected areas, can irritate the skin and cause a dry scalp.
- Another contact-based side effect is general scalp irritation, which could manifest as uncomfortable itching (pruritus).
- Minoxidil increases blood flow which could cause intense redness of the skin due to the dilation of blood vessels.
- Rarer side effects include an increased heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and sudden weight gain. If you experience any of these, you should contact a medical professional immediately.
Want to know more about the available hair loss treatment options? Contact our team for trustworthy, expert guidance about a range of hair loss treatments and their potential side effects.
Topical Minoxidil vs Oral Minoxidil
The key differences between topical and oral minoxidil are their formulation, accessibility, and absorption process. Topical treatment options include a minoxidil solution or foam, both of which are available over the counter and are applied to areas of hair loss on the scalp. Oral minoxidil consists of tablets that can only be purchased with a prescription.
Both treatments rely on the sulfotransferase enzyme to convert minoxidil into the active ingredient, minoxidil sulphate, which works to stimulate follicles and promote hair growth. Topical minoxidil interacts with this enzyme in hair follicles, while oral minoxidil enters the bloodstream and encounters it in the liver.
Sulfotransferase levels in hair follicles vary between individuals, and some people may not have sufficient levels to transform minoxidil into the active ingredient. However, they are always present in the liver. This is why oral minoxidil is often prescribed when topical solutions or foams are not proving effective. When prescribed appropriately, oral minoxidil tends to be more effective than its topical counterparts. However, this efficacy goes hand-in-hand with an increase in potentially adverse side effects.
Advantages of Topical Minoxidil Hair Loss Treatments
While there are other treatments available, topical minoxidil is typically the initial method used to treat hair loss. This is because it has several advantages, including the following:
- Minoxidil topical treatment comes in two forms — a solution or foam. This provides patients with a wider range of options for their hair loss treatment plan.
- Unlike minoxidil tablets, which require a prescription, minoxidil topical foam or solution is easily available over the counter.
- Topical minoxidil is UK-licensed and FDA-approved to treat male and female pattern hair loss. This ensures this treatment meets official safety regulations and can reassure users of its high standards.
- Minoxidil topical solution for hair loss is less invasive than its oral counterpart. Only 1% is absorbed into your bloodstream and your kidneys process and remove nearly all of this amount in just four days.
- Minoxidil scalp solution is an external treatment, and its most common side effects are also external. This means there is a limited risk of internal reactions such as heart issues or adverse interactions with other oral medications like antihypertensives (high blood pressure medication).
Topical Minoxidil for Hair Loss — Frequently Asked Questions
Can minoxidil topical treatment help with a receding hairline?
Yes, minoxidil works to promote hair growth on all parts of the scalp. The majority of research on topical minoxidil hair loss treatments has examined results on the crown of the head. However, newer studies have highlighted the efficacy of this medication along the hairline. Therefore, it is possible to use minoxidil as a receding hairline treatment.
What precautions should I take while using topical minoxidil?
While using topical minoxidil, you should abstain from applying other skin products to the affected area, as they could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment. It is also essential that you follow medical advice by only using minoxidil on your scalp and refraining from applying more than the recommended amount. Not following these guidelines can cause your skin to absorb too much minoxidil which, in turn, can result in adverse side effects and health risks, like an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
Can I have hair procedures while using minoxidil scalp treatment?
Yes, it is possible to have several hair procedures while using topical minoxidil. You can safely perm, relax, and dye your hair, provided you adhere to these simple guidelines:
- Thoroughly wash your scalp before undergoing a procedure.
- Do not apply minoxidil for 24 hours preceding or following a procedure.
Are you considering using a minoxidil solution for hair growth? Book a free Zoom consultation to find out more about hair loss treatments with minoxidil.
Dr Bonaros: Experienced & Compassionate Hair Growth Specialist
Dr Bonaros is a trusted hair restoration expert, whose qualifications include being part of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS) and being the only member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) in Scotland.
As one of the leading hair restoration clinics in Glasgow, we understand the impact hair loss can have on an individual’s self-esteem. We therefore work to help our patients regain their confidence with effective, reliable, and long-term hair restoration techniques. Starting with an initial consultation, a professional and personalised treatment plan is developed for each and every patient.
Our clinic offers a wide range of high-quality hair restoration services. When it comes to cutting-edge surgical procedures, we provide expert FUE hair transplants. If you’re looking for a non-surgical route, we also offer medications by prescription, including minoxidil (available in oral and topical formulations), finasteride, or dutasteride.
Topical minoxidil has proven to effectively treat male and female pattern hair loss, as well as several other hair conditions. Contact us to find out if you are a suitable candidate for a restorative topical minoxidil hair treatment.