What Is Minoxidil Shedding And What To Do When You Are Panicking Because Of It?
So, you’ve just started applying minoxidil 5% or 2% for treating your hair loss condition. You are doing everything right and applying it as per the instructions of your doctor and in the prescribed dosage. But a few weeks into it you are probably feeling like you’ve made a mistake because your hair is shedding like crazy and you feel like your hair loss treatment is giving you more hair fall! Don’t worry you are not alone or experiencing a side effect this is simply minoxidil shedding.
Despite being a powerful hair growth active, minoxidil has raised rumours about causing more shedding. But a lot of people fail to understand that some initial shedding is just a part of how minoxidil works.
Is Minoxidil Shedding Normal And What Does It Mean?
Yes, it is absolutely normal to experience some initial hair shedding after starting topical minoxidil. So there’s no need to panic. In fact, it means that minoxidil is working the way it should. Hence, minoxidil use shouldn’t be stopped.
How Does Minoxidil Work and Why Does it Cause Shedding?
Imagine a strand of hair. This hair has 4 phases: the growth phase, the transition phase, the resting phase, and the shedding phase. When you suffer from hair loss, the growth phase of the hair cycle shortens due to the attack of DHT on the hair follicles. This also leads to shrinkage of the hair follicle, eventually leading to thinning of hair. Minoxidil is a vasodilator that increases blood flow to your hair follicles. Minoxidil reverses the DHT effect by shortening your resting phase and making your growth phase longer. But this cannot be done when hair follicles already have hair in them, so it pushes out the old hair from the affected follicle to start a fresh new cycle of thicker hair altogether.
What Causes Minoxidil Shedding?
Minoxidil Shedding happens simply because minoxidil tends to push out the thinner and weaker hair strands into the shedding phase of the hair cycle, to be replaced by newer, thicker ones. This phenomenon usually lasts for 4–8 weeks or for a bit longer and is followed by the growth of newer, thicker, and healthier hair strands from active hair follicles from the new anagen cycle. Shedding is believed to be a side effect, but more than a side effect, it is a part of minoxidil action.
After the initial shedding, you will see amazing results but if you stop using minoxidil at this time you will never see what comes next. Only if you stay patient at this stage and continue applying minoxidil as prescribed consistently in a few weeks you will start seeing hair growth.
How Long Does The Minoxidil Shedding Last?
Minoxidil shedding lasts for about 8-10 weeks depending on your stage of hair loss, because minoxidil will only affect the shrinking follicles and not the healthy follicles. Since minoxidil works only on the affected (shrinking) follicles, the shedding phase could increase with increasing stages of hair loss because the higher your stage, the more damage to your follicles so it takes longer for minoxidil to work.
When To See A Doctor About Minoxidil Shedding
Minoxidil is FDA approved and has shown effectiveness amongst consumers who suffer from hair loss as well Minoxidil shedding has been considered normal. As per the studies, the side effects is irritant contact Dermatitis with typical symptom scaling and itching were observed in Minoxidil. The incidence is lower in 2% Minoxidil than 5%.
The patch test has been suggested by the studies because as per the observation people can be allergic to Minoxidil which is infrequent. Studies suggest free propylene glycol Minoxidil formula should be prescribed yet if the side effects persist then the reaction to Minoxidil should be suspected and should be discontinued. Also if the shedding doesn’t stop after several weeks of use of Minoxidil, then you must visit your Dermatologist.
When Does Minoxidil Start Showing Results?
Depending on the age and stage of hair loss, the duration of results showing up varies. For people in stages 1-2, it will take about 4 months of consistent use to see results, whereas, in stages 3-4, it will take about 6 months provided it has been used consistently with the prescribed regimen. So it is extremely important that you don’t stop using minoxidil when you experience minoxidil shedding.
Here’s the proof:
I have heard everything you’ve told me but I am scared! What can I do if I am experiencing minoxidil shedding?
Minoxidil shedding cannot be prevented, as it is a part of minoxidil action. The best thing to do is to be consistent and patient with it. Remember, After the shedding, growth begins! So do not stop minoxidil use after noticing shedding.
But we have a special helpline in place, all you need to do is get in touch with the hair coach. Not only will they answer all your questions but also reassure you till you finally feel better.
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