Side effects of minoxidil
You must have heard about minoxidil and how it can help to cure baldness. So what is minoxidil? Minoxidil is a powerful prescribed medication used to stimulate hair and slow balding. It is one of the most effective medications out there for people under 40. However, minoxidil does not have any effect on receding hairlines, but of course, there are side effects of minoxidil. The drug is available as its brand name Rogaine over the counter drug to treat male pattern baldness.
Before looking at the minoxidil side effects, let's look at how minoxidil became noticed. Minoxidil may also be used to treat blood pressure. It is available in two forms – foam and solution. One can also use minoxidil foam and solution to treat thinning of hair in women. This medication belongs to a group of drugs known as vasodilators. These are the medications that help the blood vessels to get wider. They are also used to treat heart failures and are helpful to relax the blood vessels.
The oral formulation of minoxidil as a drug is only available in the prescribed form. The stress is that this medication is not to be used for sudden patchy hair loss, hair loss without a family history of hair loss post maternity. This product should not be used for the age group below 18-years old. For many, minoxidil is a potent potion that helps in hair regrowth. However, there are also side effects of minoxidil which we will learn about in this blog.
But then how does minoxidil regrow hair? The following section discusses exactly that.
How Does Minoxidil Work for Hair Growth
As discussed earlier, minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs called vasodilators – these are drugs that work in a similar way. Originally, minoxidil as a drug was developed as an oral medication to treat high blood pressure. However, it is not entirely clear how minoxidil helps with hair loss. But researchers believe that minoxidil increases the blood flow to the hair follicle and stimulates hair growth. It is essential to mention that there are side effects of minoxidil as well.
According to the Olsen study of 2002, nearly forty percent of men using five percent minoxidil and about twenty two percent of men using minoxidil can achieve the goal of moderate to dense regrowth of hair. The same study mentions when minoxidil is used twice a day, a five percent topical solution of minoxidil can show quick results in men. That said, women should not use minoxidil in its topical foam.
Minoxidil uses can show its efficacy as soon as four months, but it can take several months to show any visible results in some cases. In some cases, minoxidil uses may result in more hair loss when beginning with the medication. This condition is called minoxidil shedding, which many consider as one of the side effects of minoxidil. However, there is nothing to fear in this situation as it is believed that minoxidil shifts the phase of your hair follicles which may lead to some shedding.
How to Use Minoxidil for Hair Growth?
Before deciding on using minoxidil for hair growth, you must know about the side effects of minoxidil. No doubt it might help you in treating hair loss, but it is not free of side effects. The medication usually comes with patient instructions, and you need to read the instructions carefully before proceeding. It is highly recommended not to use the drug more than is directed by the doctor.
Be cautious that minoxidil uses should not contact any other part of the body except for its prescribed area. If it comes in contact with any other body parts, it will only increase the chance of getting absorbed by the body more, and this may affect the blood vessels and the heart and other related side effects of minoxidil. Also, make sure not to use any other products on the same skin area where you have applied minoxidil.
When you apply minoxidil topical solution, make sure-
- Your hair and scalp are dry before applying the medicine
- Beginning from the center of the prescribed area, apply the correct amount of the solution using the applicator.
- Do not shampoo your hair after four hours of application of the medicine.
- Do not use a hairdryer or any other equipment to dry the minoxidil on your hair and scalp. Doing so will make the drug less effective and can lead to side effects of minoxidil.
- Immediately after applying minoxidil, wash your hands properly using soap to remove if any medicine may have come in contact.
- Let the minoxidil completely dry for about four to six hours after applying. Ensure that the medicine doesn’t come in contact with your pillowcase or bed linen, as it may then transfer to your face and other parts.
When you apply minoxidil topical foam –
- Open the container of the medicine carefully. Do not ignore the side effects of minoxidil, so it’s good to be careful.
- Next, part your hair to expose the thinning area of the scalp so that you can apply the medicine.
- For the foam, you’ll get a can container. Hold that can upside down, pressing the nozzle to take out the foam to your fingers.
- Using your fingers, apply the foam to your hair loss area and massage gently.
- Wash your hands immediately after application to avoid any trace of medicine in your hands.
Try not to miss out on your minoxidil uses and dose. And if you missed out, try to apply it as soon as possible. Do not overuse it to make up for the missed dose as it may lead to side effects of minoxidil. You may use other hair treatments such as hair relaxers, hair colouring, or hair permanents when using minoxidil. But make sure the scalp is washed correctly before applying the hair colour or any other hair treatments; otherwise, there might be some minoxidil side effects.
Minoxidil topical is the medicine that you apply to a particular place in the body. Topical minoxidil reactivates the clogged hair follicles and promotes growth. While using the medication, it may increase the hair fall initially as the hair follicles are in their Telogen phase because they will fall. But in the Anagen phase, minoxidil will stimulate thicker hair growth. The working of the product will differ from person to person. While using it, one may experience irritation, eczema, burning, back pain, worsening hair loss, and topical minoxidil side effects.
Then there is redensyl, which is a new alternative to minoxidil. Redensyl encourages the hair follicles’ stem cells to grow and expand. This medication is formulated using plant-based compounds, which means it is natural and visibly has no side effects. It makes hair healthier and has rich anti-inflammatory properties and amino acids that keep the hair strong. There is a widespread urge among people to know which is best among redensyl vs minoxidil.
While there are side effects of minoxidil, redensyl is all-natural, but it is not widely used, and researchers have less information on that. Research is conducted every day to find out more possible answers to the questions regarding redensyl and how different it is from minoxidil in terms of side effects.
Oral form of minoxidil or minoxidil tablets is prescribed to treat severe high blood pressure that might harm the vital organs. When prescribing minoxidil, your doctor will give you two other medicines to help prevent side effects of minoxidil. You should not use minoxidil tablets to stimulate hair growth. For hair growth, topical minoxidil is always recommended.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Minoxidil?
There are several side effects of minoxidil. From common to severe, there are some of the side effects of minoxidil you should know about. Stop using minoxidil if you observe any of these 5 minoxidil side effects-
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swelling in hands and feet
There are certain minoxidil side effects men, such as redness or irritation of facial skin, scalp irritation, hair growing at the back of the neck etc. On the other hand, there are also minoxidil side effects women, such as flaking skin, irritation, temporary hair shedding, or low blood pressure etc. However, the side effects of minoxidil differ from person to person.
Mild Side Effects
Besides the severe side effects of minoxidil, there are certain mild side effects of minoxidil such as-
- Facial swelling
- Burning sensation on the scalp
- Temporary hair shedding
Serious Side Effects
The serious side effects of minoxidil includes-
- Chest pain
- Severe scalp irritation
- Changes in the color and thickness of the facial or body hair
Precautions to Be Taken While Using Minoxidil
You need to intimidate your doctor about your progress with the medication. Besides the side effects of minoxidil, your doctor should check if the medicine is working perfectly and free from unwanted side effects of minoxidil. If you experience continued redness, itching, or burning on the scalp, make sure you tell your doctor about it. Inform your doctor if your hair loss continues after two weeks.
How to Avoid Minoxidil Side Effects?
Minoxidil comes with specific side effects, which you know by now. While you have to use it, some preventive measures can help avoid minoxidil side effects. It is essential that your doctor checks on your progress when you are on minoxidil medication. This way, you can prevent yourself from unwanted side effects.
Before using minoxidil, you should know its side effects and whether you should
even use it. This decision should be a mutual one between you and your doctor.
For this, here are few things that you should tell your doctor and should avoid
using minoxidil if you have-
- If you are a new mom
- If you have other severe medical conditions
Make sure you understand the doctor’s instructions and the instruction leaflet properly before using minoxidil.
Minoxidil results vary from person to person. Some people, after using minoxidil,
starts seeing results in three to four months, while others notice visible changes
after six months of use. Generally, it takes about eight weeks for minoxidil to
show results if used consistently. After about four months of age, you should see
changes. If you do not observe any change even after six months of use, inform
If you are suffering from severe hair loss, minoxidil may support your stimulate
hair growth. Traya, is a natural hair care brand that offers a range of minoxidil
topical solutions and products that can stimulate thicker hair and strengthens hair follicles. It is all-natural and safe to use.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.