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What Is Minoxidil Shedding And How To Manage It?


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Minoxidil is used as one of the conventional forms of hair loss treatment. Entering the drug market as an antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) drug, Minoxidil belongs to the class of vasodilators. Patients consuming minoxidil for hypertension were found to have hair regrowth on the scalp. Hence, it was started as a treatment measure for androgenic alopecia and has shown promising results to date.

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.

What Exactly Is Minoxidil Shedding?

The excessive hair fall experienced after starting minoxidil use is called minoxidil shedding. It is important to know that this is a completely normal occurrence. This is 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. Shedding is believed to be a side effect, but more than a side effect, it is a part of minoxidil action.

Is Minoxidil Shedding Normal?

Yes, it is totally 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 Shedding Happen?

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, your 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 reverses the DHT effect by lengthening the growth phase and thickness of hair. 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.

How Long Does Minoxidil Shedding Last?

Depending on your stage of hair loss, minoxidil shedding usually lasts for 8–10 weeks. Since minoxidil works only on the affected (shrinking) follicles, the shedding phase could increase with increasing stages of hair loss.

By When Can One See Results?

Depending on age and stage of hair loss, the duration of results showing up varies. Usually, minoxidil takes at least 4–5 months to start showing growth, provided it has been used consistently with the prescribed regimen. 

How To Manage 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. Because after the shedding, growth begins! So do not stop minoxidil use after noticing shedding.

If you have more questions about the duration of minoxidil shedding or simply need support, you can get in touch with your Traya hair coach. They will assure you with answers.
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Dr. Kalyani Deshmukh, M.D.

Dermatologist

Dr. Deshmukh is an MD (Dermatology, Venerology, and Leprosy) with more than 4 years of experience. She successfully runs her own practice and believes that a personalized service maximizes customer satisfaction.

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