Hair loss and hair thinning affect both men and women, which can lead to psychological distress. If we search for any FDA-approved hair loss treatments yield two medications: Oral Finasteride, which blocks the action of the key hormone responsible for hair loss, and Topical Minoxidil, a solution for preventing baldness. Minoxidil is one of the most effective medications that help in restoring hair growth.
Topical minoxidil is sold as a solution, a foam, gel, and in spray form is the most popular topical hair loss medication on the market. In this article, we explain how minoxidil works to prevent your hair from falling out, as well as how to apply it.
How Minoxidil Works to Stop Hair Loss
Minoxidil slows down hair loss and works by speeding up your hair’s growth cycle. Hair follicles go through four different stages of the growth cycle.
The anagen phase: During this phase, the hair fibers are created which grow from barely visible to their full length. This can last for several years over the scalp before it becomes dormant and sheds.
The catagen phase: In this phase, the hair follicle begins to shrink and forms club hairs that eventually detach from your scalp.
The telogen phase: This is the “resting” phase, during which the old hair rests under which a new hair begins to grow.
The exogen phase: Also called the “shedding” phase, this is when the old hair starts to fall and the new hair breaks through the surface to replace it.
Minoxidil causes vasodilatation and hence increases the blood flow to scalp and pushes hair follicles into the anagen phase, by causing hair follicles to quickly go through the resting and shedding phases so that they start to regrow. This way minoxidil acts as the best hair loss treatment.
How to Apply Minoxidil to Your Scalp
- Using minoxidil is simple. Minoxidil is applied to affected areas of your scalp, once or twice a day depending on the concentration of the formulation and dermatologist advice.
- Usually, 1 ml of the solution either using a dropper or 6-7 sprays is applied to the frontal and crown area of the scalp. If using foam formulation, half a cup is to be used.
- Make sure the minoxidil solution does not dribble over your forehead.
- Before applying minoxidil, make sure the scalp and hair is dry.
- Avoid shampooing your hair for four hours after using Minoxidil. The best is to wash your hair before applying the solution.
- Use your fingertips to spread the minoxidil solution over the target area.
- Make sure you wash your hands immediately after applying the solution to your scalp.
- Allow the minoxidil to dry naturally.
- It’s best to avoid wearing a hat, or scarf that covers your scalp after applying minoxidil.
- Always apply at least 1-2 hours prior to going to sleep.
The effectiveness of minoxidil may vary among individuals. Although minoxidil can slow down and prevent hair loss, the amount of hair regrowth will vary from person to person. Topical minoxidil is best hair loss treatment option for both males and females.
Author: Dr. Archana SA