Unleash The Magic Of Minoxidil On Hair Fall
Minoxidil is now an FDA-approved drug for pattern baldness, as is finasteride.
The scourge of genetic predisposition, stress, the fallout of pollution, chemicals in our water, medications, biological changes–whatever the reason, hair loss of any kind can be upsetting and seriously undermine our inner mojo if we are going bald.
Bald may be beautiful for some, as it appears to be trending these days; it’s also a nice sexy way to embrace a situation where hair loss is completely irreversible. But, for those of us who seem to lose our hair for various reasons, including genetic predisposition, stress and the fallout of pollution, and chemicals in our water, whatever the reason, hair loss of any kind can give us many moments of disquiet and distress.
Minoxidil, a piperidine-pyrimidine derivative and now a topical application to treat hair loss, made its entry into this arena by chance. While it was being used to treat hypertension, amongst its side effects, physicians realised hair regrowth and hypertrichosis in patients who were going bald. This observation proved to be a catalyst in the development of a topical formulation for promoting hair growth. It was first tried on balding men, victims of Androgenetic Alopecia (AA) which is a common genetically predetermined disorder because of an excessive response to androgens. Its onset is gradual and occurs after puberty. Known also as male-pattern baldness, hair loss starts typically at the temples, gradually impacting the hairline to create a characteristic “M’ shape. It can also impact the top of the head and progress to partial baldness or complete baldness. In women, the hair becomes thinner all over and rarely leads to baldness. Minoxidil, which is categorised under a class of drugs known as vasodilators, both as a solution or foam formulation can stop or at least retard the progression of male pattern baldness.
Even though till date how the actions of minoxidil have brought this about is still subject to conjecture, it continues to be pressed into service for treating hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, and hair shaft disorders; it’s also good for triggering hair growth in areas such as eyebrows and beard.
How does Minoxidil do its job?
A trial period of at least 4 to 6 months is required to judge the efficacy of the Minoxidil treatment for male pattern baldness. This treatment isn’t used for patchy or sudden hair loss or even hair loss after you’ve had a baby.
The application of the medication impacts the follicular cells, leading to hair growth and reducing hair loss. How minoxidil can do its job so efficiently is because of the presence of minoxidil sulphate, along with the enzyme responsible for this conversion, sulfotransferase, present in hair follicles. If you have a higher enzyme activity in the hair follicles, the response is much better to topical minoxidil than if you had lower enzyme activity. Hair growth can be observed in 8 to 12 months, and can in some cases be long enough to cut.
Minoxidil solution (MS) also features components such as water, ethanol and propylene glycol (PG), which work to step up the solubility of minoxidil. PG was an efficient delivery agent for facilitating the drug into the hair follicles. But because frequent use of PG led to some local irritation, a PG-free minoxidil foam (MF) was developed in its place. The PG-free foam (PF) formulation has ingredients such as cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and butylated hydroxytoluene. Apart from being more efficient at its job in delivering the drug into the hair follicles, minoxidil foam creates less irritation, is convenient to use, and dries off quickly.
Adverse effects of Minoxidil
You need to sustain the treatment indefinitely; if you stop the treatment expect the hair loss to take place all over again in about 2 weeks to 24 weeks. If you find this tiresome and your vanity needs to be fed all the time, you can opt for a hair transplant!
While available in various strengths as an over-the-counter option in a solution or foam preparation, topical minoxidil appears to be more efficient in higher strengths. Seeking your doctor’s advice on the matter is well recommended because the most common side effects of the treatment are pruritus (dry, itchy skin) and local irritation resulting in flaking, because of the propylene glycol or alcohol in the formulation. It can also cause erythema multiforme, a mild skin allergy, which goes away eventually.
The topical use of a 2% minoxidil solution has been reported to cause small but statistically significant increases in left ventricular end-diastolic volume, cardiac output, and left ventricular mass; it can also cause dizziness and tachycardia.
Avoid using the MS or MF more frequently or in even greater portions than advised. Also, using it if you have any sunburn abrasions or cuts on your scalp is a “No! No!”
Minoxidil can be a real boon for hair fall, by encouraging hair growth, if you perceive any serious side effects like unwanted facial hair growth, dizziness or palpitations – stop the treatment right away and get in touch with your physician.
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