Use Of Minoxidil To Stimulate Hair Growth, Side Effects, Precautions

  1. Home
  2. HairCare

Use Of Minoxidil To Stimulate Hair Growth, Side Effects, Precautions

Minoxidil is available as a generic medication that can be obtained by prescription in oral tablet form and over the counter as a liquid or in foam.

Use of minoxidil to stimulate hair growth, side effects, precautions

Image Source: Dinodia

Among the many medicinal marvels tending to inconveniences in our body, there is one that stimulates the regrowth of hair - it’s called minoxidil. The introduction of minoxidil took place in the 1970s as an antihypertensive vasodilator. The medicine is also used for various other hair loss conditions. The minoxidil solution and foam are used for hair growth in male pattern baldness. But the usage is restricted to baldness at the front of the scalp or in the case of a receding hairline in men. For women with thinning hair, the foam and two percent minoxidil solution are used for hair growth.

How Minoxidil Works For Hair Growth

Minoxidil medicine is basically a potassium channel opener. The vasodilation action – the pushing of blood flow to areas that lack oxygen and nutrients – of the medicine, therefore, helps in expanding the blood vessels, which aids in great blood flow. And through the process of vasodilation, the application of minoxidil on the scalp leads to an increase in blood flow. This increased blood flow ends up providing more nutrition and oxygen to the hair follicle. This process then helps in preventing hair cell death as well as enhancing new hair growth.

Minoxidil also has a positive effect on hair growth due to the presence of metabolites and minoxidil sulfate located in hair follicles as well as varies in its production depending upon individuals.

According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately 1.4 percent of topical minoxidil is absorbed by a normal scalp, whereas the increase in absorption takes place with drug concentration, the frequency of its application, and damage to the barrier function of the stratum corneum. Systemic absorption of topical minoxidil is less than 99 percent of the amount applied on the scalp. Minoxidil does not bind to plasma proteins or cross the blood-brain barrier. Approximately 95 percent of the systemically absorbed drug and its metabolites are excreted via the kidney within four days.

The Ways Of Putting Minoxidil Into Use

  • The application of minoxidil is done for the treatment of hair loss as it is effective in promoting hair growth for androgenic alopecia.

  • In the case of an autoimmune disease of the hair follicles called alopecia areata, minoxidil is occasionally used off-label as monotherapy or in combination with other treatments.

  • Also, there is low-dose oral minoxidil medication that is used off-label for hair loss, especially for permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia.

  • Minoxidil is also used in medical cases of scarring alopecia, and hair shaft disorders as well as to improve body hair growth in eyebrows and beards.

  • Minoxidil is most effective in treating hereditary hair loss or thinning at the top of the scalp, not in front.

  • Generally, minoxidil is used for severe hypertension when the patient isn’t responding to other medications.

The Various Side Effects Of Minoxidil

  • The administration of minoxidil is generally done with a loop diuretic in order to prevent sodium and potassium retention in the patient’s body.

  • At the same time, there are chances that minoxidil can cause reflex tachycardia. In some medical scenarios, it is prescribed with a beta blocker.

  • There are some common side effects such as itching of the eye, itching, redness or irritation at the treated area, unwanted hair growth elsewhere on the body, rash, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, tachycardia, headache, sudden and unexplained weight gain, or swelling of the hands and feet.

  • Some of the rare side effects that have been noticed are erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, decreased libido, and skin disorders.

  • Oral minoxidil may cause facial swelling and extremities, rapid heartbeat, or lightheadedness.

Some Precautions To Keep In Mind

  • Minoxidil is not to be used on people 18 years old or younger.  

  • This medication is also restricted in case of sudden hair loss, bald hair patches, unexplained hair loss, or hair loss after giving birth.

  • The product contains inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or related issues. Especially in case of allergies such as eczema, infection, cuts, chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, kidney or liver disease.

  • Also in case of pregnancy, the usage of this medication is advised only when needed.

Minoxidil was discovered over six decades ago and is still effective, giving the desired results. However, the medication comes with its own set of side effects and is always advised to be used after proper consultation.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.