Minoxidil For Hair Loss

Minoxidil (brand name Regaine in the Asia-Pacific and Europe and Rogaine in the United States) is a lotion or spray known for its ability to stop or slow down hair loss and or grow new hair. You can buy this without a prescription for treating androgenic alopecia (a common form of hair loss). It was first used solely as an oral drug for high blood pressure. Later, it was found to have the side effect of reversing baldness.

How minoxidil works?

It remains unclear how minoxidil stops or slows hair loss. A potassium channel agonist, minoxidil has the chemical structure of nitric oxide. It is also a blood vessel dilator, and possibly a nitric oxide agonist. This is perhaps the reason for its vasodilatory effects. It may however also be associated with minoxidil’s ability to treat hair loss and promote hair growth. It increases hair follicles and also the diameter of hair shafts.

Minoxidil is used to treat hair loss in both men and women. A 5% concentration solution is designed for men and a 2% concentration solution is designed for women. It appears that the 5% solution is more effective for men compared to the 2% solution. The 5% solution costs more, however, and may have more side effects.


It seems that the hair growth effects of minoxidil are best on people younger men aged 18 to 41 who have been going through androgenic alopecia for not more than than five years. It also works best to those people who are balding in the vertex (central) portion of the scalp. Minoxidil is more effective when there is only a small area of hair loss. Some of those who take minoxidil grow thin and wispy hair, while others grow hair similar to peach fuzz.

In order to have more hair growth, women may use minoxidil along with estrogen (like birth control pills or hormone replacement). Minoxidil must be taken everyday. If you discontinue using minoxidil, measurable changes will eventually disappear, and within six months to a year, any regrown hair will be lost.

Side effects

As a treatment to hair loss, the most common side effects of minoxidil are an itchy scalp, skin irritation, and dry scalp causing dandruff. Women who use minoxidil may grow facial hair, especially on the cheeks and forehead. Those who have heart problems should consult with their doctors first before taking minoxidil since large dosage can cause hypertension. In addition, minoxidil can also cause allergic reactions.

Other side effects of minoxidil include: lightheadedness and/or headaches, fast or irregular heart beat, decreased sexual desire, chest pain, rapid weight gain, and blurred vision or other vision problems. Minoxidil can also cause abnormally low blood pressure, acne on the area where it is being applied, impotence (partial or complete), and tingling or numbness in the face, hands, or feet. Most of these side effects may indicate that too much minoxidin is being used. So if you’re planning to take minoxidil, it is best to approach health professional first.