Hair loss affects everyone differently. While for some it is not a major problem, for others it can be deeply distressing and psychologically bruising, damaging their confidence and their self-image. Many men and women will investigate currently available programmes and products designed to arrest hair loss and restore growth.
Surgical solutions can be effective but they are invariably expensive, are not medically appropriate for everyone, and the results vary. Various proprietary shampoo and conditioner combinations have recently appeared on shelves and they claim to deliver excellent results. Based on active ingredients such as caffeine, which stimulates the scalp, they are significantly more expensive than ordinary shampoos and they offer variable results at the very best. For those seeking a solution to hair loss, one of the most effective and realistically priced options will be to invest in minoxidil.
So What is minoxidil?
Minoxidil has a long and much-contoured history. It was originally developed as a treatment for ulcers and, over time, its other applications were discovered. Researchers found that it was a powerful vasodilator and could therefore be used as a treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure). They also discovered that, applied topically, it seemed to prevent hair loss and encourage regrowth. Even before it was licensed for this purpose, doctors were prescribing it to patients, who enjoyed largely positive outcomes. Parallel controlled clinical studies showed similarly persuasive results and, by the late 1980s, the manufacturer, Upjohn (now Pfizer), had received a licence in America to market and sell minoxidil under its trade name Rogaine as a treatment for hair loss. It was quickly licensed elsewhere.
Rogaine underwent a number of incarnations, mostly related to the concentration of minoxidil and its formulation for application. Originally applied as a lotion, it was found to be more convenient as a foam or mousse and it is largely available in this form today. Upjohn’s patent has now expired and many companies across the globe now manufacture their own version of Rogaine; for example, Johnson & Johnson in the UK produces the Regaine range.
How does minoxidil work?
Minoxidil preparations are applied directly to the scalp according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The exact mechanics of its effectiveness are imperfectly understood and there are various theories. Generally, however, it is believed to work by dilating the blood vessels in the scalp and encouraging growth in the follicles of healthy new hair. Its effect is not instantaneous and patience is required, as it may be some weeks or months before any improvement is noted. To sustain its results, the preparation usually needs to be used on an ongoing basis.
Can anyone use minoxidil?
Minoxidil can, in general, be used by men and women who are suffering hereditary hair loss. Anyone considering purchasing a minoxidil preparation should realistically evaluate the nature of their hair loss; for example, sudden onset alopecia cannot generally be treated by minoxidil and needs to be investigated by a medical professional who can advise on alternative treatments and diagnose any underlying health problems. Similarly, minoxidil is known to be more effective on recent hair loss than on loss that has taken place over many years and on thinning hair rather than receding hair. Age may also be a contributory factor in minoxidil’s efficacy. Providers publish guidelines to help navigate the decision-making process and you should carefully consider these before committing to a particular product.
Most manufacturers will provide different preparations for men and women. The difference usually relates to the concentration of minoxidil, with the foams for men often having a greater concentration. Other ingredients may vary and affect males and females differently; therefore, it is important to choose and use the preparation designated for your gender.
Are there any side effects?
Minoxidil is generally well tolerated with no side effects. There are occasional reports of scalp irritation, but this is usually brief. As with all medicines, the purchaser should clarify with a professional that he or she can safely use it. There may be interactions with other medications and some individuals will need to check that existing health problems cannot be exacerbated by using minoxidil. For the vast majority it will be entirely safe and without negative side effects.
What does the use of minoxidil entail?
The specific details of application may vary from brand to brand and according to the type of preparation you have chosen; however, in general you will need to apply it directly to the scalp once or twice daily. For maximum effectiveness this needs to become an established part of your daily routine ‒a procedure you undergo as automatically as brushing your teeth or cleansing your face. Most manufacturers include with their product a set of hints and guidelines for incorporating minoxidil conveniently and painlessly into your day-to-day life.
Will it work?
As with every treatment, results will vary from individual to individual, with some users enjoying more dramatic results than others. Despite this, minoxidil remains one of the only clinically proven treatments for hereditary hair loss and is successful for most of those who use it. Used regularly and according to the directions supplied by the manufacturer, it can deliver great results for people wishing to reverse hair loss.
What are the brands of minoxidil and where can I obtain it?
There are numerous brands now on sale throughout the UK. Among the most popular are Regaine, Rogaine and Kirkland. The main differences tend to relate to concentrations and active ingredients, but different brands also offer various types of preparation. You will find foam-based products, for example, in addition to sprays and lotions. Time spent researching the brands will be well rewarded, as you will learn the advantages of each brand and be able to choose the best type of preparation for you.
After establishing that minoxidil is suitable and safe for you and that you want to purchase it, you will find it widely available. Most chemists and pharmacies now sell one or more brands and can advise you on its use and effectiveness. There are numerous specialist hair loss clinics that carry supplies and, increasingly, there are reputable online sources that provide cost-effective supplies and provide useful resources for information and support.
1) Kirkland Minoxidil
Kirkland Minoxidil is one of the top brands on the market. When the drug was being used to treat high blood pressure, it was taken in tablet form. Doctors noticed that the patients who were taking it were experiencing a change in their hair, including more growth and hairs becoming darker. Once the potential of Minoxidil was realised, it was approved for use as a hair loss treatment and was then developed into a formula that could be applied in the form of a lotion, foam or mousse. The strength of the formula is vital to its success; 5 per cent strength was found to be the most successful concentration for regrowing hair and preventing future hair loss.
2) Rogaine-Regaine Minoxidil
Rogaine-Regaine Minoxidil is an effective topical product that is used to treat male pattern hair loss (hereditary hair loss) and thinning hair. It is currently the only treatment that is available over-the-counter that contains the active ingredient Minoxidil. Minoxidil is a clinically proven ingredient that can help halt and in some cases reverse hereditary hair loss in males. It was first proposed as a treatment for hair loss after it was observed that patients taking the tablet form of the drug to bring down high blood pressure experienced the unintended side effect of noticeable hair growth. After further clinical research, it became apparent that applying the product topically to the scalp can stimulate new hair growth in some males, and people started using it specifically for this purpose.
3) Xandrox Minoxidil
Xandrox is a trademarked name for a combination of and DHT blockers. Customers can buy a range of minoxidil solutions varying in concentration, generally from five per cent to 15 per cent, combined with other active ingredients.
4) Lipogaine Minoxidil
Lipogaine combines hair growth stimulators including 5 per cent minoxidil, herbal DHT blockers and vitamins. Minoxidil was used to treat high blood pressure, but patients found their hair started to grow, which led to its development as a topical solution for treating hair loss. Lipogaine stimulates hair growth while reducing DHT.
5) RegenePure Minoxidil
RegenePure Minoxidil is a topical medication designed to treat baldness in men. When considering which approach to take to address your own baldness, it is important to be armed with all of the relevant facts. We’ve put together a guide to help you decide if RegenePure Minoxidil is right for you.