Many men consider their hair to be their crowning glory. From the bold hairstyles that defined their teenage years to more grown-up styles, hair is a visible way of making a statement.
Unfortunately, hair thinning and receding hairlines are common problems for men. About half of all men will experience some kind of hair loss by the time they are 50 years old. It can become noticeable in their late 20s or early 30s, and male baldness is hereditary.
There are various forms of baldness, and they all require different treatments. Your GP will be able to advise on your type of hair loss and possible treatments. Male-pattern baldness can be treated with a medication called minoxidil, which is not available on the NHS.
What is Lipogaine Minoxidil?
It is widely thought that male pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia is caused by high levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone). High levels of DHT are normal in puberty but can cause hair loss in later life. DHT attaches itself to the hair follicle and deprives it of nutrition. The follicle shrinks and eventually falls out.
There are two ways to treat this: reducing the level of DHT or stimulating hair growth despite DHT. Many products will do one or the other, but Lipogaine is the first one that actually does both. Lipogaine stimulates hair growth while reducing DHT.
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.
How does it work?
Minoxidil encourages hair follicles to grow wherever it is applied. It works by widening the blood vessels, which allows more oxygen, nutrients and blood in to feed the follicle. It also works to produce thicker strands of hair where it is thinning or looking weak.
At first, you might notice the thin, damaged hairs fall out. Don’t worry; this is quite normal. As the product starts to work, you will see soft, fine hairs growing back, which will then turn to thicker, healthier hairs. The important thing is to keep using the product because it does require continual use to keep feeding the follicles.
How do you apply it?
It’s simple to use. Just put the recommended amount of liquid or foam on to the affected area twice a day. You will need to wait at least eight hours between applications. It takes a few minutes to apply, and the foam is even faster.
It can quickly become part of your routine as it takes just a few minutes out of your day. Minoxidil is also one of the most effective hair loss treatments on the market and is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to some of the other products out there.
Which is better: liquid or foam?
Whether you choose the liquid or foam version of minoxidil products is really down to personal preference. The liquid is usually cheaper but takes a bit longer to apply. The foam is quicker and easier to massage into your scalp, so it can be easier to apply, especially when you are first starting out.
You can also get minoxidil in a spray, which is even easier. Just aim the nozzle at the area you wish to produce hair and press it down. There is no wasting or spillage. The spray comes into direct contact with the scalp to give it the oxygen and nutrients it needs to encourage the hairs to regrow.
You can wash your hair before putting on the lotion or foam, but it needs to be dry. Three hours or more after applying the solution, you can wash your hair without washing out the product. Make sure the lotion or foam comes into direct contact with your scalp and not just with your hair. It needs to be absorbed into your scalp, so use your fingers to massage it in and spread it to the right areas.
Does it work? How long does it take to work?
Minoxidil is the only ingredient approved for hair regrowth by the FDA in the US. You should notice a difference in your hair growth and the condition of your hair in two to six months. The more you use Minoxidil, the thicker your hair should become.
How much does it cost on average?
The amount you use depends on how large of an area you wish to cover. A bottle should last about a month and can cost less than £1 a day.
Are there any side effects?
Minoxidil should not be used by anyone under 18 years of age. It should only be used for male-pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia. Women should not use the 5 per cent minoxidil solution; it is only for men. Women can use up to 2 per cent but should avoid it if they are pregnant.
You might notice some common side effects, such as a red scalp or a burning or stinging sensation, after you have used it a few times. If these persist, stop using minoxidil and contact your doctor if you are worried or the redness or burning do not go away.
If you suffer from allergies or fear you might be allergic to Lipogaine, you can always put a couple of drops into the crease of your elbow or just behind your ear. If there is any redness or inflammation, then you are advised not to use the product.
There are some more serious side effects, although these are less common. They can include shortness of breath; an irregular heartbeat; chest pains; sudden weight gain; feeling tired, faint or dizzy; or swelling of the hands and feet. Allergic reactions are rare, but you are more likely to have a reaction if you have respiratory problems such as asthma.
If you have any doubts about using hair loss products, consult your GP.