If you’re using minoxidil to treat your hair loss, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes after applying the treatment, large amounts of hair start shedding, seem to come loose, and fall out.
This can be alarming, but it’s an average side effect of the medication. In this post, we’ll look at what causes shedding associated with minoxidil use and how to minimize it.
How does minoxidil work?
Minoxidil was initially developed as a treatment for high blood pressure. However, it was found to be an effective vasodilator, which helps widen blood vessels. This action helps to improve blood flow and reduce stress within the arteries.
In addition, minoxidil has been found to stimulate hair growth in both men and women. It is thought to work by prolonging the growth phase of the hair cycle and increasing the size of follicles. As a result, minoxidil is an effective treatment for male and female pattern baldness.
How does new hair grow?
When hair follicles are damaged, they can regrow. The cells at the base of the follicle divide to create new cells. These new cells push their way up the hair shaft, causing the old hairs to be pushed out. The new cells harden and form a protective sheath around the pole, giving hair strength.
As a result, the average person sheds about 50-100 hairs daily.
Still, fortunately, this process is constantly at work to ensure that new hairs can grow to take their place. As we age, however, our follicles may become less responsive to this process, leading to thinning hair. Fortunately, various treatments are available to help stimulate hair growth.
What causes minoxidil shedding?
Minoxidil can cause shedding of the scalp hair in some people. The exact cause of minoxidil shedding is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of factors.
One theory is that minoxidil increases blood flow to the scalp, resulting in increased shedding.
Another approach is that minoxidil changes the way the hair follicles are miniaturized, which could also lead to increased shedding. In most cases, minoxidil shedding is temporary and will stop when the medication is stopped.
However, in some cases, minoxidil shedding can be permanent. If you are concerned about minoxidil shedding, talk to your doctor about other potential treatments for hair loss.
What makes minoxidil good?
Minoxidil is good because it helps to improve blood circulation. When applied topically, minoxidil dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the areas used.
This increased blood flow can help to supply nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, which may help to stimulate new hair growth. Additionally, minoxidil has increased hair density and thickness, giving a fuller, healthier hair appearance.
In addition to its hair-related benefits, minoxidil is also used to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. By dilating blood vessels and decreasing resistance to blood flow, minoxidil can help to lower blood pressure levels. As a result, minoxidil is a good thing for both your hair and your health.
How to stop minoxidil shedding?
For some people, minoxidil can cause shedding during the first two to four weeks of treatment. This is sometimes called a ” telegraph pole effect” because new hairs grow at the base of the hair follicles while old hairs are pushed out.
Although this shedding is normal, it can be alarming and frustrating for people trying to improve their hair growth. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to minimize shedding and maximize results.
First, make sure you are using minoxidil as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
Second, take breaks from treatment every few months to give your scalp a chance to recover.
Finally, consider using a shampoo or conditioner that contains Ketoconazole.
This ingredient can help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy hair growth.
By following these tips, you can help to minimize minoxidil shedding and maximize your results.
How long will you experience shedding from minoxidil?
Shedding from minoxidil typically lasts for two to six weeks. After this point, hair growth should start to improve.
However, it may take several months before you see significant results.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you are concerned about shedding from minoxidil. They can help you to determine if this medication is proper for you.
What other alternatives do you have?
During our research, we’ve stumbled upon a few alternatives that might work for you, and we compiled them into a quick list – here.
If we were to really shorten it, it’d be mainly these three:
- Saw palmetto, biotin and collagen.
- Hair growth products – we ranked them.
- Finasteride (not suitable for women)
When to see your doctor about minoxidil hair shedding?
Many people experience hair shedding when they start using minoxidil (Rogaine). This is perfectly normal, which means the medication is working.
In most cases, the shedding will slow after the first two weeks of treatment and stop altogether. However, if you continue to shed hair after two weeks, or if you shed more than 100 hairs per day, you should talk to your doctor.
Excessive hair shedding can signify an underlying medical condition, such as thyroid disease or an autoimmune disorder. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. Your doctor can determine the cause of your hair loss and prescribe the best course of treatment.
Although shedding is a common side effect of minoxidil, it can be concerning for those new to the treatment. Understanding that shedding is a quick process that will eventually stop is essential.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to minimize the effects. Stay hydrated, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and avoid excessive heat styling.
If you experience excessive shedding or other adverse effects, speak with your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching to another hair loss treatment.
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Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Design, Development and Therapy, Volume 13, 2777–2786. https://doi.org/10.2147/dddt.s214907