Is long term minoxidil use counter-productive?

Hair Loss Drugs

Minoxidil is an effective treatment for some men and women who suffer from pattern hair loss, but do the benefits offered by the drug reduce over time?

Pattern hair loss is hereditary and even if parents did not go bald there is a higher chance of it happening when there is a history of it in the family. Men who suffer pattern hair loss will find it will start with receding hairline at the front just above the temples on either side. It then progresses across the front moving backwards toward the crown. This is when the familiar horseshoe shape can be seen. Many will still have hair around the lower sides and back. For women it is not so dramatic, they will find hair thins and there may be the off bald patch but very few go completely bald.

The sooner the condition is recognised the sooner treatment can begin and the more successful it could potentially be. It is not a permanent solution and the medication will need to be continued for a lifetime if hair is not to recede again.

Minoxidil is one of two medically approved treatments for hair loss and the only one that can be used by women. It is applied daily onto the scalp, massaging gently to stimulate but not enough to do any damage to remaining hair follicles. It is helps to dilate the blood vessels around the hair follicles and encourage nutrients into the follicles. This will give them the vitamins and minerals needed in order to start regrowth and survive.

Some will also add growth boosters to the treatment which are often vitamin and minerals made to their own specification. It is wise to only use such medications under supervision as it can cause itching to some people and the dosage may need to be changed. This medication needs to continue if hair is to be kept, it is not permanent and it is not a miracle. There is the question as to whether this will continue to work as some feel after using for years there is no difference and the hair does not seem to change and maybe it is only a temporary solution.

Minoxidil does not stop working, and it will usually maintain any regrowth that has been achieved. What can happen to make it seem that it is no longer working is the fact that there comes a time when the hair will reach its own maximum regrowth and will not grow anymore, just the same as it would if it was a perfect head of hair. Eventually all hair stabilises and this is normal. If the treatment were to stop then regrowth would stop and hair that had been gained over the course of the treatment would eventually be lost.

Hair is important to many people and the thought of thinning hair or bald patches can be stressful. Finding a solution can make all the difference and there are solutions. What suits one person may not suit another and so seeking the advice of a professional can be important. Women are at more of an advantage as they do not have the same pattern as the men and can change hairstyle to help cover the thinning hair. A shorter layered style can make the hair look thicker and give the confidence a boost. It is also easier to keep and with a good shampoo and conditioner that moisturises the hair and balances the natural oils, the effects of thinning can go unnoticed. As the minoxidil starts to work then hair styles can be changed again.

For men it is not as easy but society is used to balding men and it is accepted, even if it is not by the person going bald. For those starting to show signs of baldness and thinning hair minoxidil is sometimes a potential way forward.

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