In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic (February/March 2020), a friend who has been living in Melbourne, Australia, for several years, revealed a problem he had been facing for several months prior.
While we could easily identify with the familiar issue of hair loss, we were not totally convinced of his affirmation that Minoxidil has worked to stop his hair loss and facilitate his hair growth.
Before revealing how our friend, Hamza, got Minoxidil to work for him, let’s look at what Minoxidil is and how it works to fight hair loss.
How Does Minoxidil Work?
Minoxidil has been around and approved for use in the treatment for hair loss by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988. At the time, Minoxidil 2% got the approval from FDA to be used on men with androgenetic alopecia.
Then in 1992, Minoxidil 2% liquid received the green light to be used on women. Since then, Minoxidil 5% liquid was developed for men and the 5% foam type was made available to fight hair loss in both men and women.
Currently, Minoxidil is the only topical application that is approved to be used for hair loss in women.
What’s interesting is that Minoxidil was initially created in the late 1960s to treat high blood pressure owing to its function as a blood vessel dilator (vaso-dilator). Minoxidil’s effectiveness in tackling hair growth was discovered by chance when high blood pressure patients reported that they experienced increased hair growth after orally taking the drug.
Its characteristic as a blood vessel dilator enables Minoxidil to widen and loosen blood vessels when applied to the scalp. This encourages the flow of blood and nutrients into the hair follicles, thereby stimulating hair growth. It is also believed that Minoxidil lengthens the anagen, (in layman’s terms, growth phase of hair follicles).
Some people may be concerned about the possibility that Minoxidil could mess up their hormones. However, Minoxidil works differently than Finasteride, another anti-hair loss product which was developed to suppress the hormones, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
This androgen is responsible for the shedding of hair. So in the fight against hair loss, it is important to reduce DHT. High prevalence of this hormone is a reason why you lose hair as it attacks your hair follicles and ultimately stunts its growth.
As with many things in life, we don’t usually discover something until a need arises. Our discovery on Minoxidil occurred in 2016 as hubby became consumed with the increasing amount of hair he had lost.
In this post we share how hubby tried Provillus hair loss treatment, a 5% Minoxidil for men. He used it for a few months, applying it twice a day as recommended.
He did experience a reduction in hair loss and slight growth of fine hair but stopped using Minoxidil after a few months because to him, at the time, it was a hassle to apply the serum twice daily. Although he did not develop any side effects from using this topical application, he was concerned that he could develop some with prolonged use.
You might want to find out more about Minoxidil’s side effects and/or consult your doctor before deciding to give it a try.
How Long Does It Take For Minoxidil To Work?
This is a fair question but one that can’t be answered easily.
To be objective, we found how (through reading, our own experience and that of others), Minoxidil could help mitigate hair loss. The question of how long you could expect to see positive results would depend on several factors:
- State/severity of hair loss
- Consistency and length of use
State Of Hair Loss
For those who have lost a large part of their crowning glory, we don’t want to be the one to dash hopes of regrowing your hair. But the reality is that Minoxidil would not work if you have lost most of your hair.
Similarly, it won’t do any favours for those who have experienced hair loss for many years.
However, if you have just started noticing some shedding of hair, you might want to consider Minoxidil to manage the problem.
While some users have experienced hair regrowth, it is not common to all users. Some would see a reduction or cease in hair loss (particularly at the crown area) but no significant hair growth.
Some studies have found that younger men tend to see more desirable results after using Minoxidil as compared to older men.
Specifically, it is claimed that men below 40 years of age or those who have been losing hair for less than five years benefited from the use of Minoxidil with reports of reduction in hair loss and increase in hair growth.
So the moral of the story is that the younger you are, and the sooner you start on Minoxidil, the better the results you could expect.
Consistency Of Use
Being consistent in using an anti-hair loss product is always recommended, be it a serum, shampoo, or supplement.
The challenge is to stick to something especially if you notice more hair falling out. Unfortunately, increased hair loss is something that you would have to contend with after starting on Minoxidil.
Some users claim to shed more hair for the first few weeks of use before they see a gradual reduction. It may take four to six months before you could see a significant reduction in hair loss.
Efficacy Of Minoxidil
Minoxidil generally works to help stop hair loss but not necessarily contribute to hair growth. This may not sound promising but in battling hair loss, it is important to firstly manage the hair fall before looking into ways to grow back your hair.
Minoxidil could help with hair fall, thanks to its ability as a blood vessel dilator. However, some studies showed that on its own, it might not work to regrow hair for everyone. This is the reason why Finasteride is sometimes recommended for men to complement Minoxidil for optimum results in reducing hair loss and stimulating hair growth.
There are no conclusive studies on the effectiveness of topical Finasteride on women. However, women of child-bearing age should not use Finasteride as it can cause feminization of male fetuses.
For those using Minoxidil, it’s really a bonus if you notice any hair regrowth.
But why do some people experience hair growth while others only see a reduction or cessation in hair loss?
According to researchers, Minoxidil is a pro-drug. What this means is that Minoxidil will not help in hair growth unless it goes through a chemical reaction in the body to turn it into an active ingredient called Minoxidil Sulfate.
For this to happen, it needs an enzyme known as Minoxidil Sulfortransferase. Our genes dictate the types and amounts of sulfortranferase present in our bodies as well as how they react to foreign matter. People with low levels of this enzyme might thus see reduction in hair loss but no hair growth.
Minoxidil 2% and 5% – Any Difference In Results?
In a study published by the Journal Of The American Academy of Dermatology, 393 men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA) were divided into three groups and given Minoxidil 5%, 2% and placebo to apply. The research concluded that the group that used 5% Minoxidil experienced 45% more hair regrowth compared to the other two groups.
Honestly, Hamza’s use of Minoxidil saw a far more significant result than what we noticed on hubby. But we believe that his success in seeing a reduction in hair loss and increased hair growth cannot be attributed to using Minoxidil alone.
In combination with Minoxidil, we know Hamza to be very diligent in using
- DS Laboratories Revita Shampoo and taking
- Watermans Growpro vitamins (that contains biotin, saw palmetto, vitamin D3 – claimed to help generate hair growth)
He topped the use of these products with patience and sheer perseverance. No, he didn’t see his hair growing in the first, not even the second month of using Minoxidil, the shampoo and the supplement. It was only in the third month that significant hair growth could be seen.
To recap, he did not use Minoxidil alone but topped it with
DS Laboratories Revita shampoo and Watermans Growpro supplement.
Will Minoxidil Stop Working If You Stop Using?
Can the encouraging result that Hamza experienced be maintained? Will hair loss be an issue of the past for Hamza? Can that dark, luscious hair stay with him for a long time to come?
A snag about using Minoxidil is that it must be used continuously and consistently twice daily. If you stop using it, you might not see an occurrence of new hair growth. Instead, hair loss would continue.
As of now, Hamza still sticks to his routine and ….. yes, still keeping that healthy-looking hair.