Non-surgical hair restoration with Minoxidil
Minoxidil is one of two FDA-approved treatments for male pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia. It was initially designed as an oral pill for hypertension, but it is rarely used because patients could not tolerate the side effects, one of which was unwanted hair growth. This sparked studying minoxidil in a topical form that retains the positive impact of stopping hair loss and, in some cases, even regrowing hair that they lost. The topical minoxidil is better tolerated and does not have the same effects as when taken by mouth.
The topical hair restoration method increases the length of the growth phase of hair follicles and the size of hair follicles, which dictates the thickness and diameter of the hair that grows out of the follicle. Minoxidil relaxes the smooth muscle in blood vessel walls causing them to widen and increase blood flow. Available in 2% and 5% strengths, minoxidil is the generic form of Rogaine®. Both strengths are FDA-approved for use in men, and the 2% strength is also FDA-approved for use in women.
Minoxidil was studied and found to be effective at stopping or slowing down hair loss at the crown of the scalp for younger men who have been experiencing progressive hair loss for fewer than five years. However, even when started early, minoxidil is more likely to stop hair loss than to regrow hair. While hair regrowth can occur, it is more common to stop or slow hair loss than to see hair regrowth.
Interestingly, in the first few months of minoxidil, fine hair loss may occur before being replaced by thicker, more mature hairs. Keep in mind that daily use of minoxidil is essential to maintain results.