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Is Minoxidil Effective For Hair Loss?

In the search for effective aids against hair loss many different products have been tried with varying results. One of the most popular substances is minoxidil and it is found in many different products available over the counter.

Minoxidil was originally developed to be taken orally and was used to reduce blood pressure. The issue was that it had some surprising side effects. They patients and those treating them noticed that hair growth was increased. It was then formed into a topical solution and promoted this way.

What Is Minoxidil

Minoxidil is considered a vasodilator antihypertensive drug. It is now technically used primarily as a treatment for Androgenic alopecia, the most common cause of hair loss in people. It is found in many popular brands of shampoo and topical treatments. Some of these are; Avacor, Mintop, Loniten, Vanare, Follinox, Prominox and Regaine/Rogaine.

How Does It Work

To understand how minoxidil works you need to understand a little about dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT is also called androstanolone and is considered an androgen hormone. It is an enzyme that ends up reducing the double-bond on 4 & 5 of the hormone testosterone. This causes the hormone to not function to its highest capacity. It is generally brought on by age and shows the greatest effect in the testes, the hair follicles, adrenal glands and prostate. DHT is often responsible for middle to late age thinning of hair and baldness.

Minoxidil is used topically, applied to the scalp starting at the hairline along the crown. It is effective in reducing and even halting the making of DHT, especially in the hair follicles. It is shown to stimulate hair growth by rejuvenating hair follicles. Some of this may be due to the fact it dilates blood vessels improving the flow of blood. In the area of thicker and healthier hair, minoxidil is extremely effective.

Side Effects

The trouble with using minoxidil is there are numerous side effects it comes with. Though the FDA has approved it in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia it doesn’t know the full effects of it when a woman uses it while pregnant or breastfeeding. When women use it they may experience increased hair growth on their cheeks, forehead and face.

There are other side effects as well. It can cause changes in hair color and unwanted hair growth in various places. Minoxidil can irritate the scalp, cause impotence as well as chest pain. In addition people who use it for some time can expect to experience some weight gain and very low dips in their blood pressure.

Moreover people using it can suffer from acne and even an allergic reaction that can be quite severe. There are many who have seen that once they stop using Minoxidil their hair goes back to being frail, grows thin or falls out. After prolonged use some have noticed changes in vision, hearing, and swelling of the tongue, lips, face and mouth. It can also lead to skin irritations, chest tightness, and breathing trouble.

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