Topical Minoxidil: What Hair Loss Treatment Companies Don't Want You to Know

Topical Minoxidil: What Hair Loss Treatment Companies Don't Want You to Know

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Much has been said about minoxidil,  a common ingredient in topical hair growth products. If you’re dealing with male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, a.k.a. receding hairline, thinning crown, and bald patches, it might be something you’re considering to try. While it's generally well-tolerated among men, there are things you have to know before using minoxidil.

1. You’ll lose some hair before you gain some

Picture this: you start using minoxidil, and suddenly, it seems like you're shedding more hair than ever. What's up with that? Well, that’s how topical minoxidil usually works. It reduces the length of the resting phase and increases the length of the growth phase. With a shortened resting phase, you’ll  see more shedding. While this is only temporary, about 4 months for most, it’s also not the get-thicker-hair-fast wonder potion it’s touted to be.

2. It can irritate sensitive scalp

Another common side effect of minoxidil?  You might find yourself scratching your head more often than usual once you start using it. That is because the liquid formulation of topical minoxidil contains propylene glycol, an ingredient that can trigger skin reactions in some users. For some uses, this is temporary. But if yours doesn’t resolve on its own, consider another hair loss treatment without minoxidil.

3. It can cause dandruff

Where there’s itchy, irritated scalp, there’s naturally flakes, making it another common side effect of minoxidil. While a good dandruff shampoo can help keep the flakes in check, it also doesn’t hurt to find another hair growth treatment that doesn’t irritate your scalp.

4. You get new hair where you least expect it

In some cases, minoxidil is effective at regrowing hair. Sometimes it can be too effective, to the point that you’re growing hair where you don’t want it. It's a quirky side effect, but don’t worry, it doesn’t happen all the time. If it bothers you, you can consider lowering the strength, or consider using a more natural hair growth option.

5. It can cause heart issues in some

Now, let's talk about a less common but more serious side effect. Some people have reported experiencing chest pain, irregular or rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath while using minoxidil. This side effect is more common among those with heart conditions. Still, it is worth talking to a healthcare provider before taking minoxidil. They can help you decide if you should continue or consider switching to another form of treatment.

6. It might make you feel dizzy

Originally a hypertension treatment, minoxidil works by relaxing and enlarging small blood vessels. Excessive use can sometimes make the blood pressure too low, which can cause dizziness and lightheadedness.

7. It can cause puffiness, swelling, and weight gain

Although not common, some people have also reported puffiness under eyes or sometimes the entire face while using minoxidil. These symptoms are mostly minor but can be persistent and unpleasant. Some people also reported swelling of the hands and feet, as well as weight gain, from retaining fluid. If this happens, talk to your healthcare provider immediately, or consider other topical options.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

For some guys, minoxidil can be a good option for treating hair loss. But before you do, make sure to talk to your doctor about all the possible side effects, especially if you have existing heart or kidney problems. If minoxidil is not for you, don’t worry. There are a lot of better options for regrowing hair more naturally and without the same side effects.