Among the most widely used and best known hair loss treatments is Minoxidil a formulation which is sold under the various brand names such as Rogaine, Regaine, Loniten, Avacor and Mintop and others. The interesting thing about Minoxidil is that to begin with it was developed as a Vasilodator or a treatment for high blood pressure, which was seen to have the interesting side effects of darkening body hair or encouraging hair growth; and was subsequently adopted as a hair loss cure.
We look at some of the pros and cons of Minoxidil for men –
The benefits of Minoxidil are –
1. Though it is not fully understood how exactly it works towards stopping hair fall, we do know that it is a potassium channel opener and that it widens blood vessels, thereby facilitating more blood and oxygen to reach the hair follicles. It may probably act as a nitric oxide agonist. It is also thought that the hair in the telogen phase is shed and in its place, thicker hair grows back due to the minoxidil treatment.
2. It is a drug that is available without a prescription of the doctor; i.e. it is available over the counter.
3. The benefits of this hair loss treatment are positive for about 50% of male users though some experts say it is effective only 20% of the time.
4. It is most useful for men between the ages of 18 and 41 years of age.
There are however a lot of negative points about using this hair loss solution –
1. The effects of this treatment take time to appear and it is only about 4 to 6 months after starting treatment that a perceivable improvement may be seen.
2. The effect of Minoxidil may be noted only until such time as the treatments are continued. As soon as one stops using the product, the positive impact will cease.
3. It doesn’t work with certain people and certain kinds of baldness; in fact its effects may be variable and this makes it a less reliable hair loss cure.
4. Low blood pressure could result from this drug and other problems such as increased, lowered or irregular heart rate.
5. There could be allergic reactions to the application such as rashes, itching, peeling, flaking and so on. Sometimes the reaction could be severe enough to cause breathing difficulties.
6. The alcohol present in the formulation tends to dry out the scalp, thereby producing dandruff and even acne
7. There is also a significant problem noted with use of Minoxidil – erectile dysfunction and a negative impact on sex drive are a frequently noted side effect of Minoxidil
8. In some cases, Minoxidil has the opposite effect – it causes hair loss instead of curing it.
So the bottom line with Minoxidil is that it should be used with care and after considering all the pros and cons. Take a medical opinion about whether this solution will work for you given your hair type, age, health, fitness levels.