With so many promises of stronger, longer, thicker hair it may be difficult to know whether minoxidil, a topical hair growth treatment, really works.
We’ll walk you through what minoxidil is and how it works.
You’ll learn more about what kinds of results to expect, where you can buy it, and whether the product is right for you.
What is minoxidil?
It helps those with male and female pattern baldness by opening blood vessels which can increase blood flow to the scalp.
The result can help stop hair from falling out, promote hair growth, and help regrow lost hair. Minoxidil comes in a liquid topical solution and foam found over-the-counter.
There is an oral tablet available if the topical solution is not well tolerated, but you will need a doctor’s prescription.
In clinical studies, using minoxidil has proven to be an effective treatment to combat hair loss for both men and women.
What is minoxidil’s active ingredient?
Minoxidil’s active ingredient is called minoxidil sulfate, and it also has inactive ingredients such as alcohol, propylene glycol, and purified water.
The active ingredient, minoxidil sulfate, works as a vasodilator to widen blood vessels and increase blood flow to the scalp bringing nutrients.
When minoxidil reaches your scalp, it is believed to work by enlarging the hair follicles and elongating the growth phase to promote healthier, thicker hair.
Does minoxidil work?
Minoxidil was originally created as a drug to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
Doctors noticed that patients taking the drug were also growing hair and after going through FDA approval, started treating patients with hair loss.
In clinical studies, the use of minoxidil has proven to be an effective treatment for hair growth, regrowth, and building strong hair.
One study showed that 80% of patients with alopecia reported some level of hair growth.
Minoxidil may also decrease hair shedding by keeping more healthy hairs in place.
What results can I expect from minoxidil?
While clinical trials do show promising hair growth and regrowth, the mechanism in which this happens is still unclear. For some people, the drug will not help hair loss.
However, some people respond favorably to treatment with minoxidil. You can expect to start seeing results within two to four months. At six months of use, you may be able to visibly see new hair growth and decide whether minoxidil works for you.
If you do notice significant results when using minoxidil then you’ll want to continue using it. Stopping the treatment with minoxidil will eventually result in a return to your hair’s previous condition.
When you start using minoxidil, you may experience an initial shedding of hair.
This is considered normal and may be due to shedding fine hair to make room for new hair growth.
The drug acts to stimulate new hair growth where there are bald patches, and increase hair density and growth in existing hair.
The initial results from using minoxidil may be dramatic. Some people report their hair loss decreased or even a reversed hairline after about six months of daily topical application.
How do I get minoxidil?
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug that can be found in pharmacies, retailers, and online.
It does not require a prescription. If you are unable to tolerate the topical solution, you can see a doctor for an oral tablet prescription for minoxidil which may work better for you.
As with any medicine, please consult your physician before starting any new treatment.
Although minoxidil has been shown to have a few, mostly mild, side effects, there are some complications that can occur due to prior existing conditions or interacting with other medications you may be taking.
Where can I buy minoxidil?
You can find minoxidil in stores like Walgreen, CVS, Target, Walmart, and other retailers and pharmacies.
If you prefer to order minoxidil online for ease and privacy, there are several websites you can visit that offer consultations with a medical professional and fast, free shipping.
If you would like to order discreetly online we recommend using:
References, Studies and Sources:
Owner, entrepreneur, and health enthusiast.
Chris is one of the Co-Founders of Pharmacists.org. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris has been building and writing in consumer health for over 10 years. In addition to Pharmacists.org, Chris and his Acme Health LLC Brand Team own and operate Diabetic.org and the USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card powered by Pharmacists.org.
Chris has a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation and is a proud member of the American Medical Writer’s Association (AMWA), the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the Council of Science Editors, the Author’s Guild, and the Editorial Freelance Association (EFA).
Our growing team of healthcare experts work everyday to create accurate and informative health content in addition to the keeping you up to date on the latest news and research.