Myths Surrounding Minoxidil
In the contemporary trichology and hair care fields, minoxidil has become almost synonymous with AGA treatment, being prescribed by dermatologists for over 30 years. Despite its widespread usage, it is not yet fully understood how minoxidil actually works. Due to this, there are several fears, hair fall myths, and misconceptions--often clashing ones--surrounding minoxidil. While some fear that minoxidil may worsen their hair fall, others wrongly believe that it can reverse complete baldness!
Let us debunk seven common hair fall myths about minoxidil and get the facts right.
If you are about to start your minoxidil treatment, you might feel overwhelmed by all the information available online. We make it easier for you to separate the facts from the myths.
A very common hair fall myth surrounding minoxidil is that women can’t use it. The medical fraternity first approved minoxidil for treating AGA in men in 2006, which likely gave rise to the myth that it is not suitable for women. However, more recently, in 2014, Health Canada and the FDA approved topical minoxidil as a credible treatment for female pattern hair loss (FPHL). The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in India approved the use of minoxidil to treat AGA in women in 2021. Significant positive changes in hair thickness have been observed in women using topical minoxidil in various scientific studies.
While there is no doubt that minoxidil can help stop excessive hair loss and even promote hair regrowth in certain cases of AGA, the claim that it can help reverse complete baldness in either men or women is baseless. If you are experiencing excessive hair loss due to AGA, it is better to contact your dermatologist at the earliest.
Minoxidil tends to affect the anagen and telogen phases of hair growth. Because of this, some people may experience increased shedding in the first few weeks of using the medication while their hair cycle adjusts to this change. However, this shedding is likely to stabilize over some time with regular use. Most people start noticing the thickening of their hair within a few months of regularly using minoxidil for AGA, and you can expect the same results if you follow your dermatologist’s instructions. Just keep in mind that stopping your minoxidil treatment may cause your hair to fall out again.
Some unverified online sources might mention that minoxidil has no side effects. This is not true. While minoxidil is generally considered safe for topical application for most people, it does have a few side effects. Skin itchiness, rashes, dryness, flakiness, headaches, and facial hypertrichosis are some possible side effects of using minoxidil. However, not every person who uses minoxidil experiences these side effects, and in most cases where they do occur, the side effects are mild and manageable.
Another common misconception about minoxidil is that it is available over the counter at most medical stores. In India, minoxidil is a prescription medication that you can’t purchase over the counter. If you think minoxidil could be a probable solution for your hair fall issues, you first need to discuss it with your dermatologist, who may prescribe it if they deem it appropriate. Only a qualified medical practitioner can prescribe you any medication containing minoxidil only for the treatment of AGA.
Before starting their minoxidil treatment, many people believe that their hair color and structure will remain intact throughout the treatment. However, this is a hair fall myth connected to the medication. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some users of minoxidil experience a change in the original color and structure of their hair. Your hair is likely to become darker in color and curlier, coarser, and drier in texture following your minoxidil treatment.
A minoxidil myth that has been making the rounds on the internet is that minoxidil is bad for your skin. While it is true that oral minoxidil may cause skin irritation or rashes in some users, topical minoxidil doesn’t affect the overall quality of your skin in the long run. There is no reason for concern if you have normal and otherwise healthy skin. People with extra-sensitive skin or skin diseases should first discuss their skin issues with their dermatologist before proceeding with the minoxidil treatment.
Minoxidil is a scientifically-backed, widely prescribed medication for ADA in both men and women. However, because of multiple ways in which Minoxidil works is postulated, it has given rise to numerous baseless myths. Trust only credible sources of information when it comes to debunking hair fall myths.
Maintaining a healthy and stress-free lifestyle along with a nutritious diet is also important for optimal hair care. Visit your dermatologist for any hair fall-related complaints to get an optimal diagnosis and management plan.
Disclaimer: Minoxidil is a prescription-only drug. It is to be taken only after a dermatologist’s assessment and prescription. Please consult your dermatologist for further guidance.
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