Skin and Beauty

Minoxidil - A Commonly Used Drug for Hair Fall

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Feb 13, 2017 and last reviewed on Apr 25, 2019   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

This article discuses the mechanism of action, uses, side effects and precautions of Minoxidil.

Minoxidil - A Commonly Used Drug for Hair Fall

Overview of Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the only drug, which has received FDA (The Food and Drug Administration - United States Department of Health and Human Services responsible for protecting and promoting public health) approval with proven biological actions in enhancing the esthetic appearance (hair growth) of an individual.

Mechanism of Action:

The exact mechanism of Minoxidil is not known, but the following have been considered.

  1. Enhance microcirculation around hair follicles through vasodilatation and stimulates cell division in epithelial cells (superficial layer of the skin) thereby slowing the aging of hair matrix cells.
  2. Alters androgenic effects on genetically determined hair follicles. New hair growth results from activity in existing quiescent (sleeping) terminal hair follicles and revives vellus hair follicles, and not due to new hair follicle generation.

Dosage and Application:

Minoxidil solution is available with a dropper which has calibrated marking up to 1 mL. The daily recommended dose is 2 mL per day that is 1 mL twice daily.

The hair and scalp should be dry before application. Scalp can be divided into four quadrants and roughly an equal amount of drops applied on each quadrant. Then, massage with the fingertips to enhance the penetration. The fingertips, hands and any other areas where the drugs spill should be washed thoroughly after application.

Duration:

Since hair growth will be clinically evident after 4 to 6 months, a trial for at least 6 months should be given to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug in a given person. Peak hair growth occurs after 8 to 12 months. Once the application of Minoxidil is stopped, then the hair fall recurs. Hence, once the desired results are achieved, a maintenance dosage is advisable to sustain the effect.

Side Effects:

  1. Local (at the site of application) - Irritant dermatitis, eczema, itching, dry skin and local excessive hair growth if spills over other parts of the body.
  2. Systemic (inside the body) - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, hypertension, increased heart rate, chest pain, anxiety and depression.

Precautions:

  • Defer application if infection or dermatitis presents at the site of application. Otherwise, it can exacerbate the systemic side effects due to increased absorption.
  • It should be monitored regularly for hair regrowth and side effects, especially in heart patients.
  • It is not recommended in pregnant and lactating females and girls under 18 years.
  • If it accidentally enters the eyes, then eyes should be washed immediately with copious water; otherwise alcohol base in this can cause burns.

For further information regarding Minoxidil, consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist

Last reviewed at:
25 Apr 2019  -  2 min read

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