If you have been losing hair, chances are that you have considered a hair transplant, and if you have then there is also the chance that you have met with a transplant surgeon or at least a hair expert. If your hair loss is not extreme, there is quite the possibility that the doctor would have told you that you could try certain non-invasive methods first and might have prescribed you topical treatments. One of the most popular topical treatments happens to be Minoxidil, which is known all over the world by several names, mainly because of the different companies that manufacture the same.

Let’s first understand what Minoxidil actually is:

Minoxidil is a topical hair restoration medication, which was first approved in 1988 by FDA to treat male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. What was first patented as Rogaine is now available in a variety of names, but the concentration is normally 2 or 5 percent. Because the medication is available over the counter, many people tend to start using it without the approval or prescription of a doctor. Minoxidil should ideally be used twice a day and should be left to work for a minimum of four hours, before being washed out. However, what a lot of people are not aware of is that Minoxidil will work only as long as you keep using it – stop using it and hair fall is bound to return.

How does Minoxidil work:

There is actually still a little bit of confusion on how Minoxidil actually works, but popular belief is that the medicine is actually a vasodilator, which leads to improved blood flow, and when the blood flow improves, the hair follicles receive more nutrition. Recent studies have shown that prostaglandins play an important role in hair growth and Minoxidil helps with the activation of prostaglandins. What is perhaps most important to understand about Minoxidil is that it might not work for everyone and if it does work for someone, it might not show the kind of results that might be expected.

Studies have shown that Minoxidil tends to work best on people who have androgenetic alopecia and better results have been seen when it is used in tandem with finasteride. The efficacy of the topical treatment will also be dependent on where the hair loss is most prominent because it tends to work better on the crown area, as opposed to the frontal part. The strength of the formula will also make a difference, because the stronger the formula, the better the chances of your hair growing back.

There are benefits of using Minoxidil:

• If used in the right manner and in exact quantity, there is a chance that your hair will regrow. Studies have shown that close to 40% of users have seen positive results after regular usage.

• Perhaps the biggest benefit of using Minoxidil is that it can be used in conjunction with other hair restoration treatments, including hair transplants.

• Normally, Minoxidil is available as an over-the-counter drug, which means that you will be able to get your hands on it, without a doctor’s prescription.

• The fact that it is extremely easy to use is also one of the benefits because all you need to do is apply as per instructions. If you are choosing to use an oral version, you will have to take it in the same manner as a normal pill.

• Most transplant surgeons will actually prescribe Minoxidil after a hair transplant because it can help with regrowth. However, it is important that you use it only and only if your transplant surgeon prescribes it.

But there are side effects to using Minoxidil as well:

However, it is important to remember that where there are pros, there are bound to be cons as well and these are the main cons of Minoxidil:

• With regular usage, you could notice your scalp becoming extremely dry and when your scalp becomes dry, dandruff is sure to follow.

• When your scalp becomes dry, you will also feel itching on your scalp and should you scratch the scalp, it could become red and inflamed.

• In more severe cases, you could start seeing hair growth in other places on the body.

• Constant usage could lead to increased heart rate, pain in the chest, fainting, and even swollen hands and feet.

• Although Minoxidil is known to work for both men and women, there can be side effects on the fetus, should pregnant women use it.

• Once you start using it, you need to make sure that you are always using it, because the day you stop using it, you will notice that your hair loss is back.

• If your hair loss is truly profound, you might notice that Minoxidil will not work as effectively. In such cases, the only option might be a hair transplant.

• And of course, there is the greatest negative – it might not work for everyone.

If you are planning to use this product, it is imperative that you understand the pros and cons of Minoxidil pros and cons of Minoxidil and talk to a doctor, before usage.

Author's Bio: 

This article was written by Dr. Kapil Dua, a hair restoration expert & co-founder of AK Clinics. He loves to help people get their hair back and keep it healthy all the way.