Minoxidil proves to be a potent drug in combating early stage male pattern baldness. Minoxidil comes within the purview of drugs called vasodilators. It may not work very well on baldness that men experience in the front of the scalp or a hairline which is diminishing in general.
Women experiencing hair thinning or hair loss can also benefit from Minoxidil, even with a mild 2% solution.
Minoxidil is meant for those 18 and above. It does not prove effective for those who may have sudden hair loss especially in patches, or say in postnatal women, i.e. after delivery.
It is typically offered in the market in two strengths – 2% and 5%. The 5% one is meant strictly for men, women must not take it while the 2% one can be used by women and men both. Remember that its usage must be completely in accordance with doctor’s instructions and not as per your own whims and fancies.
It must not be used on a scalp which is say irritable or in a sunburned condition so as to avoid possible side effects. Bear in mind that Minoxidil contains alcohol, which by itself maybe a cause of some irritation in some cases. Ideally, always consult a doctor in case you are planning to take Minoxidil.
When it comes to storage, ensure that you store it safely in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or moisture.
Prior to using Minoxidil
Before you even begin to use Minoxidil, make sure that your doctor is aware of any allergies that you may have – to other medications as well as constituents of Minoxidil.
Moreover, there are many health conditions which your doctor must particularly be aware of, in case you suffer from them such as kidney or liver problems, heart attacks in case you have had any, pain in the chest, eczema on the scalp and so on.
Women should also exercise reasonable caution in case they intend to use Minoxidil especially if they are pregnant or nursing babies. In such scenarios, it is in fact best if they first consult with doctors about their plans to take Minoxidil.
Minoxidil comes with requisite instructions on the pack; make sure that you follow them meticulously.
Then before you begin to apply Minoxidil, ensure that you first clean and dry your scalp, although the medication can in fact be applied on damp hair as well. Take just about 1 ml of the medication and apply it on to areas where thinning or balding is most prominent. You may need to suitably part your hair in order to apply Minoxidil appropriately.
Gradually spread it in even fashion and then softly massage Minoxidil into the scalp. Ideally, you should apply the medication at least twice every day or in the manner your doctor would have advised you. Do not use other hair products on your hair when you are applying Minoxidil on it. Further, have adequate gaps between each application – they should not be too close to one another.
In case you are using the foam version of Minoxidil, a capful should be sufficient with all other instructions / precautions for application remaining the same.
As far as results are concerned, do not expect instant results since Minoxidil takes time to take effect. Typically, continue using it for at least the first 4 to 6 months before you really get to see any results for that matter. It is important that you continue to apply it regularly. Also avoid using Minoxidil the same day you might have colored or dyed your hair. Then don’t continue using the medication in case you feel gross irritation on the scalp. Of course it should be used only on the scalp and not on other parts of the body. Be careful not to get Minoxidil into your eyes; just in case you do, rinse immediately with cold water.
Missing a Dose
If you miss a dose, take the next dose on time. Avoid overdosing or taking two doses too close to one another just to make up for the missed dose(s).
While overdosing is unlikely to cause any major harm, avoid doing so nonetheless. In case you do, you might feel flushing, drowsiness, or fainting.
Side effects of taking Minoxidil include a burning sensation on the scalp or perhaps itching or redness. Of course not everyone experiences such side effects but in case you do, you must consult your doctor without any delay.
Major side effects include chest pain, swelling in the hands and feet, lethargy, unexplainable weight gain, dizziness, sudden appearance of body hair, as well as difficulties in breathing to name a few. In case you experience any of these side effects it is very important that you seek out medical attention as quickly as possible. This is particularly true since there can be other side effects also. Remember to stop taking Minoxidil any further if you feel major discomfort; you must get medical attention first before you restart your Minoxidil regimen.
Interactions with other Medications
Possible medications that can cause complications along with Minoxidil include other skin medications that you might be using for your scalp; blood pressure medications; and medications that do not go with alcohol such as metronidazole or disulfiram. At the same time, remember that just about any medication could possibly not go with Minoxidil or cause side effects, perhaps just in your own case. Either way, it is important that you get yourself checked with your doctor and also be candid about all medications that you might be taking at the same time. This includes herbal medications or just about any other OTC medications as well.