- 1 Does Minoxidil Work For Women? A Complete Review
- 1.1 What is Minoxidil?
- 1.2 Hairloss In Women
- 1.3 Does Minoxidil work?
- 1.4 Who Should Not Use Minoxidil?
- 1.5 Usage, Dosage & Application
- 1.6 When Will I See Results?
- 1.7 Where To Purchase
- 1.8 Takeaway Points and My Overall Rating
- 1.9 Minoxidil (Rogaine)
- 1.10 Pros
- 1.11 Cons
Does Minoxidil Work For Women? A Complete Review
I am writing a review on minoxidil because I have personal experience with this medicinal ingredient used to prevent and help hair loss in both men and women. I have shared with my readers in a previous post , hair loss is hereditary on both sides of my family, and on my mom’s side, both the men and women suffer from hair loss. I do not have to look too far down my family tree because my mother and my grandmother (my mom’s mom) both have such significant hair loss, that my grandmother wore a wig and my mother has hair extensions glued to her scalp to hide the baldness. So when I saw that my hair was thinning in my 20s, I was worried and stressed about it and wanted to find some solution. So does minoxidil work for women? Here my friends, you will find the answer.
I started my hair loss treatment search and decided to spend a fortune, with a company in Canada called Hair Club. My research concluded that the company was a reputable one and that customers saw results. This program started with a very detailed microscopic analysis of my hair follicles, where they counted the number of healthy hair follicles, measured the thickness of the follicles etc. This was done every month, to show the progression.
This treatment included shampoo and conditioner, a monthly hair cut and dye, a scalp massage which was supposed to stimulate the hair follicles and daily medication. The cost was approximately $300 per month for this package. Did I not see results? Actually I did. But why did I stop?
What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs called peripheral vasodilators which work by relaxing and enlarging certain small blood vessels in your body so that blood flows through them more easily.
The topical version of minoxidil, which is used for hair loss treatment, is applied as a foam to the scalp while the tablet form, is used to treat high blood pressure.
Topical minoxidil comes in 2 concentration levels: 2% and 5%.
The more common brand that contains minoxidil is Rogaine. This is the one that I used. Rogaine also contains alphahydroxy acid (AHA) which promotes natural skin exfoliation to help keep your hair follicles open and your scalp primed for treatment
Hairloss In Women
According to the American Hair Loss Association, while 85% of men will experience visible hair loss by the age of 50, 50% of women will also have hair loss and among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots.
This is quite a lot don’t you think!
I do not want to be sexist, but it is obvious in today`s society, it is much more socially accepted for a male to be bald than a female. In fact, a man being bald or even intentionally shaving his head may be very sexy! As for women… well some women can rock having a shaved head, but that is typically intentional and can be temporary.
Does Minoxidil work?
Claim 1 – Minoxidil is FDA Approved
In fact, minoxidil is the only approved over the counter hair loss medication for both men and women.
For women, the 5% minoxidil was only approved in 2014.
Claim 2 – Minoxidil Slows or Stops Hair Loss
Minoxidil has been proven to slow down and stop hair loss, but this is not permanent. What this means is that you have to use minoxidil continuously to maintain the results.
Studies have also shown that the 5% is more effective in women than the 2% formula.
Minoxidil treats Androgenic alopecia hair loss, which is in large part due to genetics or hereditary causes. As the name suggests, it involves the hormone called androgen, which is predominantly a male hormone. Women who have too high levels of androgen, typically experience this type of hair loss.
I won’t go too much into the different types of hair loss, patterns of hair loss and causes, but I wrote another post that details all of this, so please, feel free to read it.
This is why minoxidil is not a permanent solution. It does not reverse hormone levels produced in your body, so the root cause will always be there. That is why if minoxidil works for you, you would need to use it continuously.
So going back to my personal story, imagine going to Hair Club for the rest of my life at $300/month? This was a huge lifetime investment and if I had continued, I would end up spending more that getting an actual hair transplant! So as soon as I realized that I did not need all the bells and whistles that came with the Hair Club package, and it was just the medication that was giving me the results, it was a no brainer to just purchase minoxidil on my own.
Also hair club gave me the false belief that I could not purchase this medication directly, and that is was only available through them. Luckily I realized that this was not that case, and it is very easily accessible and it can be purchased at a very reasonable cost.
Claim 3 – Minoxidil is not for all types of hair loss
This is true. Products containing minoxidil as the active ingredient do specify that minoxidil will not work for people who have a receding hair line or for someone who already is bald.
As I mentioned before, minoxidil works for androgenic alopecia, which is a baldness or thinning that occurs on the top or crown of the head. This is the typical hair loss pattern for genetic or hereditary hair loss.
Claim 4 – Minoxidil Can Also Regrow Hair
Although minoxidil is more successful at stopping hair loss, it has also been shown to promote hair growth. This has been shown in studies for both men and women. The results have been consistent, since as early as the 1980s when minoxidil was first approved as a drug.
A more recent study in 2004, which took place over a period of 1 year, and involved close to 1000 men, found that all but 16 percent of participants, stated that minoxidil was effective for hair-growth.
A study with women over a period of 8 months, aged 18 to 45 years old, showed that 59% of the women experienced hair growth.
Claim 5 – Minoxidil Is Safe
Like with all medications, there are always risks of side-effects and so is the case with minoxidil as well. One thing is for sure: serious side effects are extremely rare. If they were to happen, they can include:
- sudden, unexplained weight gain
- faintness or dizziness
- swelling of your hands or feet
- chest pain
But again, this is VERY rare. One thing I want to emphasize here to my lovely female readers:
DO NOT USE MINOXIDIL IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR BREAST FEEDING.
There have been studies done on animals, that has shown that using minoxidil may increase fetus abnormalities.
The more mile common side-effects that you may experience are:
- scalp irritation
- hair growth in adjacent areas, such as your forehead
- changes in hair texture or color
Who Should Not Use Minoxidil?
Usage, Dosage & Application
For the 2% minoxidil, this has to be applied 2x per day. Studies not only show that the 5% work better for females, but also that the 5%, which only has to be applied 1x per day, decreases the chances of side effects.
For the foam minoxidil, which is the one I recommend, You only have to apply half a capful to the scalp. I put it at night before going to bed.
Watch this video to see how easy application is:
When Will I See Results?
Minoxidil is thought to induce an early anagen phase.
The anagen phase, without going into too much detail is the GROWTH phase. At any time, 90% of your hair stands are this phase and it lasts between 2- 8 years. That means for healthy hair, hair takes a long time to grow. So this gives an idea that even though minoxidil does start to work IMMEDIATELY, it will take time for you to see the results because hair growth takes time.
But by increasing the anagen phase, this will lead to increased hair length and hair thickness.
While I was using minoxidil, I loved to see all my `baby` hairs. Once the results are noticeable, which starts to be around 3-4 months, you will constable see new hairs and they will be obvious because you will have less thinking, and there will be hairs that are much short in length. Honestly it is amazing. After 1 year, you will feel and look really different, and obviously in a good and sexy way!
I really do appreciate minoxidil more now than ever because I had to stop since I am pregnant. It is crazy to see that my hair loss is worse than ever, and this is because of my heredity cause of hair loss couples with hormone changes during pregnancy. Plus, I have PCOS, which is also associated with hair loss. My hair is already visible thinning and I am only in my 1st trimester. I will have to wait until breastfeeding to re-start using minoxidil.
Where To Purchase
I purchase rogaine on amazon because as usual, it is much cheaper than else where. Also, I highly recommend you purchase the 4 pack, because as explained, you need to at least give is 3 to 4 months to work. The 4 pack will last you 4 months at least. So at the end, buying a pack of 4 means that each bottle will cost you about $50 CAD ($35 USD), vs $85 ($60 USD) per individual bottle.
Takeaway Points and My Overall Rating
The main points to remember:
1. KNOW THE CAUSES – not everyone is a candidate for rogaine or other products containing minoxidil. It works best for those that have hereditary hair loss and thinning which is typically characterized by hair loss on the top crown of the head. For women, the cause of hair loss is usually this, especially when it starts at a younger age. Women losing hair in post menopause, is typically hormone related, so minoxidil MAY help as well. You can discuss this with your doctor to make that decision.
2. DON’T WAIT- Studies show that minoxidil works best, if it is used soon after you notice the hair loss and if you are under 40 years of age. Why is this? If you have been losing hair from say your 20s, if left untreated, each growth cycle produces shorter, finer hairs, until growth ceases entirely. »So this does not mean if you start minoxidil at age 40 or older it will not work. It is more about the progression of your hair loss and when it had started.
3. STICK WITH IT – As I mentioned earlier, the effects will start immediately, which at first may make you worry because you may lose more hair. But the visible results will start to show within 3-6 months of using minoxidil.
Of course, everyone is different but if you do not see any results within 6 months, it is recommended you stop and discuss with your doctor. The same is true if you start to experience any side-effects.
Personally, using rogaine made me very happy. It is really difficult on your self-esteem as a woman, to lose your hair, especially when it starts to become visible. I started the treatment in my early to mid 30s and I immediately saw that it was worth the time and money. Even when I was at hair club, I was gladly spending the money because the results increased my confidence and happiness. I would have had a very difficult time leaving hair club, if I had not known what was the real reason for the positive results were.
Today, I am experiencing hair loss again, at a very high speed, because I have stopped rogaine due to pregnancy. I can assure you, that as soon as I am given the green light to start using rogaine again, I will be ordering my 4 pack immediately. I know that it will take time again to see the results, but the time is worth it and the monthly expense is also worth my happiness. Plus, when you think of it, who is just as guilty as me, spending way more than $50 per month on Starbucks coffee? We sometimes do not realize how we spend money on things that really give us no real health advantage or benefit. And really, let us be honest…$5 for a coffee? Nah, I personally would rather cut down on my foolish expenses and have a full set of beautiful hair.
Let me know ladies if you have ever tried rogaine or if you plan to order it:)
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