Whether you are male or female, you may experience baldness or thinning in certain areas of your scalp. But don’t fret, minoxidil will be your new next best friend. Minoxidil (US brand name Rogaine) is a topical treatment that is found to promote growth of hair and slow loss of hair, and it comes in two forms: foam or solution. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat male pattern baldness and hair thinning. Using it correctly will give you the best results.
Consult with Your Doctor
Before using minoxidil, you and your doctor should weigh the advantages of the drug against its risks on your health. You should consider your allergies, if present. You should inform your doctor if you have had any past experiences of allergic or unusual reactions after applying minoxidil or any other drug. Inform your doctor of any other allergies (to food, animals, dyes, and preservatives).
Also, read the drug contents and label to investigate if it contains any ingredients that you may be allergic to. It was found that propylene glycol was the leading causative agent in majority of allergic cases. If you have had any allergic reactions to this, you may want to try other formulations using alternative solvents like polysorbate, butylene glycol, or glycerol.
The use of minoxidil may have an effect if you have other medical conditions, so talk to your doctor if minoxidil can be safely used. Other skin problems such as sunburn or irritation on the scalp may lead to an additional absorption of the drug to the body and more side effects. Limited studies on the use of minoxidil have been done for people with hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart diseases. However, if minoxidil overdose occurs, critical problems may happen.
It is important to note that the Minoxidil comes with patient instructions, which need to be read and followed carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Use the product as directed only. It is best not to overdose your scalp with Minoxidil by applying more of it or using it more often as directed by your doctor. Minoxidil overdose will lead to an increased chance of drug absorption into the skin.
Additionally, minoxidil should not be applied to the other parts of your body. If you missed a dose of minoxidil, do not double your dose of minoxidil since this also increases the maximum required dose in a single day. Unwanted absorption into the body may cause undesirable side effects and may also affect your heart and blood vessels.
Use with Other Products
If you use other hair or skin products other than minoxidil, avoid applying these other products to the same skin area or scalp. Ask your health care provider or check the drug instructions if minoxidil can still be applied together with other skin or hair products to the area.
Unwanted drug-drug interactions may lead to side effects and further destruction of your hair. During minoxidil therapy, other hair products like hair colors, hair relaxers, and hair permanents can be used provided that your scalp is thoroughly washed before applying the product. These hair products briefly make your scalp more sensitive. That is why it is vital to avoid using minoxidil 24 hours before and after having your hair treated.
Steps to Apply Minoxidil
These are the steps on properly applying the solution form of minoxidil:
- Be certain that your scalp and hair are totally dry before putting minoxidil.
- Apply the correct amount prescribed to your scalp (or only the recommended area). Begin applying at its center and use the provided applicator with the drug. If your health care provider gave you specific instructions on how to apply, be vigilant in following the instructions.
- Avoid shampooing your hair for 4 hours after the application of minoxidil.
- Wash your hands after application of minoxidil to remove the drug. This decreases the risk of absorption of the drug into your body and side effects such as allergic reactions.
- Avoid using a hairdryer to make your scalp dry after application of minoxidil. Doing this may render the drug less effective and may give you unwanted results.
- Completely air-dry the applied minoxidil for 2 to 4 hours after application. Be cautious when you go to bed since undried minoxidil on your scalp can stain bed linen, pillowcases, and clothing.
- Do not transfer minoxidil to your other body parts. This can happen if the drug is not totally dry and it gets on your bed linen or you did not wash your hands after application.
If you are using the foam type of minoxidil, follow these steps:
- Open the container by aligning the arrow on the cap with the arrow on the ring. Then, take off the cap.
- Split the hair into one or more rows to uncover the area of hair thinning on the scalp.
- Hold the container inverted and squeeze the nozzle to have minoxidil foam on your fingers.
- Using your fingers, scatter the minoxidil foam over the area of hair thinning or loss. Lightly rub the foam into your scalp.
- Wash your hands after applying minoxidil to your scalp. Doing this removes the foam in your hands and lessens the risk of drug absorption into the body.
Unlikely Side Effects
If you notice that your scalp looks abraded, sunburned, or irritated (red, painful, or itchy), stop using the medicine and consult your health care provider. Minoxidil topical (foam or solution type) should be only applied on the scalp. Be cautious in avoiding it to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you inadvertently apply to these areas, carefully wash the area with cool water. Some minoxidil drugs come into spray form, so be careful in not inhaling the spray.
Additional instructions include to avoid using the foam near an open flame or heat, or while smoking. Do not impale, destroy, or scorch the aerosol can. Store the drug in room temperature in a closed container. Keep it away from freezing, heat, fire, moisture, and direct light.
Follow these instructions, and you will be well on your way to either regaining the growth of your hair or slowing down the loss of it.