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5 Minoxidil Products for Hair Loss

Minoxidil is reported to be an effective hair loss product ingredient, read on to find out where you can find it.
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Minoxidil for hair loss is certainly nothing new, yet surprisingly most consumers are not familiar with the name of this ingredient.

Ironically, many hair loss sufferers are familiar with the names of several hair loss products that has Minoxidil as a key ingredient.

Having once been used as a treatment for high blood pressure, the hair growing effects of Minoxidil were discovered accidentally.

A Brief History of Minoxidil

Minoxidil was first introduced as Loniten, a drug used to treat hypertension. It works by dilating the blood vessels.

By increasing the diameters of these vessels, Minoxidil reduces the pressure of blood flow. This it does by releasing nitric oxide, a known vasodilator.

However, balding people who were placed on Loniten soon noticed a positive side effect of the drug: Loniten was able to stop hair loss in these people and even stimulate the production of new hair.

In addition, the drug caused the darkening of body hair and the thickening of hair strands.

Soon, a 2% solution of the drug was released as Rogaine in the US and Regaine in Europe by the pharmaceutical company, Upjohn. The topical solution of Minoxidil was preferred because it produces far less system side-effects especially the cardiovascular distress experienced with Loniten.

Studies later showed that a 5% solution of Minoxidil provides even greater benefits especially in men experiencing hair loss.

When the Rogaine patent expired in 1996, more affordable brands of topical Minoxidil were released and it became an over-the-counter medication.

In 2007, Minoxidil for hair loss treatment was formulated as a 5% foam preparation and sold by Upjohn as Rogaine Foam.

Currently, generic foam formulations of the medication from other brands are available in the market.

Minoxidil and Hair Loss

Minoxidil is recommended for people just experiencing hair loss. It is especially recommended for people under 40 years whose hair started thinning within the last 5 years.

While Minoxidil is effective for reversing hair loss especially people with androgenetic alopecia or hereditary hair loss, it is not a cure for baldness because hair loss resumes within 60 days in people who stop using Minoxidil.

Minoxidil works best when the area affected by the hair loss is small. In addition, it has only a small effect in stimulating hair regrowth at receding hairlines.

The exact mechanism by which Minoxidil reverses hair loss is still under investigation. However, its ability to improve blood circulation through nitric oxide is believed to be central to his effectiveness.

When nitric oxide is released from Minoxidil, it dilates the blood vessels supplying needed oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the hair follicle.

Minoxidil also prompts the opening of the potassium channels in membranes of these cells. These channels act as gates regulating the inflow of materials into the cell.

Therefore, even while nitric oxide increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells, Minoxidil causes the cells to actively take them up.

In addition, Minoxidil increases the population of dermal cells (and unfortunately increases dandruff by this process too) and directly stimulates hair follicles.

The combination of these related pathways is responsible for the reversing hair loss.

However, Minoxidil can only provide the most benefits if there are papilla cells to stimulate. This is the reason why the best benefits are obtained from Minoxidil by people whose hair just began thinning.

# 1 -- Rogaine

That's right; Rogaine, one of the leading names in hair loss prevention and regrowth uses Minoxidil as an ingredient.

For more than 20 years, the topical solution that uses this ingredient has been helping men and women regrow their hair.

While the product was initially designed for men only, more recent developments made it possible to create a version for women by using a lower dosage.

The men's Rogaine formula contains five percent, while the formula for women utilizes only around two percent.

# 2 -- Vanarex

Another product that uses Minoxidil is the Vanarex line of hair regrowth products.

This brand carries multiple products in their line, including shampoos, conditioners, topical solutions, oral supplements and a serum, just to name a few.

Vanarex claims that users can see results in as few as 60 days, which is actually is a quicker turnaround time than Rogaine guarantees.

Some people believe that using a two part system that works internally and externally helps speed up the process or enables users to see better results.

# 3 -- Mintop Forte

As of right now, this is one of the few remaining Minoxidil products for hair loss that is still available by prescription.

Many users prefer this product because it continues to show results even after use is discontinued. Like most other products that contain Minoxidil, the topical solution must be applied twice daily.

After applying the solution, users should avoid washing their hair for at least four hours.

# 4 -- Loniten

This oral medication is popular as an approach to stimulate hair regrowth. However, users are more likely to notice side effects from the use of the oral version as opposed to the topical approach.

In fact, that is one reason users often prefer Minoxidil products that are topical as opposed to oral.

Though you can still have side effects, they are less likely with external than internal products.

If you do use this alone or as part of a two or three step hair regrowth system, monitor your health closely. Watch especially for things such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath or other cardiovascular related ailments.

# 5 -- General Products that Boast Containing Minoxidil

There are also plenty of brands, such as Kirkland Signature, which make hair loss products and simply tie the ingredient into the name.

For example, there is the Minoxidil 5 percent Extra Strength Hair Regrowth for Men by Kirkland Signature.

Before deciding on which Minoxidil product to opt for, you may want to take consumer feedback into account to help determine which one may work best for you.

One of the positive aspects of this product is that the cost is often lower than many other hair loss products.

One of the negative things about it is that the combination of other ingredients may not work together to produce results that are as promising as other Minoxidil hair loss products on the market.

Minoxidil Quick Facts
Minoxidil was first formulated as an oral antihypertensive drug called Loniten
New hair growth was a fortunate side effect of Loniten
Topical Minoxidil was first introduced as 2% Rogaine solution for men
5% Minoxidil was found to be twice as effective as 2% Minoxidil
Minoxidil is now also available as a 5% foam formulation

Minoxidil Formulations and Side effects

Minoxidil is available in 2% and 5% liquid forms as well as 5% foam preparation.

The foam formulation was released because some users experience contact dermatitis with the liquid form. When sprayed on, the foam melts on the skin at room temperature.

The 2% Minoxidil solution is only effective for one third of men with hair loss. Women have a higher success rate with this concentration. However, 65% of men with alopecia find the 5% Minoxidil preparations (foam or liquid) effective.

While the 5% solution is twice as effective as the 2% solution, some users reported that their scalps itched and that their hairs became sticky. These side effects are attributed to the propylene glycol solvent used in the 5% solution.

While oral Minoxidil has a short half-life, topical preparations last all-day. Therefore, applying the 2% and 5% Minoxidil solutions once every day provide almost the same benefits as the twice daily applications often recommended.

Topical Minoxidil is often prescribed with other topical hair loss remedies such as finasteride and retinoic acid. However, these agents might affect the absorption of Minoxidil.  Where Minoxidil absorption into the blood is increased, the risks of hypotension, scalp irritation and contact dermatitis are increased especially in women.

Women are also likely to see some unwanted facial hair growth while using Minoxidil.

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