Can Minoxidil Regrow Hair in Bald Spots?
Bald spots can be frustrating and embarrassing, mainly because a healthy head of hair is seen as a sign of virility and masculinity. It can also shatter your self-confidence, which can impact your mental, emotional, and psychological health.
If you consulted a doctor for your hair thinning or balding issues, chances are, they prescribed you minoxidil. This popular treatment, which also goes by the brand name Rogaine, stimulates hair follicles to promote hair growth for individuals with male pattern baldness (MPB).
How does it work? Let’s find out.
How Does Minoxidil Promote Hair Growth?
Minoxidil is an effective treatment that works for almost 2 out of 3 men. It is a vasodilator, which means it dilates the blood vessels to improve blood flow to areas of the scalp where it is applied.
As to how it works, the inner workings of this treatment are still unknown.
The idea behind minoxidil's success is it interacts with sulfotransferase — an enzyme that turns into a type of salt: minoxidil sulfate. Minoxidil sulfate shortens the telogen or resting phase of your hair follicle (the dormant stage) and pushes it to more rapidly enter the anagen or growing phase. It also increases the duration of the anagen phase to encourage hair growth.
This not only facilitates hair regrowth in certain forms of hair loss but may also improve hair density while increasing growth rate to give you thicker, longer strands.
Just like every medication, keep in mind that minoxidil also has side effects. It can cause skin irritation, scaly scalp, contact dermatitis, and hypertrichosis. To make matters worse, it can also lead to hair shedding, which can further alleviate balding.
Bottom line, it can save your locks, but at the cost of your scalp’s health.
The Verdict: Can Minoxidil Regrow Hair on Bald Areas?
Minoxidil requires active hair follicles to work. If you’re experiencing hair thinning, there’s a chance that your hair will regrow with proper formulations of minoxidil. With proper and consistent usage, it can minimize the appearance of balding by preventing hair loss and promoting healthy hair regrowth.
This process can take its sweet time to show results, taking anywhere between 3 to 6 months for acute male pattern baldness and longer for persistent hair loss.
It looks like a miracle treatment, but it won’t work for everybody.
If the areas of hair you want to treat are completely bald with no residual hair, it is a sign that the hair follicles have died. This takes away any chances of hair regrowth, meaning minoxidil will not be effective in the treatment of baldness.
To Put It Simply: Minoxidil Works on Healthy Hair Follicles
Minoxidil is a topical solution that works by improving blood flow to the areas it is applied, opening the follicles up to necessary nutrients that stimulate hair growth.
This helps regrow “lost” hair on the entire scalp, including the hairline, but will not be effective on bald areas with dead follicles.
This does not mean you have to let go of the possibility of having a full head of hair.
You can use:
- Natural oils like rosemary oil and peppermint oil to improve hair follicle health for “lost” hair restoration
- Aloe vera to protect your scalp from disease, paving the way for healthy hair growth
- Collagen-based products that increase collagen, the body’s building protein for longer, thicker hair
- Vitamin supplements such as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, iron, and zinc to initiate hair growth
Finasteride. This 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor stops testosterone from turning into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can stop your hair from growing, so if your bald spots are caused by an increase in DHT levels, finasteride might be able to reduce bald spots.
If all else fails, you can turn to:
- Hair transplant. It removes follicles from one part of the body and implants them in bald areas of the head to restore hair growth. This does not create more hair, rather, it distributes them more evenly around the scalp.
- Laser therapy. This light or heat treatment stimulates proper circulation and encourages hair growth in follicles by shifting them into the growth phase of the hair cycle, which can cause your hair to grow thicker and fuller.
- Scalp micropigmentation. This hair tattoo uses tiny needles to deposit pigment to the top layer of the dermis to create the appearance of a buzz-cut or clean-shaved look. Keep in mind that it won’t actually regrow hair.
Minoxidil will only grow hair on areas with residual hair, meaning, it will not be effective for regrowing hair in bald spots. But hair restoration surgeries can come to your aid. They are an effective way to target permanent hair loss caused by various conditions, including, but not limited to androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, hormonal imbalance, stress, and cancer treatment.
Talk to your trichologist to know which treatment will work best for you.