Minoxidil is an FDA-approved topical medication used to treat thinning hair in male and female pattern baldness. It works by dilating your blood vessels to increase blood flow to the scalp and comes in different concentrations and forms, such as gel or foam.
For many, it's a godsend. But, like all good things, it has its fair share of downsides however mild they may be.
If you’re using minoxidil or are about to, you should know that the medication can give you a dry, itchy scalp with flakes within weeks of starting treatment.
How does it do that?
Well, minoxidil can contain ingredients like alcohol. When you apply it to your scalp, the alcohol evaporates, leaving the remaining ingredients. This does more than just dry out the skin, it can also lead to dandruff after continuous use.
Dandruff isn’t serious or contagious, but it can cause itchiness and inflammation of the scalp when left untreated.
Scratching your scalp aggressively may pull on your hair and cause temporary shedding. It can also damage the skin, cause bleeding, and increase your risk of developing infections. It can even cause hair loss — the very thing you were aiming to treat with minoxidil.
It sounds quite serious, but don’t worry. Minoxidil is also associated with extending anagen, the growth phase of your hair. So, while it can cause hair loss, the condition is temporary and will improve with time. With the right dosage and consistent application, you should see new hair growth in about eight weeks.