Minoxidil Shedding!! What’s going on?! This is important… DON’T PANIC!! In many cases, during the first week or two of application, some further loss of hair will be seen. There is a good reason for this. Read on and, please, don’t panic! It’s perfectly normal.
Minoxidil Shedding. What you Need to Know!
Don’t worry! It’s very probably just part of the regrowth process! This can be a particularly disturbing side effect, especially as you’re taking the medication to grow new hair. However, you really have nothing to worry about.
The two most common mistakes made when using Minoxidil are perfectly understandable, but please, be patient!
- Those trying Minoxidil for the first time do not give it enough time!
As we discuss on various pages on this site, Male Pattern Baldness happens slowly – and so does treatment to reverse it. Some men have seen favourable results in as little as two months, but for most, the optimum effectiveness – and most visible results – is/are not seen until around four months in to treatment.
- Minoxidil users panic when experiencing what seems like even further hair loss!
Put simply, the effect of Minoxidil on the hair follicles can, in early stages on application, cause the existing hairs to fall out, as new hair growth begins. Think of it like baby teeth… the little ones drop out to make way for the bigger ones. We’ll go into more detail below, but initial shedding is a sign that the Minoxidil is working! In fact, many of those who experience worse shedding tend to have better results in new hair growth, in the long term.
What Causes Minoxidil Shedding?
Shedding of head hair is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. It happens to everyone – even those with full and healthy heads of hair – every day. Anything up to 100 hairs each day will be naturally shed by the follicles in your scalp. This happens as you hair leaves the “telogen phase” (the ‘resting phase’) and begins the “anagen phase” (or ‘growing phase’). We’ll go into those terms in more detail lower down.
When you use Minoxidil, your hair follicles are ‘forced’ (for want of a better word) from the resting phase in to the growing phase. A sudden rush of blood to the follicles can cause the existing, weakened hairs to fall out, but will only be replaced with thicker, healthier strands of hair.
Telogen?! Anagen?! WTF?!
As mentioned above, every man’s hair (and women’s, and children’s and monkeys, and … etc.) goes through clearly described phases, the complete cycle lasting anything up to a number of years. Actually, there are three phases of hair growth. Here they are…
- The Anagen Phase – The Green Light
By and large, healthy hair grows at a rate of around half an inch a month. Growth tends to be more in the summer than winter. The Anagen Phase is the ‘growth phase’ of the follicle, when hair will grow at a natural rate. This phase can last anything from two to seven years.
- The Catagen Phase – The Amber Light
When the Anagen Phase comes to a natural end, your hair will enter what is known as the ‘Catagen Phase’. This is a short period of just a few days, perhaps a week or two, when the hair follicles begin the transition to the dormant Telogen Phase.
- The Telogen Phase – The Red Light
Think of it as a ‘rest period’. After some months of growth, your hair will go in to a dormant or resting phase, when the hair is released by the follicle. This period usually lasts around three months, until the follicle reawakens for the next round of healthy hair growth.
This process happens in each follicle, with each follicle having its own cycle. If they all went through the same phases at the same time, everyone would suddenly go bald, every few years, then grow their hair back again. Clearly, that doesn’t happen.
Each follicle goes through this cycle individually, in its own merry time, so we all shed hair, every day, as each follicle goes through its own routine. As mentioned above, think of it like baby teeth, dropping out to make way for healthy regrowth.
As the healthy new hairs grow, they push out the older, weaker hairs, resulting in shedding.
When you start Minoxidil treatment,the hair follicles can be pushed from the telogen (sleep) phase into the anagen (growing) phase, which results in a temporary increase in shedding.
It is not uncommon to see a temporary increase in hair loss during the first two to three weeks of treatment.
This shedding does not happen in everyone, though. In fact, those who have the more intense – and worrying – shedding will tend to have better regrowth with continuous use of Minoxidil.
Please note, however, if increased shedding continues for longer than 4 weeks, you should consult your own physician to rule out other possible medical conditions.
Minoxidil Shedding Conclusion
Please don’t panic. The apparent increased hair loss is just a normal part of the hair growth cycle. Minoxidil can suddenly speed up some of this cycle and the result is temporary and, as mentioned above, shedding is most often a sign that the Minoxidil is working and will continue to work.
As we often say, give Minoxidil time. Your hair loss took time, so does getting back!
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