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    What is Minoxidil Regaine?

    On this page
    1. How does minoxidil work?
    2. Does minoxidil work?
    3. Does minoxidil work for beards?
    4. Are there any side effects from Minoxidil?
    5. Does minoxidil cause shedding?
    6. How long does minoxidil take to work? 
    7. What happens if you stop using Minoxidil?
    8. What should I avoid while taking minoxidil?
    9. Alternatives to minoxidil
    10. What is a natural alternative to minoxidil?
    11. Where can I buy minoxidil? 
    12. Hair loss treatment with Online Doctor 

    Minoxidil is a medicine licensed in the UK as a hair loss treatment for men and women. Because it does not require a prescription, it is available from many high street pharmacies and Online Doctor services. Some pharmacies offer minoxidil as an own-brand product, but lots sell the branded version Regaine.

    Minoxidil is commonly used in the treatment of male pattern baldness and, as cited in a 48 week study, whilst 23% of men using a placebo reported improvements, 60% of men using minoxidil experienced more hair coverage.

    In this article we’ll explore the benefits of using minoxidil (Regaine) any side effects and alternative treatments.  

    How does minoxidil work?

    Minoxidil comes as a lotion, liquid or foam, normally in a strength of 2% or 5%. The higher concentration is usually only recommended for use by men and is labelled by Regaine as Extra Strength for Men. To have any positive effect upon hair loss, minoxidil must be applied at least once a day, every day for as long as treatment is desired.

    The method of application will differ depending on whether you are using lotion or foam, but the basic technique is to apply a small amount (usually 1ml) very carefully to areas of the scalp affected by balding and to massage it into the skin. If you are using liquid minoxidil, it is likely that you will be provided with an applicator to make the process easier and more accurate.

    It is important not to apply minoxidil to irritated or sore skin and to avoid getting it in your eyes. Minoxidil can also lead to unwanted hair growth if it comes in to contact with other areas of the body.

    Does minoxidil work?

    Yes, minoxidil has been proven to halt hair loss and promote new hair growth in men and women.

    In one photographic study, 60% of men who used Regaine Extra Strength every day for 48 weeks experienced visible regrowth of hair. In a similar study, Regaine for Women Regular Strength (2%) was shown to “stabilise” hair loss in 88% of women who used it every day for 48 weeks. This means that they experienced a halt in hair loss and/or hair regrowth.

    It’s also important to remember that this type of hair loss treatment will not work for everyone. Regaine Extra Strength states in its patient information leaflet that it should be used by men aged 18-65, and that it is most likely to be effective in people who fall into the following categories:

    • Men with hair loss or thinning only on the top of the scalp
    • Younger men
    • Men who have been experiencing hair loss for a short time only
    • Men who only have mild hair loss

    If you are suffering from very severe hair loss then it is unlikely that Minoxidil will be a viable treatment. You should talk to your GP about your options.

    Does minoxidil work for beards?

    Regaine the branded version of minoxidil has only been tested and approved for use on your scalp. There’s little evidence that it works to grow beard hair. One study noted statistical significance in beard growth, but it’s unclear how much hair regrowth took place.  

    Are there any side effects from Minoxidil?

    As with any medicine, Minoxidil comes with some mild side effects such as:

    • Mild skin irritations
    • Itching
    • Headache
    • Unwanted non-scalp hair growth
    • Nausea 

    However, if you experience any side effects, you should stop using Regaine and tell your doctor or pharmacist.

    Does minoxidil cause shedding?

    When you start using Minoxidil Regaine you may notice an increase in hair shedding. An increase in hair loss is normal and temporary. Although it can be worrying, this hair shedding should only last between 2 and 6 weeks.  

    How long does minoxidil take to work? 

    Regaine has been shown to encourage hair regrowth in as little as eight weeks, however this could be up to 16 weeks for some people. You also must bear in mind that the first six weeks of using Regaine may see a temporary increase in hair loss. 

    You can use minoxidil alongside prescription treatments, find out more in our Finasteride and minoxidil guide

    If you are a man who has tried Minoxidil and found it ineffective, or if you are a seeking an alternative treatment for hair loss, you might consider prescription tablets known as Propecia. Visit our online hair loss service to find out more.

    What happens if you stop using Minoxidil?

    The key thing to bear in mind when using Minoxidil is that any positive effects upon hair loss will be reserved once you stop treatment. Typically, hair loss will resume as normal after three to four months of ceasing treatment with Minoxidil. For this reason, Minoxidil should not be thought of as a hair loss cure, but as a temporary solution.

    If you miss a dose of Minoxidil, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.  

    What should I avoid while taking minoxidil?

    When using minoxidil there’s a few things you should avoid:

    • Shampooing your hair for four hours after using minoxidil
    • Using any other skin products on the same skin area on which you use minoxidil
    • Using minoxidil if you have sunburn on your scalp
    • Shaving your scalp
    • Applying sprays, gels, wax or mousse to your hair if the minoxidil solution you have applied is still wet
    • Applying hair colouring, hair permanents or hair relaxers to unwashed hair
    • Using minixodil 24 hours before and after a hair treatment procedure 

    Alternatives to minoxidil

    Although minoxidil is the most effective hair loss treatment for women and the second most effective hair loss treatment for men, after finasteride. You may be looking for other options.  

    Finasteride is a tablet taken every day to combat male pattern baldness, and is sometimes branded in the UK as Propecia. However it must not be taken by women. In one study, Propecia was shown to be effective at halting hair loss and promoting regrowth in 90% of men who used it.

    There’s also DHT blocking shampoo which may help support the hair growth cycle.

    What is a natural alternative to minoxidil?

    Taking medication, such as minoxidil, is one of the best ways to help hair loss. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help support your hair health. You can: 

    Where can I buy minoxidil? 

    Because minoxidil isn't a prescription treatment for hereditary hair loss, it is not available for free on the NHS. It can, however, be ordered online from our website, or bought in many high street pharmacies.

    Most pharmacies or Online Doctor services will offer Regaine but certain pharmacies will also offer other brands of minoxidil. In some cases, pharmacies will also have an own-brand minoxidil on their shelves. It's up to you which brand of minoxidil you use, however you may find that price is a factor.

    Hair loss treatment with Online Doctor 

    Here at Online Doctor we can prescribe Finasteride (or it's branded version, Propecia) to treat male pattern baldness. This is a prescription-strength treatment taken daily. You can find out more by visiting our online hair loss service.   

    We offer a hair loss bundle with Finasteride and Regaine or a non-prescription hair loss bundle which has minoxidil, hair loss shampoo and biotin capsules.  

    It is important to speak to your doctor before you start using minoxidil. This is because over-the-counter minoxidil such as Regaine is only licensed for use on hereditary hair loss (male and female pattern baldness). If you are experiencing hair loss of another kind, then treatment with minoxidil may not be suitable. 


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