Minoxidil is a known treatment for male pattern baldness. It has been around for a significant amount of time. However, there is a lot of speculation regarding its longevity. Multiple case studies can help us come to an objective conclusion. The rest of this article will discuss minoxidil and how effective it is in terms of long-term use.
Technically, minoxidil does not lose its effectiveness over time. However, it does not address the root cause of hair loss (DHT). Without handling DHT, minoxidil won’t stave off hair loss forever. Even with normal aging, your hair will not look as great as it once, even with consistent minoxidil use.
Many people report that they used minoxidil effectively for decades, but the effects start to wane at 15 years. But combining the product with other treatments such as finasteride will make it more effective.
The effects of minoxidil will probably peak at about one year of use. Please take note that it does not stop the balding process; it only masks it.
Minoxidil is a topical medication for baldness. It has been around as a hair loss treatment since the 1980s, and its discovery as a hair growth stimulant was by accident.
The purpose of the medication was not originally for balding but for hypertension. It was unsuccessful as a medication for hypertension. But it was surprisingly effective in stimulating hair growth (Suchonwanit et al., 2019).
Since then, it has been utilized to help with baldness in both men and women. But it is significantly more effective in men.
Something to take note of is that minoxidil is not rated to fix receding hairlines. Its purpose is generally to take care of balding or thinning spots in the crown.
It has to be used continuously for a couple of months (up to 4 months). By that point, results should show up. The minoxidil results plateau about a year after the start of use. Hair growth reaches its peak by then.
There are two options with minoxidil. 2% and 5%. Studies show that the 5% variant is more effective in treating hair loss (Badri et al., 2020).
A major disadvantage to minoxidil is that the user would have to use the product all the time to achieve consistent results.
The product user cannot stop using minoxidil, or else hair loss will revert to normal. This level of maintenance can be too much for some people.
Minoxidil generally comes in the form of a liquid or a foam topically applied to the hair. Experts would recommend that the product be applied twice a day if possible, but once a day would be fine. The medication is available as Rogaine in its branded form. But it is also widely available in its generic form. Anyone can buy the medication over the counter with no issue.
Minoxidil remains one of the most recommended treatments for balding and hair loss. It has an excellent track record and a relatively low level of risk.
Since minoxidil is still a medication, there can be side effects, especially when applied in excess. The body absorbs the product.
The more common side effect of minoxidil is reddening or itching. The person using the product should halt use immediately or cut back. Even so, minoxidil is effective in most men with few side effects, so this should not be a major downside.
Some of the more severe side effects of minoxidil are chest pain, dizziness, swelling, etc.
While minoxidil does get absorbed into the bloodstream easily, it only causes systemic side effects if the user puts on too much of the product. If one follows the recommended amounts, absorption will be irrelevant.
Does Minoxidil Lose Effectiveness Over Time?
Minoxidil does lose its effectiveness over time. But not in the way we imagine it. It does not simply stop working or that the body starts to reject it due to continuous use.
The slow-down of minoxidil’s effects is mainly because the medication does not tackle the root cause of hair loss, which still happens in the background despite using minoxidil to boost hair growth.
Even with constant minoxidil use, the hair will still fall out, and growth will be cut short. Minoxidil is not a medication that can stop this process completely. Thus, over time, users may feel that it is slowly losing effectiveness.
This manifestation is not due to minoxidil losing its potency but because the medication is no longer enough to counteract the miniaturization of hair follicles due to DHT.
That said, there have been people who reported very long-term consistent use of the medication, ranging from 15 years to several decades.
Remember that minoxidil does not act as a permanent deterrent to balding unless you combine it with a DHT blocker such as finasteride. This will help you manage your expectations.
Remember that minoxidil has been well reached and used for quite some time. There are a significant number of case studies of minoxidil.
Other Hair Loss Remedies
Apart from minoxidil, there are plenty of other hair loss mitigation options that are available. Some people find that minoxidil is too much maintenance or do not want to take the risk.
Check out our article on natural hair loss remedies for more information. However, keep in mind that none of these will be as powerful as the big three (minoxidil, finasteride, ketoconazole). For more info on the big three, check out our main hair loss guide.
If you count on natural treatments to delay your hair loss, you might be disappointed, which isn’t to say that they don’t work, because they do, but nowhere as well as real drugs.
Minoxidil is one of the most common medications for hair loss. It has an excellent reputation and has been researched for quite some time. But, its results will not last forever. It is a highly effective form of treatment that will work well in most people. But it still has its limits.
Even so, minoxidil remains an excellent option to treat hair loss. You can get it over the counter or consult with a specialist to get proper treatment.