Minoxidil: What the Studies Say

In the fight against hair loss, one of the most effective tools in our armoury is Minoxidil.

Minoxidil is a topical spray in the form of either foam or liquid that is applied twice daily to the crown and/or scalp.

Minoxidil works by increasing the blood flow, and by extension, oxygen and nutrients, to hair follicles. This makes them stronger and stimulates the growth of healthier hairs that live for longer. This increases the volume of hair and helps prevent further hair loss.

Minoxidil was the first drug approved in the United States by the Federal Drug Administration (“FDA”) to treat male pattern baldness. It remains one of only two clinically proven treatments to prevent hair loss (alongside Finasteride).

Minoxidil was developed by a company called Upjohn in the 1950s. It was originally used to treat ulcers and then high blood pressure. When taking the treatment, men and women saw they were growing hair in random places such as the forehead. Scientists queried whether Minoxidil had hair growth properties.

Since then many studies have been undertaken and they have confirmed Minoxidil is indeed effective in preventing hair loss in men. These studies have generally shown three major findings;

  • Minoxidil works best in men with hereditary hair loss when applied at the top of the scalp (the back of the head under the crown)
  • It is effective in concentrations of 2% or higher (when Minoxidil was first consumed it was in pill form)
  • It helps prevent hair loss in about two thirds of men

One of the preeminent studies was conducted by Ronald C. Savin in the US. He undertook a 12-month study with the aim of evaluating the ‘efficacy and safety of topical Minoxidil in the treatment of male pattern baldness’.

He established three cohorts of men who were compared with a 2% Minoxidil solution, 3% Minoxidil solution and placebo.

He tested the cohorts at the end of month 4 and found that there was ‘significant’ hair regrowth amongst the patients using the minoxidil solutions (62% for the 2% Minoxidil group and 60% for the Minoxidil 3% group).

After month 4, he moved the placebo patients over to treatment with the 3% Minoxidil solution. Then at month 12, he tested the cohorts again.

He found that 91% of all men treated had some growth, with moderate or dense growth in 58% of men in the 2% Minoxidil group, 64% in the 3% group, and 48% in the placebo-to-3% Minoxidil crossover group.

Also, importantly he found that the topical Minoxidil treatment appeared to be safe and effective.

So there you have it. Minoxidil is a medical treatment that is clinically proven to work. As of today, it remains the only FDA-approved topical product for treating androgenic hair loss.

Hair loss really is a choice. You can learn more about our Hair treatments here

If you have any follow-up questions don't hesitate to contact us at help@manbehindthemirror.co.uk 

Written by Mike Firth, GP and Medical Director

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.