While the research tells us that most hair loss solutions take months to show results, we still want to see a difference yesterday. Nothing is more frustrating (and alarming) than taking the leap on a new treatment only to see your hair fall out even more.
Freaking out is totally normal—and so is Minoxidil shedding. Everyone is different, but the Minoxidil shedding timeline usually starts around 2-8 weeks post-treatment, after which new strands will start to sprout.
So, if you're in the middle of a Minoxidil shed, hang in there! It's just a phase (although we totally get if you want to hide out under a hat for a few months). In the meantime, here's everything you need to know about Minoxidil shedding, what causes it, and how you can know whether or not your body will react to it.
WHy does minoxidil cause SHEDDING?
While it may sound unfamiliar now, Minoxidil has likely been a staple in your father's or uncle's medicine cabinet for years. It just goes by a different household name: Rogaine®. Minoxidil is the generic version of the medication and, just like Rogaine®,it was originally used to treat high blood pressure.
But in the 1980s, researchers found that one of Minoxidil's side effects was hair growth. And so, the first topical hair loss treatment approved by the FDA was born.
The science behind exactly howMinoxidil works to fight hair loss was for a long time misunderstood. We knew that it dilated blood vessels and allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to reach the hair follicles—all of which encourage healthy growth.
By speeding your hair's resting phase and extending its growth phase—which usually lasts betweenthree to five years—Minoxidil essentially pushes more hairs into the shedding stage all at once when you start applying it.
But why does this only happen for some people and not others? More on that later.
Fortunately, the Minoxidil shedding phase is only a temporary side effect during the initial stage of treatment. After a few months, it tapers off as your follicles adjust to their new growth cycle.
how minoxidil works with the hair growth cycle
To understand how this treatment works (and why Minoxidil shedding happens), you have to get familiar withyour hair growth cycle.
Much like how our planet moves through the seasons, each strand of hair goes through its own growth, rest, andshedding phases. And when you start using Minoxidil, it can throw off the timing of your follicles' natural growth cycles—in the best way possible.
Your scalp needs to release old hairs so that new ones can grow in their place. Minoxidil essentially tricks your follicles into thinking they're in the shedding stage by speeding up their growth cycles. It may be a little distressing to see more hair in the sink than usual, but know that it's just a sign that your Minoxidil is working!
Here's a quick breakdown of the hair growth cycle and how that Minoxidil shed fits right in.
Also known as the growth phase, the anagen phase is when around 85% of your hair follicles are actively growing new strands. If you think your hair takes forever to grow, you're probably right. This phase lasts anywhere from three to five years.
The catagen phase is a mini transitional stage lasting only 10 days. During this time, your follicle shrinks and gets ready to shed. If you haveandrogenetic alopecia, your body's androgens (a type of hormone) may shorten your anagen phase and thrust your follicles into the catagen mode earlier than normal.
You’ll see no Minoxidil hair shedding yet, as the treatment doesn't have much effect on hairs during this phase.
Also known as the resting phase, the telogen phase is when your follicle takes a little siesta from growing new hair. Only 15% of your follicles are in this phase at any given time, usually lasting around three months.
In a study done on rats (who presumably now have gorgeously thick coats), Minoxidil was shown to drastically reduce the length of the telogen phase from 20 days to just one or two. Human studies need to be done to validate these claims, but it's promising news for the field of hair loss.
This is where the magic of the Minoxidil shed happens. After a quick telogen phase, your follicle is ready to start growing new hair again. But before it does, it needs to kick the old strand to the curb first.
This usually happens gradually, but because Minoxidil encourages more hairs to enter the telogen phase at once, you may see an increase in hair loss during the early stages of treatment. A not-so-fun phenomenon we've come to know as Minoxidil shedding.
does minoxidil always cause shedding?
You can't predict with total certainty how your body will react to a specific medication. However, most people do experience some form of Minoxidil shedding—even if it's just a few extra strands in the shower—and when it begins can be a little unpredictable.
You may start to see results from Minoxidil after only a few weeks of use, but it can take up to four months for the full effects to kick in. And although there's no guarantee you'll experience any hair loss, many people do report shedding during this waiting period—the Minoxidil shedding timeline is just different for everyone.
Still, it's a good idea to prepare yourself for an initial shedding phase after you start treatment. It's just part of the process, and in the grand scheme of things, a small price to pay for gorgeous, thick hair.
Unlike other kinds of hair shedding, thinning or loss, going through the Minoxidil shed requires no freak-outs or frantic Google searching on your part. You just get to sit back, relax and wait for your old hair to make way for the new.
Four months is the average amount of time it takes for people to see results from Minoxidil, but you may start to see (and feel) changes as early as two. If you're still waiting for your Minoxidil shedding phase to end after six months, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about alternative treatment options.
does minoxidil work for everyone?
Minoxidil is a powerful tool in the fight against hair loss—but it's by no means the cure-all solution it's often made out to be. For decades, the frustration surrounding the ineffectiveness of Minoxidil—not to mention the irritation of Minoxidil hair shedding—has been largely chalked up to a lack of understanding. But we now know that there's actually a scientific reason why this treatment doesn't work for everyone.
Daniel Alain's research team discovered thatyou need a specific enzyme (called SULT1A1) present in order to metabolize and make Minoxidil effective. Only about 30-40% of women and 50% of men have this enzyme, which means that the majority of people who use Minoxidil will never experience its full benefits.
And who wants to go through all the hassle of the Minoxidil shedding phase just to end up with the same amount of hair they started with? Not us!
Thank your lucky stars, because there is a way to find out if you have SULT1A1 enzyme activity before you start treatment. Daniel Alain's Minoxidil Response Test can save you months of disappointment and loads of cash on a drug your body will only reject.
Just order your kit, collect six strands of hair and ship your samples off to our certified labs. Unlike other hair loss tests that take months to deliver results, we'll let you know within 7 to 14 days if your enzyme activity is high enough to respond to Minoxidil. Learn more about our Minoxidil Response Test formen andwomen.
find the right hair loss solution for you AT DANIEL ALAIN
Losing your hair is tough—and so is Minoxidil hair shedding. But finding the right hair loss treatment doesn't have to be. Daniel Alain has helped thousands of men and women get their confidence back by arming them with proven tools and the latest information in hair restoration.
From our groundbreaking Minoxidil Response Test to our luxury human hair wigs, we have tons of options that will help you take control of your tresses once and for all. Plus, our team of experts are always here to answer any questions you may have along the way.
Our stylists will help you find the right hair loss solution just for you
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Minoxidil Cause Shedding?
Yes, it's common to experience some hair shedding when you first start using Minoxidil. This is called the "Minoxidil shedding phase" and it's a normal part of the hair loss treatment process.
Is Minoxidil Shedding Good?
Yes, in fact, it's a good sign! Minoxidil hair shedding means the treatment is working and you're one step closer to regrowing your hair.
When Does Minoxidil Shedding Start?
Minoxidil shedding usually starts around eight weeks after you begin using the treatment. However, it can vary from person to person.
When Does Minoxidil Shedding Stop?
Most people will see the Minoxidil shedding phase stop after four months. During which, their new hair will start to grow in. However, it can vary from person to person.
What Does Minoxidil Shedding Look Like?
Minoxidil hair shedding looks like your regular hair shedding, except it happens at a faster rate. You may notice more hair in your brush, in the shower, or on your pillow.
Does Minoxidil Shedding Affect Men & Women the Same Way?
Minoxidil hair shedding affects both men and women the same way. Everyone experiences some loss when they first start using Minoxidil.
When Should I See a Doctor About Minoxidil Shedding?
If shedding lasts longer than four months or you're concerned about the rate of your hair loss, it's best to see a doctor. They can help determine if there's another underlying cause or if you need a different treatment.
How Long Until Minoxidil Begins to Help?
Minoxidil takes time to work. It can take up to four months of consistent use to start seeing results from treatment, and the full effects can take up to a year.
Is it Safe to Use Minoxidil?
Aside from the Minoxidil shedding phase, it's generally considered very safe. Some other possible side effects include acne at the application spot, scalp burning, inflammation, reddened skin and swelling.
How Do I Get Tested to See if Minoxidil Will Work for Me?
At Daniel Alain, we offer a Minoxidil Response Test that can help determine if you have the SULT1A1 enzyme needed for Minoxidil to be effective. This simple test can be done in the comfort of your own home and only takes a few minutes to complete.
To learn more about our Minoxidil Response Test and find out if Minoxidil is right for you, click here to grab our test formen andwomen.
How Much Does a Minoxidil Test Cost?
Daniel Alain's Minoxidil Response Test cost a one-time fee of $139. We have a test specificallyfor men andfor women.
Where Can I Buy a Minoxidil Response Test?
You can purchase a Minoxidil Response Test directly from our website. We have a test specificallyfor men andfor women.