Patient: I am a teenager and have recently noticed that my hairline is beginning to recede slightly and I’m developing a small bald spot on the top of my head. Both my grandfathers and my father are bald, so my baldness is probably to be expected (though not quite this early). But anyway, I’ve been researching different methods of treatment for this and, to be honest, I’m not exactly confident in the one that seems to be the the most common and the easiest to obtain, minoxidil. I keep hearing different things, but the things that make me skeptical of it are that it seems to only work for about a year before your body becomes tolerant of it and hair loss continues normally, and it only has a thirty percent chance of regrowing hair at all in the first place. So, I’m sure you understand my skepticism with the medication, but I’m also skeptical of the sources. So, in the interest of certainty, could you provide me with some accurate information about minoxidil, as well as some other common hair regrowth treatments and their effectiveness? Thanks.
Doctor: Minoxidil belongs to the class of Antihypertensives and acts by the mechanism of vasodilation. It is known to be used to stop hair loss and help in regrowth. It can be used to treat male pattern baldness only which usually occurs between 20-30 years of age. To address your concerns some studies show that while it is effective to promote hair growth on the top of the scalp it does not help in hair regrowth in the temporal areas ( areas just above the ears on the side) Also current literature shows that minoxidil should be continiued continuously for effective hair growth to continue and be maintained. Some studies also show that if applied twice daily minoxidil can continue to promote hair growth in most men with male pattern baldness for upto 5 years. Having said this it is important to note that very limited studies have been carried out on this particular use of minoxidil . You could start it and see if it works for you, There are also other methods like Finasteride which is a 5 alpha reductase inhibitor which helps to decrease the progression of hair loss and also promote regrowth. If neither of these work then you may have to undergo a hair transplant. I hope this helps you.