Minoxidil is a vasodilator. This means it widens the blood vessels and increases blood flow in certain areas of the body. Minoxidil, applied on your scalp, will relax the muscle walls of the blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow to your scalp and hair follicles.
This vasodilating effect causes more nutrients and oxygen to flow through your blood to your hair follicles, potentially promoting growth.
However, minoxidil doesn’t stop hair loss. Instead, it actively promotes the growth of hair by causing hairs in a resting state (known as the telogen phase) to shed and replacing them with new hairs in the growing (or anagen) phase.
Because of this, one of the most common side effects of minoxidil use is rapid hair loss. This is a temporary effect that happens as your resting hairs shed.
At some point, the amount of hair lost becomes a lot more than the amount minoxidil can cause, and baldness becomes more and more obvious. To go into more detail than we did in this article, here’s how both frontal hairline baldness/receding hairlines and vertex hair loss (hair loss on the crown of the head, such as a growing bald spot) work. When an excess of free testosterone is in the body, an enzyme called 5 alpha reductase turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
When DHT is in your scalp, it causes hair follicles to shrink. The more they shrink, the smaller the hair shafts get; and gradually, hair begins to appear noticeably thin and fall out. After the hair falls out, the body reduces nutrient supply to the now empty hair follicles. The empty hair follicles then get filled in with biological debris. Minoxidil was originally created as a blood pressure medication. Some patients began to notice that when they took minoxidil, they experienced abnormal hair growth. Doctors began prescribing minoxidil off label as a hair growth treatment, and eventually, the company that invented minoxidil marketed it as a medication for men and women experiencing hair loss.
To summarize: by causing blood vessel dilation, minoxidil temporarily works by addressing one of the problems behind male pattern baldness. The effects of minoxidil don’t forever, and that’s because minoxidil does not address the problem of DHT by the scalp. To properly stop and reverse hair loss, you must block DHT and stimulate hair growth through dilating blood vessels.
The best way to stop both frontal hair loss and vertex balding is by using products that address all 3 causes: DHT, lack of nutrient supply, and blocked hair follicles. By treating these root causes, we can effectively stop and reverse male/female pattern baldness.