Question: I just realised I've nearly run out of minoxidil I've been using to treat my female pattern baldness. I bought a year's worth in November and now it's nearly June and I've only got a couple of weeks worth left. I don't feel like I have side effects or lots of regrowth, my hair is maybe a bit less thin but it's still not as thick as it used to be. Can I keep over-using minoxidil or should I start using the right dose now? I can't really only use the right amount because it doesn't cover my whole scalp so if I really do have to use the proper dose can you advise me how to make it cover everywhere?
Answer: Hi, Brenda. Thanks for your queries, over-using medication is never a good idea and certainly not something Belgravia would advise, but let's address each of your concerns in order...
Firstly, you mention you have female pattern baldness - we would query if this is a professional diagnosis?
You also say you bought a year's worth of minoxidil so, as the specialist pharmacies in each of our hair loss clinics do not dispense 12 months of high strength minoxidil in one go, we are assuming you are using over-the-counter products without the support or supervision of a trained advisor.
If you have self-diagnosed your hair loss condition, it is certainly worthwhile having an expert assess you as you also mention having to apply your treatment to your 'whole scalp'; this is not the case for women with Female Pattern Hair Loss.
There are also numerous reasons for thinning hair in women, so it's important to first know exactly what you are dealing with.
When using any medication - including hair loss treatment - it is crucial to follow the instructions provided to the letter. Over-using drugs will not make them work better or faster, but it may lead to an increased risk of side effects.
Just because you have not experienced any adverse reactions from over-using minoxidil just yet, this does not mean you will continue to be symptom-free.
We highly recommend you drop down to the recommended dosage and use your treatment exactly as stated on the product, or its packaging or patient information leaflet, from now on.
With regards to having the medication cover your scalp, the affected area in cases of genetic hair loss is the top of the scalp - from hairline and temples to crown - only. As such, there is no need to apply minoxidil to other areas of your scalp.
If your hair loss condition is confirmed as androgenic alopecia and you still find this area to large to cover with the recommended dose, we advise one of two things...
Firstly, you can either try your best to cover the relevant areas of your scalp and, for example, if you feel you didn't get quite enough coverage in one area, such as the crown, that time, the next time you apply your dose, ensure this area is properly covered on the next application. You can repeat this process each time.
Secondly, you may find it easier to ensure proper coverage if you switch to a different formulation eg. from a foam to a liquid, so this is also worth trying if you are still having difficulty with your applications. However, you must stick with the recommended dose and must not use two different formulations at one time.
If you are concerned that after the six or so months you have been using minoxidil that you are not seeing the results you had hoped for, it may be that you are not using the right mix of female hair loss treatments for your level and pattern of shedding.
In addition to checking you are using the optimum formulation of minoxidil, a hair loss specialist can also recommend additional hair growth supporting products which you could add in to your existing hair regimen and may find beneficial.
These range from FDA-cleared low level laser therapy devices, such as the LaserBand, which has been shown to stimulate the follicles, helping to promote strong, healthy hair growth, to highly-targeted one-a-day food supplements.
Even if you later decide not to go ahead with these additional options, we still believe it is worthwhile checking in with an expert so they can assess your scalp and ensure you are using the correct treatment and optimum dose for your condition and medical profile.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.