The Unusual History of Minoxidil as a Hair Loss Treatment

It is odd how something developed for one purpose can also be used quite successfully for another.  One example is Teflon™ which was originally used to protect components and fittings on military equipment during the Second World War, but is today more commonly thought of as a non-stick coating for cookware.

The world of medicine has also found that many drugs developed for one use had unexpected side effects which made them appropriate for other conditions.  Several drugs originally developed for heart disease and/or hypertension have been found to be useful treatments for other conditions.  These include Viagra, beta blockers (a possible treatment for breast cancer) and Minoxidil the most commonly used treatment for hair loss.

Minoxidil DropperMinoxidil was first used to treat patients with high blood pressure and was taken as a tablet.  However, patients taking it also started to grow unwanted hair.   This side effect prompted Upjohn, the pharmaceutical company behind the original development of Minoxidil, to begin testing it as a treatment for hair loss.  It found that a topical application to the scalp of a mild solution of Minoxidil could help to prevent hair loss and prompt hair re-growth in some patients.

The drug was the first to be approved by the American Food and Drug Association (FDA) and is available as a non-prescription treatment for hair loss and androgenetic alopecia.   Minoxidil is recommended for both men and women to treat hair loss.

Even though it has been around for more than 20 years, the mechanism by which Minoxidil works as a hair loss treatment is still not fully understood.  One theory suggests that as it is a vasodilator (it dilates blood vessels) Minoxidil may increase the blood supply to the hair follicles, which may boost the supply of nutrients and encourage hair regrowth.  However, Minoxidil has also been found to affect the cellular activity of hair follicles and rate of hair growth.  This has led some researchers to theorise that when Minoxidil is absorbed through the skin it brings about a marked increase in DNA synthesis in hair follicle cells.  Although we may not yet fully understand why it works, it’s clear that Minoxidil can help some patients to prevent further hair loss and promote hair growth.

At the Belgravia Centre there are a number of high strength minoxidil products available. Please contact us for further details.

Whilst not everyone is worried about their hair loss, it does cause concern for some.   If you are uneasy about your hair thinning or loss, you may want to get specialist advice. At the Belgravia Centre our team of hair loss specialists will provide a detailed consultation and recommend the best treatment for your particular needs, as well as offering trichological monitoring and aftercare advice.


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The Belgravia Centre

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.

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