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What is minoxidil and how can it help thinning hair?

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Minoxidil is the only over-the-counter medication for hair loss approved by the FDA for use by both men and women. It won't rescue a receding hairline. It does stimulate hair growth, although scientists aren't quite sure how it works.

It’s available as Rogaine or Theroxidil, or in generic form. It's sold as a liquid or foam and in two strengths: 2% and 5%.

Minoxidil works for about 2 out of 3 men. It's most effective if you're under age 40 and have only recently started to lose your hair.

Minoxidil does not cure baldness. If you stop using it, you will start losing hair again. Your hair may fall out faster than before.

You may have redness, itching, dryness, flaking, or other scalp irritation, though this is uncommon. It's more likely if you use the stronger 5% solution.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Hair Loss: Diagnosis, treatment and outcome," "Hair loss: Who gets and causes."

Avram, M. , March 2007. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy

FDA: "Questions and Answers: Finasteride Label Changes."

International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: "Low Level Laser Therapy."

Linus Pauling Institute: "Biotin."

MedLine Plus: "Minoxidil Topical."

Messenger, A. , 2004. British Journal of Dermatology

Adam Penstein, MD, chief of dermatology, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Lake Success, NY.

Trueb, R. , June 2006. Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on October 10, 2017

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Hair Loss: Diagnosis, treatment and outcome," "Hair loss: Who gets and causes."

Avram, M. , March 2007. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy

FDA: "Questions and Answers: Finasteride Label Changes."

International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery: "Low Level Laser Therapy."

Linus Pauling Institute: "Biotin."

MedLine Plus: "Minoxidil Topical."

Messenger, A. , 2004. British Journal of Dermatology

Adam Penstein, MD, chief of dermatology, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Lake Success, NY.

Trueb, R. , June 2006. Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on October 10, 2017

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What is biotin and low level laser therapy (LLLT), and how can it help thinning hair?

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