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What Types of Alopecia Can Minoxidil Treat?

By Kyle Kirkland
There are many types of alopecia. Find out if the medication minoxidil might be the right hair loss treatment for you.

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Since there are different types of alopecia, you need to see a medical professional to find out which kind you have. Depending on the reason for your hair loss, they may recommend the medication minoxidil.

What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a non-prescription drug that can spur hair growth and keep you from losing more hair, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Minoxidil comes in foam and solution forms. You rub it into your scalp, typically once or twice a day, the academy says.

What Types of Alopecia Does Minoxidil Treat?

“Minoxidil is the FDA-approved treatment of male- and female-pattern hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia,” dermatologist Adam Mamelak, MD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of alopecia, according to NYU Langone Health. About 50 million men in the United States have it.

Mamelak says minoxidil “is also showing its usefulness” for:

  • Alopecia areata: an autoimmune disease that often causes round or oval bald patches, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 
  • Telogen effluvium: hair loss that can be triggered by a variety of things, from childbirth to surgery to severe stress, according to Harvard Medical School
  • Chemotherapy-induced hair loss

Minoxidil works best if you use it soon after you start losing hair. Once you begin taking it, you may continue losing hair for about 2 weeks before minoxidil starts to take effect.

You may have to take minoxidil for several months before you see results—and you’ll have to keep using it exactly as directed to hold onto any new hair you grow. Minoxidil can be more effective if you use it along with another hair loss treatment that your dermatologist recommends, the American Academy of Dermatology says.

The medication’s effectiveness has its limits. It’s not used for a receding hairline or baldness at the front of your scalp. 

Don’t Wait. Get Help Today.

The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to benefit from a medication like minoxidil. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.