What happens after you stop using Minoxidil?
When trying to resolve issues related to hair loss, many people will often try a number of different treatment options.
One of the most popular choices of hair loss treatments is Minoxidil – a medication originally designed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) which was later found to promote hair growth1.
However, while Minoxidil can offer a great, scientifically-backed method of slowing hair loss, there are various reasons why you might consider stopping using it.
Before we get into why you might decide to stop using Minoxidil, it is important to first understand what it is and how it works.
Originally developed as an antihypertensive medication, Minoxidil was found to have an unexpected side effect – promoting hair growth1.
While the exact mechanism of action remains relatively unknown, Minoxidil has been theorised to work by opening blood vessels in the scalp and allowing more blood flow to the hair follicles. This action then enhances the delivery of nutrients and encourages hair to regrow.
In research, clinical studies have shown patients with androgenetic alopecia experience remarkable increases in hair growth and a decrease in hair loss when using Minoxidil, with many users often reporting positive results in testimonials2.
Effects while using Minoxidil
When adopting Minoxidil as part of a daily routine, many individuals experience positive changes in terms of both hair growth and lifestyle. For example, these often include:
- Increased hair density and thickness
- Reduced hair loss
- Fuller appearance of hair
- Improved confidence and mental wellbeing
- More control over their hair loss
However, it’s important to note that individual responses to Minoxidil can vary.
While some users may witness significant regrowth, for example, others may observe more modest results, depending on factors like genetics, the underlying cause of hair loss, and how consistently the solution is applied on a daily basis.
Reasons for stopping Minoxidil
While Minoxidil is an effective hair loss treatment, there are a variety of reasons why someone might decide to stop using it. These might include3:
- Unexpected results – if you’re not achieving the hair growth results you expected, you might decide to change to another type of hair loss treatment.
- Side effects – for some people, Minoxidil can cause certain side effects like skin irritation, leg swelling, weight gain and chest palpitations that can impact their day-to-day life.
- Cost of use – since Minoxidil requires daily use, the costs can rack up over time, making it expensive to continue using every day.
- No longer required – if you manage to achieve the results you wanted to get, you may think you no longer need to take Minoxidil.
However, before you decide to stop taking Minoxidil, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of doing so.
The potential effects after stopping Minoxidil
Since Minoxidil doesn’t address the root cause of hair loss, stopping its use could gradually reverse the positive effects you’ve experienced.
After discontinuing minoxidil, your natural hair growth cycle resumes. Since Minoxidil works by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle and shortening the telogen (shedding) phase4, stopping its use can lead to increased hair shedding, returning to your previous pattern of hair loss.
This hair shedding won’t occur straight away either – any side effects you encounter while taking it should wear off within a few days once you stop, but the hair-shedding process may start three to six months later1.
Therefore, it’s essential to manage expectations during this phase, understanding that the effects of minoxidil may not be permanent.
Managing changes after stopping Minoxidil
Managing the changes in hair growth that you are likely to encounter when discontinuing Minoxidil will require two key elements: a proactive approach and careful planning.
Here are some of the key strategies you will need to consider:
- Learn about the natural hair growth cycle – Hair goes through cycles of growth, rest and shedding. Understanding this natural progression can help manage expectations and recognise that changes in hair density are a normal part of the process.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – a balanced diet, regular exercise and proper stress management all contribute to your overall health, which can, in turn, impact the condition of your hair. Ensuring your body receives essential nutrients from your diet is crucial for maintaining a healthy head of hair.
- Consider alternative treatments – if you’d like to counteract the hair-shedding effect of stopping Minoxidil, explore alternative hair loss treatments, such as Finasteride or FUE hair transplant surgery. By doing your research, you may be able to find an alternative non-surgical solution better suited to your type of hair loss.
One of the best ways to prepare for stopping Minoxidil is by consulting an expert. They will be able to answer any questions you might have, providing you with tailored advice to ensure that deciding to stop is the right choice for you.
Seek specialist advice at The Treatment Rooms London
Stopping taking Minoxidil is a big decision that requires careful thought and planning. As such, understanding the potential effects, changes in hair growth and associated risks that stopping it can bring is imperative, especially when trying to manage expectations.
Here at The Treatment Rooms London, our team is composed of highly experienced healthcare professionals who are always on hand to offer specialist advice.
We understand that each individual’s hair loss journey is incredibly unique, so we will work with you to find the best solution for your needs, taking into account factors like cost, your medical history and the long-term results you are hoping to achieve.
To get started, simply book a consultation with us and we’d be more than happy to help.
- Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S. & Leerunyakul, K. (2019) Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Des Devel Ther. 13: 2777 – 2786. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/
- Price V., Menefee E. & Strauss P. (1999) Changes in hair weight and hair count in men with androgenetic alopecia, after application of 5% and 2% topical minoxidil, placebo, or no treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 41(5 Pt 1): 717 – 721. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10534633/
- Shadi, Z. (2023) Compliance to Topical Minoxidil and Reasons for Discontinuation among Patients with Androgenetic Alopecia. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 13(5): 1157 – 1169. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10149432/
- Patel, P. Nessei, T. & Kumar, D. (2023) Minoxidil. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
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