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Dr. Justin Rome: Does Minoxidil Work For A Receding Hairline?

Does Minoxidil work for the hairline or just a bald spot on the crown? Learn more about where Minoxidil can work and how to best apply it for hair loss treatment.

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There is a lot of back and forth on the internet about where exactly Minoxidil can help with hair loss. Some claim that Minoxidil is only effective at the vertex or crown of the head, which is the area most commonly plagued with the “bald spot” at the back of the head. So, for men who are dealing with both a bald spot on the vertex, plus some frontal and temporal losses (the front and hairline area), is it true that if Minoxidil is applied all over the head, it will only help with hair loss at the vertex?

As it turns out, studies show that Minoxidil can have a significant effect on the hair density and thickness when used on the frontotemporal regions of the head as well, and it is not just a “bald spot” medication as some may claim.

The confusion here may have stemmed from the fact that way back when the first studies were being done in the 1970s and 1980s assessing how well Minoxidil works for hair loss, the studies mainly looked for increased hair growth on the crown of the head and reported those results specifically mentioning the crown. The full mechanism behind why Minoxidil works so well for hair growth is not fully known, but what we do know is that it is a vasodilator medication that brings more blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen to where it is applied. And, Minoxidil may help some of the follicles shift out of the resting stages (telogen) and into the growing (anagen) stage.

So, knowing a little bit about what exactly Minoxidil does for hair follicles, it makes perfect sense that the hair follicles on the frontal regions of the scalp will function similarly to the hair follicles just a few inches back on the crown of the head.

The skin, follicles, and overall makeup of these areas is really not very different, of course.

Minoxidil won’t work to physically lower your hairline from its natural state, and if the hair follicles have been lost or have been dormant for too long, Minoxidil’s effect may be limited. In these cases, however, procedural options such as hair restoration are used to lower your hairline, Minoxidil can still play a role in helping to keep the remaining original hairs growing strong.  Hair growth with Minoxidil is a long-term process, so choose your application area and stick with it. It may be a few months before you see improvements, and you may have an initial shedding period at the start of treatment.

The initial shedding stage may just be the hairs shifting from the resting telogen stages into the anagen growing stages, and be making way for new growing hairs to enter.  It is worth mentioning that if Minoxidil is abruptly stopped, additional shedding can occur, so it is always best to discuss with your provider before stopping.

Bottom Line: Minoxidil can have an effect on both the vertex (crown) of the head as well as the frontal regions of the scalp. If you are using Minoxidil, there is no reason why you would not apply the formula to all regions of the scalp where you are experiencing hair loss.

However, if the follicles at the hairline have been lost or dormant for too long, you may need to use other procedures like hair transplants in order to achieve significant changes to the area. In this case, however, Minoxidil still can be beneficial in combating future hair loss of the non-transplanted hairs.

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