FDA-Approved Male Pattern Baldness Medication: Topical Minoxidil

Keren P.
Male Pattern Baldness Medication | Topical Minoxidil

Male pattern baldness, aka androgenetic alopecia, is a polygenic trait that causes existing hairs to fall off and new hairs to stop growing. Seeing as living with noticeable hair loss is inevitable by the day, this article shares the top effective, affordable, and accessible FDA-approved medications to manage male pattern baldness.

How to stop male pattern baldness:

Regardless of the cause of your pattern baldness, you can stop or slow the progression of hair loss using medications. You can also choose to fill up patchy areas naturally via surgery.

But before you use any drug, you must be aware that a vast majority of hair loss medications advertised physically and on social media platforms are either ineffective or contain harmful ingredients. They do not work.

The American Hair Loss Association and the U.S. Food And Drug Administration approved two medications for alopecia. They are topical Minoxidil and oral Finasteride. They have been clinically tested and proven to regrow hair, strengthen roots, and promote length.


a man looking at his hairline in the mirror


What is topical Minoxidil?

Medical scientists initially created Minoxidil as an alternate blood pressure medication. It is a vasodilating drug. Although rare, doctors still recommend oral medicines to patients with severe blood pressure.

Scientists created a topical minoxidil solution in 1987 that can treat hair loss in both sexes. The first formulation contained 2% minoxidil. But it was less effective in treating female pattern baldness. Years later, a 5% minoxidil concentration became available for sale.

Topical Minoxidil is commonly sold under the trade names Rogaine and Theroxidil. According to further investigations and clinical trials, Minoxidil is more than 60% efficient at halting hair loss and promoting growth when applied to patchy areas.

While some patients—but not all—can see some new growth of fine hair, it cannot replace the lost hair's entire density. If you are experiencing hair loss, understand that Minoxidil is not a quick fix or miracle drug. 

Only after using the medication for at least eight weeks will you start to see results. Since the effect typically peaks at roughly sixteen weeks after treatment or longer, depending on the hair type and progression of hair loss, you could schedule a trial and observation period for six months.
If Minoxidil is effective for you, continue using it to keep the results. You'll start losing hair again if you quit.

How to use Topical Minoxidil?

You must take this medication exactly as prescribed. Please don't use more than the specified amount or use it too frequently. The likelihood that the skin will absorb it rises the more you use it. Also, do not administer rogaine to unaffected areas of your body. Unwanted effects may result from absorption into the body that affects the heart and blood vessels.

Do not apply other types of skin care products—mild or inorganic—on the same area of skin where you are using Minoxidil. Minoxidil therapy is compatible with these procedures as long as the scalp is rinsed right before using the hair coloring, permanent, or relaxer.

When you're ready to apply romaine, ensure your scalp and hair are dry. Apply the over-the-counter remedy twice daily to all areas of your thinning hair using the dropper or spray pump that comes with it. 

Use your fingers to slowly and carefully work it into the scalp so it may get to the hair follicles. Air-dry your hair after, properly wash your hands and wash off any solution that may have gotten on your face or forehead. Wait at least four hours before shampooing.


pills next to a sign that reads hair loss


Topical Minoxidil side effects

In most people, Minoxidil is generally risk-free. But sometimes you may notice the new hair is different in texture and color from the existing hair. Hypertrichosis, or excessive hair growth in undesirable areas like the cheeks or forehead, is another concern— the stronger 5% solution increases the likelihood of this issue.

Other unpleasant topical Minoxidil side effects you may experience include swelling in the forehead and cheeks, redness, burning of the scalp, inflammation, acne, and further hair loss.

When purchasing Minoxidil under different names aside from Rogaine's, examine the ingredients used to confirm you won't be allergic after applying the solution.

Do not use Minoxidil for sudden or unexplained hair loss, especially if you have no family history of male pattern hair loss. Also, teenagers and younger children should not use this drug. 

Other approved treatments to manage male pattern hair loss


Merck, a pharmaceutical company, first developed finasteride, Propecia or Proscar, to treat enlarged prostate glands. They decided to pursue the drug's potential to promote hair growth when they observed the volunteers in the trial grew more hair.

The FDA finally approved a 1mg dose of finasteride to treat androgenetic alopecia in men in December 1997. Finasteride, specifically Propecia, is officially the first effective medication against pattern baldness. However, you may have to use the pill finasteride daily for three to six months to see significant results.


a man's bald scalp next to a scalp with hair


Why wait that long when you could get a hair transplant?

Hair transplantation is a medical procedure to treat male pattern baldness. It involves harvesting healthy hair strands from a donor site (a healthy part of the scalp with thick hair and healthy hair follicles) to fill a thinning area. 
There are different types of hair transplant procedures, including Direct Hair Implantation (DHI), Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), and Follicular Unit

Transplantation (FUE)

Hair surgeons in the United States and overseas, especially Turkey, Greece, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, particularly care for the FUE technique because it gives a more natural result.

In this technique, remove hundreds to thousands of hair follicles from the back of the scalp; then, the doctors insert each graft into a scalp slit made by a blade or needle in the area where hair is sparse. With the best post-op care, your scalp will return to its previous state before the alopecia kicks in. 

Understanding that the cost of the procedure in the United States might put you off, you can contact Hair Transplant Pro for more information on getting a hair transplant in one of 25 world-standard hair clinics overseas. We will recommend a skilled and experienced hair surgeon based on your hair type, progression of hair loss, and budget. 

Our concierge services overseas will also ensure you have the best medical visit during your stay at the hair clinic. An efficient transport, accommodation, and support system are in place to give you the best experience and hair transplant procedure.

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