Man putting dropper-full of medication on his hair

Will Minoxidil Regrow Your Hair? A New Test Can Tell You!

Highlights 

  • Will minoxidil regrow hair? It will, in about 30-40% of patients.
  • In 60-70% of hair loss sufferers, minoxidil does not work.
  • Now, a test allows you to find out whether minoxidil works for you.
  • If you are a minoxidil responder, you can order your minoxidil online at eDrugstore.
  • If you are a non-responder, save your time and money and explore alternative treatments. 

Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) is the only FDA-approved topical solution for hair loss. But will minoxidil regrow hair? Yes it can — but only in 30-40% of users.

The rest buy the product, use it on their scalps, and are left with nothing to show for their efforts. These are the non-responders. What if there was a test that could tell you if minoxidil can regrow your hair? 

Will Minoxidil Regrow Your Hair?

Minoxidil is clinically proven to be an effective treatment for male-pattern baldness. However, the treatment only produces a cosmetically acceptable result in fewer than half of users. 

What’s more, minoxidil can take three to six months to work. If you are a non-responder, that’s a significant waste of time and money.

Now, you can perform a minoxidil response test to find out in a few days whether the treatment is likely to work for you. 

How Does Minoxidil Work?

Science doesn’t yet understand how minoxidil works to promote hair growth. Doctors discovered its hair-growing effects by accident. They used the drug as a blood pressure medication due to its vasodilating effects and noticed increased hair growth in some patients. Researchers then developed a topical version of the drug. 

Doctors suspect that minoxidil may act through multiple pathways to promote hair growth: 

  • Vasodilator. Minoxidil relaxes the blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through them. This is how minoxidil treats high blood pressure. The oral, or pill, form of minoxidil can also stimulate hair growth, but the FDA has only approved the topical form for that purpose. 
  • Anti-inflammatory agent. Minoxidil inhibits a cytokine in the body that causes inflammation and inhibits hair growth. This anti-inflammatory effect may be responsible for some of its hair growth-stimulating effects.
  • Wnt/Beta-catenin stimulator. The Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway plays a role in the creation and growth of new hair follicles. Minoxidil encourages hair growth by stimulating this pathway.
  • Anti-androgen. Minoxidil may interfere with the activity of 5-alpha reductase, a compound that turns testosterone into DHT in the body. The popular hair loss drug finasteride (Propecia) targets 5-AR as well. 

Topical minoxidil is available in solution and foam forms. The solution contains inactive ingredients like water, ethanol, or propylene glycol. Due to the irritation PG or alcohol may cause, minoxidil’s foam version is more popular.

Minoxidil chemical structure
Minoxidil triggers many effects in the body and hair follicles

In its original form, minoxidil is not active. As the skin absorbs it, it metabolizes it into minoxidil sulfate, the active form of the compound. Minoxidil sulfate is responsible for all hair-growth stimulating effects of the topical compound. 

The conversion takes place in the hair follicle. Only a minute amount (between one and two percent) of the topical reaches the hair follicle, but it’s enough. In the follicle, two enzymes called sulfotransferases convert minoxidil into its active form. Some people have more sulfotransferases in their scalps than others. 

It’s possible to increase topical minoxidil absorption by boosting the formula concentration, increasing the frequency of application, or through derma rolling. Derma rolling is the process of inflicting tiny puncture wounds on the scalp by rolling a small cylinder with titanium spikes over it. 

People with high sulfotransferase activity in their scalps respond well to minoxidil treatments. They can turn more of the compound into active minoxidil sulfate.

People with low sulfotransferase levels can’t activate minoxidil in their scalps. They are the non-responders. 

How Does The Minoxidil Response Test Work?

If they measure the amount of sulfotransferase in the scalp, doctors can determine if a patient will respond to minoxidil treatment. And it is possible to assess sulfotransferase activity through a method called colorimetric assay. 

Colorimetric assays use substances that change their color in the presence of the compound doctors want to detect. 

Colorimetric test
A simple colorimetric test reveals whether minoxidil can help you

For a minoxidil response test, doctors need a sample. Patients can pluck a few hairs and hand them over for analysis. The roots of these hairs should give doctors an idea about whether they have enough sulfotransferase activity to activate minoxidil. 

For the test, doctors place the sample hair roots into a solution containing an indicator dye and minoxidil. As the indicator dye changes color, it reveals the presence or absence of sulfotransferase. The extent of the color change also tells doctors how much sulfotransferase activity there is in the sample. 

The accuracy of minoxidil response tests is 95.9%

What happens if you fail the minoxidil response test? You get to save money and time by not using minoxidil, trying in vain to regrow your hair.

You Are a Non-responder. What Can You Do To Regrow Your Hair?

In case of a negative minoxidil response test, doctors can perform further tests to determine whether your sulfotransferase problem is genetic or environmental.

If the problem is genetic, your body does not produce enough of the enzyme. If it is environmental, another drug may block your normal sulfotransferase production. 

Salicylic acid (aspirin) inhibits sulfotransferase activity. By discontinuing salicylic acid treatments, you may regain the ability to activate minoxidil in your hair follicles. 

After you eliminate environmental factors like salicylic acid, your doctors can run the test again. If the test reveals that you respond to minoxidil, they may prescribe you the topical treatment. If you’re a nonresponder, they will prescribe alternative solutions like finasteride or Propecia

To answer the question “will minoxidil regrow hair?,” you need to know whether you are a responder. If you are, it will regrow some of your hair, peaking after about one year of use. It will, however, continue to maintain hair even after five years. 

eDrugstore Can Help

Are you a monidil nonresponder? We can help. We carry alternative hair loss drugs like Propecia and its generic version, finasteride. We provide a free consultation with a U.S.-licensed doctor who can help you determine the best course of treatment fill your prescription.

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