Minoxidil 101 Guide: What Is Minoxidil, How It Treats Hair Loss and Where To Buy It In Singapore

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In this article we will be covering the various causes of hair loss, what minoxidil is and how it can help treat hair loss, and the various alternative hair loss treatments in Singapore. 

What Causes Hair Loss?

According to the National Skin Centre (NSC) of Singapore (2013), the 3 main causes of Androgenetic Alopecia are age (20 and above), testosterone, and genetic inheritance.  Some other reasons for hair loss include chronic illness, scalp diseases, side effects from medication and excessive pulling of hair from tightly bound hair styles.

There are actually many different types of hair loss, but the most common type in men is androgenetic alopecia - the infamous male pattern baldness. Another type of hair loss that men suffer from is alopecia areata, which occurs because the body is attacking its own hair follicles - a ‘friendly fire’ of sorts. Alopecia areata usually presents in patchy hair loss, complete loss of hair on the head, or even total loss of body hair.

Androgenic Alopecia, also known as Male Pattern Balding, is primarily caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that is derived from testosterone. DHT is responsible for supporting the development of male sex characteristics during puberty such an increase growth of male genitalia, a deep voice, increased muscle mass and increased body hair.

However, DHT can also speed up the rate of hair loss . Through a process called "miniaturization",  DHT causes hair follicle shrinkage which results in hair loss that can become permanent if left untreated.

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What Is Minoxidil?

A topical medication, minoxidil is an effective way to treat hair loss. When applied to the scalp, minoxidil can help to stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss. 

Minoxidil works to treat female hair loss by improving the environment that your current hair follicles are in to facilitate improved hair growth. Minoxidil is a vasodilator which improves the blood flow to the scalp, delivering oxygen-rich blood to your hair follicles. It also increases your hair follicle size, which leads to the growth of thicker and stronger hair. 

Minoxidil also helps to trigger and lengthen the initial stage of hair growth called the anagen phase. It is during the anagen phase that your hair actively grows to its fullest length. However in order to get it to the anagen phase prematurely, minoxidil shortens the next stage of hair growth called the telogen phase, the resting phase. 

This is why when you first use minoxidil you might notice an initial increase of hair loss, as your hair rapidly enters and goes through the telogen phase. However this is completely normal and you should keep following your doctor's instructions to apply minoxidil. Similar to other hair loss treatments, while it can have an immediate effect, you will see noticeable changes after using it for several consecutive months as your hair enters the anagen phase. 

How Long Does It Take For Minoxidil To Work?

It may take four to six months (or more) of regular and consistent use before you notice any improvement. And very important note: For best results, you must apply twice daily.

You might also notice an increase in shedding when you first start using minoxidil. If this is the case, don’t worry—minoxidil shedding is very normal and should slow after the first few months.

Other Ways To Treat Hair Loss In Singapore:

Dietary Changes and Lifestyle Changes

If your hair loss is caused by iron deficiency or drastic weight loss, it is important that you consult a doctor to determine a dietary plan that includes the necessary macronutrients and a healthy caloric intake. While it might not produce instantaneous results, dietary changes will gradually improve your hair’s thickness and rate of growth. 

If your hair loss is caused by stress, the most effective way to treat it is to make changes to your lifestyle so that stress can be managed and minimized. Some ways to reduce stress is to limit your intake of stimulants (like nicotine and caffeine), exercise regularly and engage in mindful meditation. Again, while it does not produce instantaneous results, engaging in methods to reduce stress will eventually lead to your hair regrowing over time and returning back to a healthy state. 

Saw Palmetto Shampoos

If your hair loss is caused by hormonal levels and increased DHT levels, it is possible that shampoos that include the ingredient Saw Palmetto can be used to treat hair loss and improve hair growth. This is because saw palmetto works on a hormonal level and prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT, thus allowing hair to be grown back. 

Finasteride 

Finasteride is a 5ɑ-reductase inhibitor that binds itself to the 5α-reductase enzyme and effectively blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT. When taken orally everyday, finasteride is able to successfully block the conversion of DHT, stimulating hair growth and preventing additional balding. 

Finasteride starts working immediately and can cut DHT production by up to 70%, but it will take a few months to see hair regrowth. Patience is a virtue, and this can’t be more relevant when it comes to hair growth. 

How Do I Get Hair Loss Medication (Finasteride, Minoxidil) In Singapore?

So how can you get prescription medication like finasteride and minoxidil to treat your hair loss in Singapore? 

There are several ways you get prescribed medication: either by visiting a local GP clinic, a private clinic or an aesthetic clinic. 

But all of them require you to physically head down to a clinic and wait in a line before being able to speak to a doctor.

With Noah, a zero-judgement digital health clinic for men in Singapore, you'll be able to get the hair loss medication you need from the comfort and privacy of your home. 

Getting started with Noah couldn't be simpler - all you have to do is answer an online medication evaluation. Once complete, you will be able to book a teleconsultation session with a licensed doctor at your convenience. If prescribed, your medication will be delivered discreetly within 4 hours, at no additional cost. 

You don't have to worry about the legitimacy and safety of the medication provided as Noah is recognized by the Ministry Of Health (MOH) as a direct telemedicine service provider.

WRITTEN BY
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Published On
June 16, 2022

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