Everyone who uses minoxidil does so with the intent of growing their hair back. For some people, it works astonishingly well, but for others, things might not pan out the way they thought they would.
There are many reasons why someone might quit minoxidil. From having an adverse reaction, to the cost, and even because it simply doesn’t work and they want to try a different treatment. But, regardless of the reason for quitting minoxidil, there is a commonality amongst those who do: many people will have an extremely hard time maintaining the hair that they regrew with minoxidil, and will often lose most, if not all of it, essentially putting them back at square one.
There is no doubt that this can be devastating, but what if there was a way to minimize the hair loss that comes from quitting minoxidil?
That’s exactly what we are going to talk about in this article.
How minoxidil works
By expanding upon, and subsequently gaining a deeper knowledge of how minoxidil works, you will be able to make well-informed decisions about how to prevent hair loss after you quit it.
Minoxidil is a class of drug called a vasodilator. Vasodilators help open (dilate) blood vessels, and in minoxidil’s case, the blood vessels that surround your hair follicles. This allows blood flow to increase, which is important for someone who is losing their hair because low blood flow and hair loss are correlated (1). But why are they correlated?
Your hair needs a healthy supply of oxygen and vital nutrients to flourish, and red blood cells are the transportation mechanism that your body uses to deliver them to your follicles. When blood flow is low, your hair may not be receiving enough of these important compounds, which, if prolonged, can cause shorter growth cycles and hence hair loss.
In short, minoxidil essentially helps your body efficiently deliver more blood to your hair follicles, which in turn helps regrow them by giving them the vital compounds they need to do so.
Now that you understand the basics of how minoxidil works, it’s time to talk about…
Why hair loss continues after you quit minoxidil
Does a flower keep growing if you don't water it?
There is a somewhat misconstrued rumor that seems to continually resurface throughout the hair loss community that once you start taking minoxidil your hair becomes “minoxidil-dependent.” While this is somewhat true, it is not totally accurate.
Your hair is not dependent on the minoxidil itself, but rather the increased blood flow that results from using it. This is because your hair has become accustomed to the increased availability of oxygen and nutrients. And when you stop using minoxidil guess what happens?
That’s right, blood flow drops back to the level it was at before you starting using it. This is why many people have a common experience when quitting minoxidil in which their hair loss essentially goes back to what it was pre-minoxidil.
So no, your hair is not “minoxidil-dependent”, it is dependent on blood flow and the nourishment that it provides. Which brings us to the most important topic…
How to reduce hair fall associated with quitting minoxidil
If you guessed that you need to find alternative ways to keep blood flow high… you were right.
When you quit minoxidil, the blood flow to your scalp is going to be reduced no matter what. You need to use other treatments/methods that can help keep blood flow at optimal levels for hair growth. Let’s talk about a few.
Now, before we get into the different ways you can increase blood flow, I want to make it clear that this is not a full-proof way to prevent hair loss after quitting minoxidil. Everyone will respond different and minoxidil is still the most effective blood flow-enhancing hair treatment that we have available. These are simply tips/tricks you can use to possibly reduce the amount of hair lost. Now on with the article.
Firstly, take a hair supplement that includes ingredients that have been scientifically proven to help increase blood flow. For instance, our supplement Follicle Foundation contains nettle leaf, gingko biloba, gotu kola, garlic, and grape seed extract, all of which can significantly help boost blood flow to your hair in several different ways.
Taking a supplement will help internally stimulate blood flow, but you also need to mechanically stimulate it, which brings us to the next method: scalp massages.
Scalp massages are a proven (2) way to increase blood flow. By massaging problem areas (i.e. temples and crown) you can force blood to them, which, over time, can aid in hair growth. Learn all about scalp massages here.
Another way you can mechanically stimulate blood flow is by using the inversion method. It is quite simple: you hang upside down (so that your head is below your heart) to allow blood (and nutrients) to rush to your head. Twice a day for 2-3 minutes is what experts recommend so that you don’t overdo it but you still reap the benefits. Learn more about the inversion method here.
The last, and possibly one of the most effective ways to stimulate blood flow is with low-level laser therapy (LLLT). One of the ways scientists propose that LLLT helps regrow hair is by stimulating blood flow with red light that is emitted at a specific wavelength. They are not entirely sure how it works, but it has been proven effective, so much so that some laser helmets (like this one) are FDA approved for hair loss. If you want to read up on LLLT click here.
Shit happens, and unfortunately for some, whatever the reason may be, that shit might involve quitting minoxidil. But it doesn’t have to be as scary as many people make it sound, in fact those people are probably uneducated about how minoxidil works and are certainly unaware of all the ways that you can stimulate blood flow in its absence. But you… you are not one of those people.
So minoxidil isn’t working out, that doesn’t mean give up, it means find another route to the top of hair loss mountain and summit that sucker. Use these blood flow inducing treatments/methods to help keep your hair when getting off minoxidil.