Minoxidil use is a popular treatment to induce hair regrowth, and millions of individuals across the globe continue to benefit from the drug.
While a majority speak highly of the medication in increasing hair count, it does not work the same for everyone. For such individuals, we shall discuss the most potent alternatives to minoxidil.
What Is Minoxidil?
The drug minoxidil is the first-line treatment dermatologists recommend for treating pattern baldness (primarily in men). It is amongst the few clinically proven and FDA-approved topical medication that is given as an active medication to halt the recession process and promote the growth of new hair.
Hair thinning and subsequent hair loss are common problems for aging men. While minoxidil is not a permanent cure for hair loss, regular application of the drug has been shown to increase hair density in the affected areas in about two out of three men.
How Does It Work?
When applied to the scalp, minoxidil converts into minoxidil sulfotransferase, which benefits you in multiple ways, such as:
- Reverses the negative changes in the hair follicles (miniaturization)
- Improves blood flow to the follicles
- Pushes the hair into the growth phase
- Extends the growth phase
Is Minoxidil Effective in Promoting Hair Growth?
Minoxidil is very effective at increasing hair growth. In fact, several studies have highlighted the multi-potent role of minoxidil in halting hair fall and inducing new hair growth. Accordingly, several other modern studies encourage the use of oral minoxidil for hair loss treatment.
Despite its high efficacy, minoxidil can lead to side effects that might be a little cause of concern for many. That includes itching, flaking, irritation, rash, burning, etc.
The 7 Best Alternatives to Minoxidil
While minoxidil is perhaps the most prominent, scientifically proven solution to stimulating hair growth, its effectiveness can vary for different individuals.
The following are some of the most viable alternatives to the drug that are clinically known to stop hair loss and promote new hair growth, including natural remedies.
An extremely potent alternative to minoxidil for alopecia is the drug finasteride. According to a randomized controlled trial, the combination of finasteride and minoxidil can effectively treat pattern hair loss in both men and women.
Hormonal imbalance is a significant cause of androgenetic alopecia in men and women. Finasteride blocks the conversion of the sex hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (a hormone responsible for alopecia). This particular drug can safely be used by women suffering from post-menopausal hair loss.
Topical application and oral intake of finasteride have shown promising results in hair growth. Oral finasteride works for all kinds of alopecia.
The latest review claims that topical finasteride is an effective drug in treating hair loss disorders (androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss). Thus, it proves to be an excellent alternative to minoxidil.
2. Dietary Supplements (Oral)
In many hair fall and recession cases, doctors recommend taking dietary supplements. Topical application is vital to nourish the scalp; however, strengthening the hair follicle from the inside is of utmost importance.
Natural supplements that you should take to promote hair growth must include the following:
A deficiency of the protein collagen leads to many problems. Supplementing it in the diet has advantages for your hair health. According to a study, oral collagen supplementation enhances skin and hair quality. Some researchers believe that collagen supplementation is pivotal in improving hair, skin, and nail health.
Low serum biotin levels are linked to increased hair fall. The application of minoxidil might symptomatically solve your problem but won’t resolve the underlying issue. This vitamin (biotin) is considered necessary for most individuals. That is because biotin helps prevent hair loss.
Read Next: What’s the Best Time to Take Biotin?
The protein keratin is an essential component of the hair shaft. It keeps the hair safe from radiation. Supplementing keratin, biotin, and collagen can promote hair growth, strengthen the follicles, and be a good alternative to minoxidil.
Microneedling for hair loss is an advanced yet minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that has numerous applications. It involves introducing thin needles into the body for skin rejuvenation, treating acne scars, etc.
Micro channeling is a procedure similar to micro-needling, designed to promote natural skin/hair growth of the body. The minimally invasive procedure amps the body’s potential to produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin.
Microscopic punctures carried out by the procedure help rejuvenate the scalp and boost hair growth. Studies show that this effective procedure increases acceleration in cases refractory to conventional treatments.
One study found that micro needling is better at preventing hair fall and accelerating hair growth among androgenetic alopecia patients. A pilot study suggests that derma rollers are superior to minoxidil application.
4. Medicated Shampoos and Conditioners
In the modern era of scientific research and innovation, comprehensive treatment alternatives exist. If you dislike minoxidil application over the scalp and want an easy solution, buy a dermatologist-recommended hair growth shampoo.
Research shows that the Malassezia microbe on the scalp leads to premature hair loss. Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione can inhibit the growth of this commensal and restrict hair fall.
According to another study, shampoos containing herbal formulations such as aloe vera, Ocimum sanctum, Sapindus mukorossi, and green tea leaf extract can be appreciable alternatives to minoxidil.
5. Hair Serum
You can also try a hair serum in place of minoxidil. Commercially available hair serums rich in zinc, selenium, keratin, and biotin do a great job of alleviating symptoms of alopecia. Keratin in the formulation makes the hair robust and resistant to thinning and breakage.
Essential Oils and Scalp Massage
Massaging the scalp has multiple therapeutic benefits. It improves blood flow and nourishes the scalp. A good massage can flush out anxiety and stress from the body, which can be helpful in hair retention.
That is because increased anxiety has a link to higher hair fall rates. Stretching of the dermal papilla promotes the thickening of the hair. Thus, you can use scalp massage as an alternative to minoxidil.
Essential oils from plants are widely known for their skin and hair benefits. Applying essential oils to the receding hairline can help halt the hair-thinning process. You may also massage the head with essential oils to nourish your hair.
There are innumerable oils mother nature provides us. Pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, and peppermint oil are marvelous in soothing and nourishing the scalp. The pleasing aroma of these oils is another plus.
You may also try traditional Chinese medicine as an alternative to minoxidil. Acupuncture is a treatment modality that involves inserting very fine needles into the body to improve circulation and energy flow (qi).
It is considered a practical alternative to minoxidil in treating hair loss. Studies show that acupuncture therapy enhances cerebral blood flow.
As a result, it plays a part in hair disorders such as seborrheic alopecia. Acupuncture can be combined with other non-interventional modalities (Japanese Kampo medicine) to improve conditions in alopecia areata patients.
7. Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy is an advanced alternative to minoxidil. The treatment is characterized by a projection of low-intensity photons directed toward the scalp.
This photon firing aims to activate the cell’s powerhouse, i.e., mitochondria. With renewed energy in the hair follicles, there is a more significant potential to produce hair. This treatment modality is rapidly gaining popularity.
According to one study, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a safe and effective alternative to minoxidil for treating alopecia areata. Taking the therapy for six months has been shown to strengthen hair strength and androgenetic alopecia patients.
Laser therapy finds its application in treating different hair fall conditions, including male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, and chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some frequently asked questions about minoxidil in the context of hair growth.
What can you use instead of Minoxidil?
There are several treatment modalities that you can adopt in place of minoxidil. Massaging the scalp with essential oils, using finasteride, and taking dietary supplements (rich in zinc and selenium) can help.
Hair serums strengthen the hair. Acupuncture and low-level laser therapy are used in patients who do not benefit from minoxidil.
Is there something better than minoxidil in preventing hair fall?
The drug finasteride is the most effective and clinically proven alternative to minoxidil. It helps restore the hormone balance in the hair follicles, helping stop hair fall, especially in androgenetic alopecia patients. Studies have shown the drug works superbly in women with post-menopausal complications and pattern hair loss.
How can I regrow hair without using Minoxidil?
You can try massaging your scalp to improve blood flow. This rejuvenation of the scalp promotes hair growth. Using essential oils such as coconut oil, rosemary oil, and peppermint oil can also escalate hair growth. Hair growth shampoos and serums may also help in the absence of minoxidil.
Which oil is better than Minoxidil?
Menthol-containing peppermint oil is one of the best for improved hair growth. This European plant has commendable hair growth properties and is safe to use. Several hair care companies incorporate peppermint oil in their products to get superior results.
What are the side effects of using minoxidil?
Minoxidil is safe but can cause burning, itching, and scalp flaking. It can also lead to acne formation. If it comes in contact with facial skin, you may experience swelling and redness of the face.
So, What Are the Alternatives to Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is the most renowned topical solution to treat pattern baldness and induce hair growth in affected areas of the scalp. However, the drug may not produce the desired results in everyone.
Finasteride is the second-best alternative to minoxidil that has been scientifically shown to stop hair loss and restore growth. Getting a hair growth shampoo and massaging the head with essential oils are also useful alternatives to minoxidil.
Those seeking advanced hair care can opt for acupuncture, micro-needling, and low-level laser therapy. Dietary supplements can fulfill deficiencies that may be causing hair loss and strengthen the follicles, reducing hair loss and breakage.