female alopecia
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  1. #1

    Minoxidil/Rogaine warning: shedding

    It's clear that many people have good and excellent results with minoxidil (Rogaine). So I would not try to dissuade anyone from trying it. But I'd like to give my experience and perspective.

    I have been using minoxidil 2% for 18 months. Dermatologists urged me to use it, I'd say nearly aggressively, for hereditary ("androgenic") hair loss that was exacerbated by illness and stress. My instinct was no, and I was trying to stay away from all medications. But in a phase in which I was a little impulsive I decided I would take charge and dive into the treatment, thinking this would be a way of taking control.

    Three weeks into applying it twice a day, my hair started shedding extremely. I was losing long hairs and baby hairs. This kept up steadily for another three weeks before I went back to the dermatologist in a bit of a panic. I was hoping to be told to stop using it -- my instinct told me to stop. My hair was noticeably thinner than it was six weeks earlier, when I'd started using it. But I was urged to continue, and assured that minoxidil does not cause hair loss.

    For the next 16 months, the shedding continued with little variation. The reason I kept up the treatment was, I think, the advice I found on the internet. I saw a lot of posts here and there saying that if you shed, it's a sign that you're a "good candidate" for the treatment and that you must push on through to see results.

    With the perspective I have now, I think this position is shaky. I lost so much hair in just a few months that it would have been impossible, really, for a person disposed to hair loss like me to regain even half of it from a treatment. It's true I have seen what I believe is "regrowth." I believe this is regrowth generated by the minoxidil because it is a texture different from my regular hair: it's darker, coarser, and curlier. But this hair is so sparse that it does nothing to compensate for what I've lost. And the texture does not blend well with my hair.

    Over the last few months I've read a ton of internet accounts of minoxidil use, here and on other forums and blogs and web sites, looking for guidance. By no means have I done a scientific study or anything like that. But it seems fair to conclude, based on the sum total of what I've seen, that someone who has extreme shedding in the first month or so of treatment, and who doesn't see that shedding taper off after that, might at least consider stopping. For people who shed a lot and also have some visible regrowth, it seems it's always a catch-up game: growing back a small percentage of what you lost. And from there, it's dependence on the medication, out of fear that the minimal regrowth, too, will be lost.

    I can't say I wish I hadn't tried minoxidil, because I suppose I'd always wonder what would have happened if I had. But I wish I hadn't been swayed by posts on the internet that encourage people to keep on using it through extreme shedding. It seems possible that there's an entity that trickles this message around, maybe in the interest of money making.

    That said, there are also accounts of Rogaine working well for both women and men. I know it grows hair for a lot of people. I just want to put a voice out there that says, if you have a whole lot of shedding soon after you've started using it, and the shedding doesn't stop, maybe try not to feel pressured to continue.
    Last edited by nonanon; April 9th, 2013 at 09:44 PM.

  2. #2
    I want to chime in here and say that I agree with what you've said, and I had a similar experience. For me the shedding was worse the entire time I used it, and I was on it for about 9 months -- I read many accounts saying that would stop at about month 3 -- not in my case. Also, the classic head tingling, burning, itching started after I started minoxidil -- not before and has GREATLY subsided now that I've been off it since June. My hair is almost back to where it was when I started this whole process, but the months I was on minoxidil it was the worst. I probably wouldn't have listened to this when I started to use minoxidil because I was so hopeful that it would work -- the very few new hairs I got on it were nothing compared to the ones I've had since I stopped it. I actually shed an entire spot and am seeing more new hair grow back there in a few months since off it -- on it I saw nothing. I don't want to say that it doesn't work for some people, but it did not work for, and I do regret trying it.

  3. #3
    Nonanon, I am sorry to hear about you experience with Minoxidil and thank you for sharing it. As strange as it may seems, the things that stroke me mostly at your story were the 2 "messages" that you receive from your instict ( intuition) at two separate times that warned you about the damaging effect that Minoxidil may have on you. I am dealing with hair loss (AGA) for about 7 months now and while I was initially willing to consider the heavy medical route ( hormones and Rogaine), I was blocked every time by my intuition not to do that. I am glad I have been listening because I am improving now very slowly, but on a natural way.

    I recently came to the conclusion that the first and most important thing that women fighting hair loss should do is find inner balance and peace before attempting to find a cure. This may sound crazy, because I believe most of us will think I will be happy, when I get my hair back, I will be at peace when I see my hair growing, but, really, I belive that the process is exactly the other way around. We need to find inner peace in order to heal our hair. For me was psychoterapy and meditation, for other women might be praying and going to church, writing a journal, talking to a spiritual healer. I do believe that once we have found inner peace we can listen better to our hearts and intuition and find the right solutions for our hair loss. Again, these solutions might be very different: for some women, Rogaine might indeed be the answer, for others, a more natural approach, and finally other women, will find peace and acceptance in simply letting their hair go.

    I am sorry to hear that you lost your hair so very fast with Minoxidil. But I believe, that in this heavy experience there is also a sunny sight: you have received a wonderful message from above, telling you to always listen to your insticts, these are the ones you need to trust first and foremost. I really hope your great intuition will help you recover the hair you lost and find your balance. Have faith. It is possible.

  4. #4
    Experienced Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I stopped using Rogaine and any minoxdil October 2012. All it did for me was cause dryness and breakage on my hair front and sides. What's helping me now is good ol castor oil and I started using msm cream about month ago. The MSM cream was suggeston from another Alopecia site. A much cheaper alternative for me and about the same results without the breakage. (I also started taking msm internally.)

    I did experience hairloss on my nape and I rubbed a bit of castor oil in and its slowly growing back in that area.

  5. #5
    Phenix, what kind of MSM cream are you using? I have been also using castor oil with good results and recently I have started to make my own MSM topical ( just distilled water and MSM powder) that I spray every night into my hair. I also take MSM internally for about 2 weeks now. Still looking to see more regrowth, but my hair looks much healthier and thicker than it was in a long time.

  6. #6
    Experienced Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hi Mihamay, I’m using Source Naturals MSM Cream. Besides MSM, the cream contains antioxidants vitamin E, aloe vera leaf, Sweet almond, rosemary & jojoba oils, gingko and other ingredients. It was suggested on another site after doing some research and of course when I went to buy the sources naturals brand, it was sold out everywhere. The company decided to change the packaging (label) however, now you can find it on amazon, iherb or the vitamin shoppe.

    What I usually do is apply the msm cream and then seal it in with the castor oil in the front and sides at night. In the morning, I only use the msm cream; the castor oil only on my nape once a day or every other day. Much better for me than the rogaine.

    Here’s one of the websites that recommended MSM and the type of brands to buy.


  7. #7
    Hi Phenix, i guess you have posted some data on using onion juice. Did you try it and if so can you share your experience? thanks

  8. #8
    Thank you, Phenix, this is really helpful! I will try that, too!

  9. #9
    Experienced Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by raaha View Post
    Hi Phenix, i guess you have posted some data on using onion juice. Did you try it and if so can you share your experience? thanks
    Hi raaha,

    i got lazy on the onion juice and was not consistent. While surfing the net looking for an alternative and an easier way instead of juicing onions, I came across the website posted above. MSM cream is sulfur; the sulfer is also contained in onions. MSM cream was the way to go and eliminating the onion smell for me. I started on the cream February 2013, so its been a month. I like to give it at least 3 months or more to see. So far, no further shedding on the sides.

    The brand Sources Naturals was out of stock everywhere, just after I went to that website. I think they were repackaging the product. They brought it back in Feb so I bought the two packed to last. Of course because of the demand on Amazon, they hike the price a bit, but not much. I bought mines from Iherb (very reasonable). I'm really trying to take a natural route in combating this hair loss. Since sulfer combats inflamation, (which is one of the causes of my hair loss), I'll stick with this for now and I also started taking msm supplements.

    @Mihamay, you're welcome!

  10. #10
    Thanks so much for your post nonanon. Even though I bought 4 bottles of Minoxidil for my daughter, I went by pure intuition and decided against using them. My God, I would never have forgiven myself if the shedding got worse because of Minoxidil.

    My daughter's hair shedding has reduced considerably (only falls when washing which I guess is not too bad, not otherwise) and all we can do now is pray of regrowth on the head (20 odd round patches) of which there are no signs so far. Her eyebrow now shows a few hairs growing slowly from one end (all black, not the peachy fuzz). Fingers crossed.

    Wish you all the best.

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