Open a newspaper, switch on the television or tune into the radio and it isn't long before you're confronted with an advertisement for a hair loss remedy. While the market's awash with different products only minoxidil and one other have meet with the approval of America 's Food and Drug Administration. This means that they've undergone rigorous scientific testing and been proven to be both safe and effective.
Other treatments may well work, but often turn out to be an expensive and disappointing gamble. Of the two medicines only minoxidil has been approved for use by both men and women, it's also the only one available over the counter.
Today Minoxidil still holds the lion's share of the market (with more than six million customers to date), however there are several competitors selling minoxidil under different brand names - often at a substantially lower cost.
Studies as to the medicine's efficacy vary wildly (largely depending on who's published them) but roughly fifty per cent of users report varying levels of re-growth. Most dermatologists tell clients using minoxidil to expect their hair to thicken by approximately thirty per cent. As with any hair loss medicine the earlier you start treatment, the more effective it's going to be. Currently minoxidil is the only hair loss drug approved by the FDA for both men and women.
As with any medication there is always a risk of side effects, but the good news with minoxidil is that they are few and far between. However the possibility should not be ignored and there have been reports of itchy scalps, occasional dizziness and headaches.
For many the biggest frustration is that visible results shouldn't be expected before 6-12 months. Also minoxidil is only effective as long as it is being used, which means that once you've started using it you're committed for good. This can make staving off baldness an expensive business. Prices vary greatly from supplier to suplier (which is why many people turn to the Internet) and depending on where you shop a month-long course could cost you anything from the price of a paperback book to the price of a meal for two.