Will your hair recover from shedding induced from discontinuing Minoxidil treatment is a very common concern.
Very few seem to have the answer to this question for some reason.
Acute Telogen Effluvium
This is something that often occurs to those who start Minoxidil, and then suddenly stop it cold turkey.
They experience an acute increased shedding phase, and it can be very difficult to deal with.
I’m going to shed some light on my experience with this though in this article and hopefully help un-frighten many of you.
If you’ve researched Minoxidil, you probably know at least in a rudimentary way how it works.
It has an initial shedding phase that causes dormant hairs to be shed to make room for new growth, and ultimately better growth down the line in a few months after the life cycle of the hairs affected by Minoxidil have run their course.
Minoxidil also widens the hair follicle, causing thicker strands of hair to grow, and keeping them in the anagen (growth) stage for a longer period of time, allowing them to get even longer and thicker than they normally would.
The first couple months of Minoxidil use can be excruciating for some, as it essentially makes your hair look worse before it gets better.
This is VERY mentally taxing on individuals, who are probably turning to Minoxidil in the first place because they are already unhappy with their hair.
Minoxidil definitely isn’t for the weak of mind, as you have to trust the process by which it works, and be patient while you let yourself start looking even worse, on the journey to looking better.
During this initial shed phase, many simply can’t make it through this period and jump ship early.
The issue with this lies in the fact that these individuals who jump ship and stop treatment have already used Minoxidil for a short period of time and have induced the shedding phase.
Essentially inducing further hair loss without even having any improvements in store for them down the line because they discontinued the Minoxidil.
Can Minoxidil Make You Permanently Lose More Hair?
This is where a big debate has been ignited, as there are a large majority of individuals who are absolutely convinced that Minoxidil has essentially poisoned their hair and further worsened its’ state.
The other side of the spectrum has individuals who feel that even if you stop Minoxidil early, you aren’t actually furthering hair loss, rather, you are simply inducing the shed phase, and your hair will eventually return to its’ pre-Minoxidil state after the hair life cycle has completed in a few months.
The fact of the matter is that Minoxidil stimulates hair follicles and growth, but does not reduce dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or the enzyme responsible for its accumulation around the hair follicle, 5-alpha reductase, which is the primary mediator of male pattern baldness in genetically susceptible individuals.
Therefore, when treatment is stopped, the DHT has its expected effect of shrinking and ultimately destroying the genetically predisposed hair follicles.
This means that hair loss will continue as it normally would without any hair loss protection if you stop Minoxidil, and any hair that was being grown or maintained with Minoxidil will inevitably die and fall off your head.
So, what would happen is your hair would return to the same state it was in prior to Minoxidil use, but Minoxidil won’t accelerate permanent hair loss.
It just seems like it does because so many individuals will freak out during the shedding phase, stop Minoxidil cold turkey, and then have to experience a much worse looking hair line than they previously had for a few months until the life cycle of the hair brings everything back to what it was pre-Minoxidil use.
This is why if you choose to use Minoxidil, you should be prepared to be using it for a VERY long time.
Once the life cycle of the hairs that shed have concluded and they are once again in the anagen stage, some token individuals still report that their hair is worse than it was pre-Minoxidil use, so it is only logical to assume that Minoxidil was the culprit for permanently furthering their hair loss.
On the contrary, the explanation for this scenario is rather simple as well.
By the time an individual has recovered the hairs lost from the Minoxidil shedding phase or the acute telogen effluvium induced by stopping Minoxidil, they will simply be exactly where they would be hair loss wise if they never used Minoxidil in the first place.
The issue with acute Minoxidil usage is that every one who uses it sets their base line of what they will compare their hair loss to as their first day pre-Minoxidil use.
So, when they experience acute telogen effluvium, they expect that once the mayhem has concluded that their hair should look exactly like it did on Day 1 of Minoxidil use.
The Issue With Using Minoxidil Day 1 As Your Defined Hair Reference “Baseline”
The issue with this logic is that it takes several months to fully recover your hair density from acute telogen effluvium, and in this time frame your hair loss is likely still moving you closer to the bald side of the spectrum.
So, while you sit there observing your hair recovery every day without any hair loss prevention products being used, your genetic path to baldness is still progressing like it would normally, as you have zero protection!
Many individuals seem to completely disregard this and simply think that Minoxidil furthered their hair loss, but the reality is that your hair loss is progressing just like it normally would, and even once you “recover” from post-Minoxidil shedding, your new baseline may very well be a lot worse than your previous baseline half a year ago because your Androgenic Alopecia has progressed just like it would regardless of all the other factors.
Minoxidil isn’t poison, and it has been the saviour of thousands of men’s hair, so I highly suggest you embrace it if your hair is in severe need of saving.
My Experience With Acute Telogen Effluvium
The first time I tried Minoxidil, I used way too much.
I was far too generous with my applications, and would likely double my dose on a regular basis because I wanted to ensure the stuff was working.
With Minoxidil though, you need to realize that more is not better.
And when you start using more thinking it’s going to be better results wise, you will simply increase your risk of side effects.
Within a week I had gained 7 pounds of water weight, and my face looked fat and disgusting (at least in my opinion it did).
My natural uneducated reaction back then was to stop Minoxidil cold turkey.
This is when I was introduced to my super awesome friend acute telogen effluvium (syke).
My hair shed like crazy, it was the most I had ever seen and I was getting very worried.
However, I kept up with the rest of my hair loss prevention regimen using my RU58841 every night and my Ketoconazole shampoo every time I showered, and did A LOT of research into what exactly telogen effluvium is, and my mind was soon put at ease.
Within a couple months I noticed that my hair density was starting to return to where it was previously severely thinning.
Finally, my hair had returned to base line, and my hair had not worsened in any notable way.
Another Huge Mistake Guys Make With Minoxidil
This mistake is a common one. It is where someone experiences shedding from Minoxidil, quits it cold turkey because they can’t mentally deal with it, induce acute telogen effluvium, and then hop back on Minoxidil because they are afraid of not having protection while they are still shedding.
This yo-yo effect of stopping and starting Minoxidil over and over in short bursts is just asking for side effects, and also will leave you in a state where you will never recover your hair, or improve your hair.
Minoxidil is a long-term commitment for it to work well, and it absolutely does if you trust in the process.
My Recommended Minoxidil Product
I recommend ‘Intelligent' brand Minoxidil as it is formulated to dry faster with much less grease.
Most cheap generic brands like Kirkland are so oily they make your hair look terrible and greasy for hours after use.