Can minoxidil damage hair?

Minoxidil is known as a product that helps hair by promoting hair growth, and slowing down hair loss.

Yet, some people worry that it will worsen their hair loss, or damage their hair in the process of using said drug.

So can minoxidil damage hair follicles? To answer briefly already, minoxidil won’t cause any damage to your hair. Let me explain why.

 

Can minoxidil damage hair or not?

Does minoxidil damage hair follicles?

Minoxidil can not damage hair follicles directly. It is deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for usage on the scalp if you’re 18+.

But overusing minoxidil can cause residue buildup, which could potentially lead to hair loss if prolonged. That’s why it’s so essential to have good skin hygiene, and to wash your hair frequently. This way, the hair follicles can not get, or remain clogged.

Furthermore, minoxidil can cause telogen effluvium. This is temporary hair loss due to shedding hair excessively after some kind of shock to the hair follicles. But don’t worry, this is just temporary, and usually passes in a few weeks.

Finally, be cautious of minoxidil overdosing. This can lead to side effects such as skin irritation, flaking, but also to heart palpitations and light-headedness in some rare cases.

 

Can minoxidil damage healthy hair?

Does minoxidil damage healthy hair follicles?

Minoxidil can not damage healthy hair follicles. It is considered safe for all existing hair types, and this includes natural hair.

Yet, it should be noted that you shouldn’t use minoxidil immediately after, or before color treating your hair, since this can change your hair color.

 

Can Rogaine damage hair?

Image of women's Rogaine 5% foam.

Does Rogaine damage hair follicles?

The same rules apply to Rogaine just as they do to any brand of general minoxidil since Rogaine is a brand of minoxidil that uses minoxidil as its active ingredient.

This means that Rogaine does not damage hair follicles. But again, temporary hair shedding due to telogen affluvium can still happen. Nevertheless, this will subside after a short while.

Make sure not to over apply minoxidil since this can cause annoying side effects, but also minoxidil substance buildup, which can clog the hair follicles. This can actually cause hair loss if the hair follicles are choked for a prolonged period of time. That’s why you should regularly wash your hair to cleanse your skin follicles of any leftover residue.

 

does minoxidil cause collagen loss?

Yes, minoxidil does cause collagen loss by decreasing the total amount of collagen present in the skin.

This is what a study conducted on cultured hair dermal papilla cells about the inhibitory effects of minoxidil on collagen synthesis had to say:

In monolayer cultures, there was approximately a 30% inhibition of collagen production with 5 ng/ml bFGF, 0.1 ng/ml VEGF and 100 ng/ml minoxidil.

However, in the lattices this inhibition was reduced to about half.

Does minoxidil reduce collagen?

Minoxidil does reduce collagen by suppressing the BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis in vivo.

These effects were associated with blocking TGF-β1/Smad3 signal transduction and attenuating the expression and activity of LHs, resulting in decreased collagen formation, thus reducing the pulmonary fibrosis.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6278642/

 
 
 

 

 

Does minoxidil cause skin aging?

So is minoxidil skin aging a thing? Or is it nothing more than just a myth.

Well, we’re still up in the air whether minoxidil causes skin aging or not. Currently, there’s no real scientific evidence that suggests that minoxidil causes skin aging.

What we do know is that minoxidil affects collagen synthesis in the skin. Thus, we can extrapolate that it’s possible that minoxidil causes the skin to age. Nevertheless, this is only a hypothesis, and not a confirmation.

 

Is minoxidil toxic to the liver?

Illustration of the liver in the human body.

There is currently not enough evidence to conclude that minoxidil is toxic to the liver. Nevertheless, there are some cases that report serum aminotransferase elevations after using oral, and sometimes even topical minoxidil.

This is what the book “LiverTox” that’s written by the government had to say about whether minoxidil is toxic to the liver or not:

 

Serum aminotransferase elevations during oral minoxidil therapy are uncommon, but have been reported even with topical administration.

Despite many decades of use, oral minoxidil has not been implicated in convincing cases of clinically apparent acute liver injury.

Severe rash, toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens Johnson syndrome have been reported after minoxidil therapy (generally arising within 2 to 6 weeks of starting), but published cases have not been marked by concurrent hepatic injury.[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548394/

Still, people who have a liver disease should refrain from using minoxidil just to be safe.
 

Can Rogaine cause liver damage?

Since Rogaine is a brand of generic minoxidil, the same guidelines apply as they do to minoxidil as a whole.
 
This means that there’s not enough scientific research evidence that suggests that minoxidil causes liver damage.
 
We do know that it can elevate serum aminotransferase after using oral minoxidil and topical minoxidil. Therefore, it’s possible that it can affect the liver. But this is just a theory, and not a conclusion.
 
Again, people suffering from any kind of liver disease shouldn’t use minoxidil just in case.
 

Can minoxidil damage the heart

Illustration of the heart in the human body.

Minoxidil can increase the heart rate by 3–5 beats per minute.[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1386573/ This means that minoxidil can, albeit rarely, contribute to heart arrhythmia.

Minoxidil can also lower the blood pressure, especially when overdosing, or using higher dosages. That’s only logical knowing that minoxidil is a vasodilator, which means it opens up the blood vessels to increase blood supply. It was originally founded and used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure.)

This means that it’s not advised to use minoxidil if you’re suffering from heart issues. It’s not worth the risk when you know you’re already suffering from a heart disease.

Can Rogaine cause heart damage?

Rogaine, just like every brand of minoxidil, will increase your heart rate by about 3–5 beats per minute, all the while decreasing blood pressure.

In rare cases, Rogaine can cause angina (chest pain.) If you already have a preexisting heart condition, then you shouldn’t use minoxidil.

 

Conclusion

Minoxidil does not damage hair if used correctly. But overusing minoxidil is ill-advised since this increases the chance for annoying reactions such as flaking, redness, and itching of the skin.

Wash your scalp regularly, so your follicles don’t get clogged up, seeing as this can also lead to hair loss in some instances. However, the majority of folks’ hygiene is good enough that this is a non-factor in most cases.

Minoxidil does cause collagen loss by decreasing the total amount of collagen present in the skin. But there’s currently not enough scientific proof that it causes skin aging.

And finally, don’t take minoxidil if you have any preexisting heart, or liver issues. Your hair is never worth risking your health over!

 

References

References
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6278642/
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548394/
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1386573/