Hair transplants can be a lot harder on your body than most people assume. While the grafts your hair transplant surgeon uses may be small, and your hair regrowth might instantly start booming, the fact is that some guys’ bodies can use a little break — or at least a little support after the procedure.
Enter the use of minoxidil. The generic version of brand-name Rogaine®, this is a popular treatment for androgenetic alopecia and other types of hair loss.
Minoxidil has lots to offer men and women, and it offers those things regardless of whether a hair transplant recently occurred.
Can minoxidil help with hair transplant success? Do you need to use it after a transplant? How, when and where should you employ it?
The answers to these questions and more are below. Here’s everything you need to know about using minoxidil after a hair transplant.
Minoxidil promotes hair growth by increasing blood flow to the blood vessels in your scalp. As a hair loss medication, its strategy is basically to turbocharge the cells that produce hair with oxygen, nutrients and whatever else your bloodstream can give them to crank out healthy follicles.
Minoxidil does this regardless of your circumstances, but as a recent hair transplant procedure patient, it can offer the following benefits:
“Shock loss” prevention
Reduced future hair loss
Here’s what to know.
The long-term benefits of hair transplants are generally well-known. But the reality is, anytime you have surgery anywhere on your body, the stress can cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium — literally hair loss due to stress on your body.
It can affect your hair transplant results, but it can also affect not-transplanted hair.
Telogen effluvium is temporary, but one of the ways to mitigate it is with minoxidil. The treatment can increase blood flow to the hair follicles that might be shutting down until the “shock” of surgery has passed.
As noted, minoxidil can prevent telogen effluvium by increasing blood flow to the follicles. Similarly, it can extend the anagen phase of the hair cycle, also known as the growth phase.
By prolonging the anagen phase, you’ll basically be getting better mileage out of the follicles before they lapse into rest, meaning your fresh hair will grow longer and for longer.
Hair transplants might not be worthwhile if, after all that work, you’re stuck with the same problem.
Many of the transplanted follicles may have better resistance to the causes of hair loss. For extra insurance, minoxidil’s benefits can also act as a preventative shield against what caused you to lose hair in the first place.
It’s difficult to say when you can begin using minoxidil from here — not because we don’t have access to lots of really technical medical documents, but because the answer to this question isn’t all that technical in the first place.
Hair transplant recipients can generally start using minoxidil as soon as their provider or recovery specialist says it’s okay. That could be a couple of days or several weeks.
It may also depend on whether you plan to use a topical or oral version of the medication. Other factors include how fast or slow you’re healing and how healthy, irritated or at-risk the scalp skin looks to your provider’s expert eyes.
Regardless of your plans and our reading of the data, the only answer we can give this question is: Consult your provider. They’ll be able to look at your healing progress and determine when to give you the green light.
We definitely wouldn’t suggest starting treatment without a thumbs up from your hair transplant surgeon, though — that would be quite the head-scratcher.
If we’re trying to look inept here, the hits just keep coming. Unfortunately, there’s no official guidance on how long you should be using minoxidil in a post-transplant situation.
What we can offer are some important pieces of guidance on safe and effective use of minoxidil in general settings, namely:
Minoxidil is safe and effective to use in the long term.
The medication only works while you’re using it — once you stop, the effects will stop too.
You may or may not need long-term support for minoxidil after your transplant.
Asking your healthcare provider is the best way to get the right answer for your unique needs.
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Okay, we have one final good news/bad news reveal for you here.
Bad news: There aren’t many studies (and no strong ones at all) showing that hair growth treatments can improve your results after a transplant.
Good news: None of the existing treatment options for hair loss are contraindicated (known to be bad when used in combination with) hair transplant surgery.
Once again, you should ask your provider what’s right for your needs. But generally speaking, your hair transplant might benefit from:
Finasteride. Topical and oral finasteride offer numerous benefits for men with androgenic alopecia, with clear advantages even to transplant recipients. It’s also safe to use alongside minoxidil, especially in prepared formulations like our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray.
Biotin. For people with a biotin deficiency, biotin gummy supplements can help correct the problems associated with low levels of the B vitamin, like weak, brittle and slow-growing hair.
Haircare solutions. Medications and supplements are great, but did you know you can increase the look and feel of healthy hair with volumizing shampoo and conditioner and thickening shampoos with saw palmetto? Check out our offerings to learn more.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Hair transplants are complex procedures, and the recovery can be just as complicated (and sometimes, slower than you’d hope).
If you’re trying to speed up the recovery process, listening to your healthcare provider’s recommendations will absolutely help.
Here’s what else might help:
Eating and sleeping well, reducing stress and following your provider’s aftercare instructions will have positive effects on your outcome.
If you want to supercharge your recovery, minoxidil may indeed help. However, for best results, you’ll want to talk to a healthcare provider about how and when to use it.
Minoxidil is FDA-approved for hair growth, even though how minoxidil works is still partially unexplained.
Still have questions about the best hair restoration strategies and ways to prevent further hair loss? We can help.
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