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Traction Alopecia and Minoxidil 5%
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Traction Alopecia and Minoxidil 5%

I am a 25 year old male and have worn a very tight ponytail for over 4 years. I stopped wearing it completely like this since january 2011 - so it has been about 7 months now consistently of just let down natural style. I have thinning and loss around the temples and a bit around the frontal area, with follicles appearing healthy and visible, but simply bald or no hair (from a potential shock-shed)?

Assuming 5% minoxidil over prolonged use stimulates growth in those areas, would I have to continue using it permanently, or can I simply use it until my hair grows back in those areas, since I am fairly certain the damage was self-inflicted due to traction and not DHT related? I am generally very healthy and do not take any medication. Is it safe to take minoxidil, and if my hair grows back thicker in these areas (it's currently there, just quite thin and brittle), will my hair remain or fall out after minoxidil use is discontinued? Thank you!
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29 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
On a side note, I have absolutely zero hair loss in my Vertex/Crown area - in fact it holds some of my thickest healthiest hair. I believe this is further indication that it's not androgenic alopecia but traction. Furthermore, the areas around the temple and hairline are thinnest precisely where the strongest tension was applied in terms of angle, which I believe is another indicator. Bottom line: is it worth trying 5% minoxidil or will it cause potentially more problems than it can solve?
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Avatar_m_tn
No one has any insight?
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Avatar_n_tn
Im saying this from experence.The hair will get thicker and might even grow fully back, if the skin hasnt heal over the follicle, but still some see results. The new hair grown will stay after you stop using the product. Just understand that when tthe hair goes through the hair cycle and falls out it will be more noticable than other areas of your hair. I personally only uses a bottle once a year or two as a refresher after the hair has grown back. Be patient, take pictures of before and after, and it will atleast get better from here.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for responding!

After two months of minoxidil 5% use, I am reporting EXACTLY what you said as my results; the hair on my hairline has gotten black and very thick, it appears to be stimulating growth in all of the raw scalp areas where you can see the hole but no hair, and that means the skin hasn't healed or closed over it so it looks bald/shiny. It's hard to describe but the scalp parts that are thinning look as if its been trimmed with a buzz machine, it looks alive just hairless.

I'm also sprouting hundreds of tiny white fuzzy hairs on my hairline above the temple, which was just bald skin before. Weird? I'm going to keep using minoxidil and see if it can turn them into full blown hairs lol!

As far as hair staying after discontinuation of minoxidil use, I can't thank you enough for chiming in on your experience. Thank you! I am more confident my hair won't fall out once I stop using it.
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1573032_tn?1319785299
moxodil 5% is great my bro was using it for less then 2 months and now i barely regonise him anymore with all the regrowth
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Avatar_m_tn
That's wonderful about your brother. It will soon be 3 months of use for me, and I'm noticing almost every single hair that was there before, becoming a lot thicker and more dense. A crapton of peachfuzz is growing in dense clusters and getting longer - but has not thickened yet or gained pigment. Maybe at 6 months? Point is, every hair that exists on my head that's been exposed to minoxidil is gaining serious muscle, minus some continuing shedding unrelated to minoxidil. I think if anything, it's helped to slow down the loss that would have been inevitable.
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Avatar_m_tn
personally i have had negative experience with minoxidil, i became reliant on it for a while but then experienced further hair loss as a side effect!
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Avatar_m_tn
How long did our hair loss persist and did it ever regrow? I find that people find out their hair loss is getting noticable usually when it's already really bad, so minoxidil might even speed up the inevitable if the follicles are too damaged. Who knows though...
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Avatar_m_tn
yeah that could be the case.. i was 14 when i first noticed my hair thinning. i tried minoxidil when i was 16 as it wasnt getting any better (despite the hair growing back, it was always falling out and thinning quickly) - i have history of alopecia in the family too, so this made me even less hopeful.
i used minoxidil for 6 months before noticing further hair loss.
my hair has never grown back, i have just found alternative solutions that i am much, much happier with.
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Avatar_m_tn
Which alternative solutions? do they involve regrowth or other things?
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Avatar_m_tn
no no, i was always scared of surgeries, and also scared of regrowth routes incase it promoted hair growth in unwanted areas.. i found comfort in wigs and then was recommended to a non-surgical hair replacement clinic - the best solution for me by far. have you head of this?
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Avatar_m_tn
No I haven't! The only non surgical I know of is minoxidil, pills, and cortisone shots. Non surgical hair replacement, what is that?
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Avatar_m_tn
nothing to do with medications at all!! it took me a while to find non surgical hair replacement but i would never look back. i have a human hair piece attached to the front of my scalp using a layer of monofilament - it is undetectable and very comfortable. would you be interested?
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Avatar_n_tn
This thread is great everyone. HealthQX, did you notice any initial hair loss when starting Minoxidil, which from what I've heard is common? I am in a similar situation as you (traction alopecia, male in my 20s) and am thinking about using Minoxidil myself. Any thoughts or advice?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey newhair! Really glad you're joining in. I have noticed virtually ZERO hair loss when I started, not in the first week not in the first 10 weeks, I don't know -- all I can say with confidence is certain parts of my hairline are coming out really thick and almost dark brown/black, and since I'm blonde I can only assume the minoxidil affected the follicles there.

As for losing hairs prior in their position to replace them, it never happened. Sometimes minoxidil just speeds up inevitable hair loss so many men use it and freak out and curse it to death, but I think since your situation is similar to mine, I'd give it a go because hormones are not our issue at the moment. You will probably notice a bunch of dense fuzz developing in areas like me but mine has not grown out yet into full dense hairs with pigment, so I'll have to wait and see.

Even if minox works for you, it might prevent further hair loss which I think it definitely has for me, it seems to be redbull for hair follicles.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi HealthQX, thanks for all the info! Very interesting that the new hair is darker, but it sounds good actually. My hair's very dark brown/black, so I guess I shouldn't experience a different colour.

It's good that you didn't have any loss... from what I understand (I am a med student so in the past learned a bit about the growth process), the initial hair loss is from the follicle transitioning from the telogen to anagen phase of growth. I guess you never had that change, only an increase in the amount of growth, which is awesome.

A couple random questions if you don't mind... are you using it twice a day? What shampoo do you use? And maybe it was you who posted on another site and said that you noticed some increased growth in your beard as well? haha... that's not from putting any minox there or having it rub off on a pillow or something and then on to your beard? Just curious why that would happen... I'm fond of my beard and don't want it to change!
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Avatar_m_tn
To start bottom to top, the reason people increase beard growth or body growth in general is because they are either a) extremely sensitive to the effects of minoxidil and the minor amount absorbed topically is stimulating growth elsewhere, since it does absorb into the body b) they are using too much and are experiencing systemic over-absorption in which basically beard, arms, chest etc start to get thicker or more pronounced. My beard is defintely thicker, because I use a bit more minox, but it wasn't me that posted that.

Minoxidil has to be in direct contact with the surrounding follicles and takes a while to absorb, so it must remain on the affected area from wetness to completely dryness to take full effect. By the time I go to bed, the minox on my scalp is looong dried.

The shampoo I use varies; I try not to be anal about it, I actually only use nizoral 2% on my crown, let it absorb for 3 minutes, followed by a thorough rinsing and a random conditioner for the complete rest of the scalp.

I use minox twice a day, at varying times, usually 8 hours in between one another, maybe 10.

I'm no med student, but I know for a fact that minox seems to be affecting my current growing hair DIRECTLY, despite the flaw in the hair shed/growth cycle in nature, which tends to favour expelling a hair shaft when signalled to grow a thicker, more dense shaft. So I'm thankful I had no shed.
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Avatar_m_tn
HealthQX, are you still interested in hearing more on non surgical procedures like mine?
courtney
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Avatar_n_tn
That's really cool, thanks for all the info HealthQX! The absorption thing is interesting... I would think there should also be other systemic effects if it was getting in. But as long as everything is okay, it sounds good.

Any idea when you'll stop using it to see if your hair keeps growing? That's also a big thing I'd like to see happen, since (hopefully) we have the hormones to keep the hair growing after the minox kick starts them.

I'm planning to start in a couple weeks, I have some things coming up and don't want any side effects until those are done with. I think I'm going to start with the 2% and see what happens. Thanks again for all the info, it's really helpful!
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes I'd also love to hear how you feel about stopping the minox! hopefully this wont be long.
good luck newhair!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey all!

I am pretty comfortable and confident about stopping minox. I started July 12 and have been using it since; however, I slipped up a few times the last month and miss a day here and there, but it should be fine. The key is consistency I think.

I have 3 more bottles to go through which will last me only two months -- since I use a bit more to cover all the areas affected. Minoxidil's efficacy is dose dependent, so I have no choice but to use more in order to cover the spots. I guess I will stop in January and keep everyone posted thereafter as per my results and side effects. Good luck newhair with the 2%!

Courtney I am interested about your non surgical methods but I am definitely not even considering a wig since I have too much hair to wear one anyway (thank god). What other methods do you employ?
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Avatar_m_tn
Good luck with the rest of your treatment!! :)

My non surgical method is a full wig, however it can be adapted to any type of hair loss -even those with a few bald patches. it is when a layer of thin, breathable (for a change!) material is applied to the hair line and blends in with the natural colours to look natural. hair is then individually knotted on to this base.

are you familiar with this?

courtney
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks HealthQX and courtneyfox! I officially started yesterday! Though I am expecting a long haul ahead...

I am a little paranoid about side effects, in part because I used to have acne quite bad. By some incredible miracle, in the past year my skin has cleared up immensely, to the point where I actually got a compliment on it recently (never would have imagined that). Though I think simply getting older and being almost finished with school (and the associated stress) has a large part to do with it, I certainly don't want anything to aggravate it and make it return. In general my skin is fairly sensitive, so I am using the 2%, not 5%, and plan on being meticulous in not letting any get anywhere other than my scalp... including changing pillow cases very frequently.

I'm surprised every time I look at my scalp closely to find I have a lot more hair in the "bare" areas than it seems... it's just all very thin, I assume because the hair that was pulled out is growing back like that. Did you have the same thing, and are noticing those hairs growing beefier now? I know you mentioned the peach fuzz, but is better growth of existing hair making up the majority of your new fullness?

Thanks again! Glad I found someone who's using Minox for the same purpose!
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Avatar_m_tn
Nice! Good luck man, you might have great results with 2%, but at some point I insist you try the 5%, since a GP I saw recently told me to experiment with them as well, suggesting the 5% might be much more useful. Give yourself time to adjust to the 2% and see how your skin reacts.

I've noticed that the fullness of the rest of my hair almost completely covers up the areas that are thin or missing, and it feels like I've really lost a lot of hair over the last several years which is a shame. There is tooooons of peach fuzz and they are definitely growing constantly, albeit slowly and are getting thicker and more pigmented. It's just taking forever for even one inch, I hope they pick up speed soon.

I'm also glad others are using minox for the same purpose, there seems to be a massive lack of information on our particular subject. I think it may be that minox is assumed to do very little in cases of ponytail or traction damage, because of the varying stages of follicular damage. Minox can only do so much to resuscitate them.
For your final question, it's a mix of the two I guess. What used to be one inch long thickening growth, is now 4 inches and blending more with the rest of the healthy hair, so when I move back my hair in ponytail fashion, it seems that the hairs that were short in July are now joining the gang, and causing a clearer division in my hairline, if that makes sense? So every time a bunch of regrowth gets longer and is long enough to be pulled back to join the rest, it exposes some part of my scalp and makes it appear like I'm losing hair, but after a while more layers grow in and patch it up. So it's a toss up. I guess my fullness was never really much different from now, I honestly probably have a lot more hair than I advertise as lacking, but the current hair that's been getting thicker from minox + SOME of the peach fuzz that has grown in fully, not all, is definitely a contributing factor.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think I may have found a company that ethically sources hair.
I need to research it more but they buy hair within the UK.  Not sure if anyone else have heard of this, www.hairharvest.co.uk
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Avatar_m_tn
Well, I'm starting to think the minoxidil did jack squat for my regrowth, if anything it appears to have slowed the loss and made my existing hairs thicker at BEST, and maybe even contributed to some loss along the way it at worst.

I must have started too late or my issue is more complex than I thought, I don't know. I still have a lot of hair and can pull off a lot of hairstyles so it's not the end of the world but, keep in mind your mileage will vary and don't expect too much from this crap. Ultimately, after the 5th month, I just got tired of putting this **** on my scalp since I have long hair and it getting so dried out and gunky.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a very similar experience, which is what lead me to Bloomsbury - tired of applying cream after cream!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey HealthQX, sorry for the delay, I've been extremely busy lately. That's surprising and I'm sorry to hear you say it hasn't really helped. You seemed fairly confident it was helping you before, did anything in particular change your mind?

I don't know if it has really helped me or not. Keep in mind it hasn't been too long for me, plus I am only using the 2%. I'll switch to 5% at the end of the month since I've had zero side effects with the 2%. I certainly haven't noticed any loss/shedding, which is good. I think it may be helping growth, but it's tough to tease out placebo effect vs. any actual growth.
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Avatar_m_tn
Nothing in particular changed my mind except careful observation of practically every hair follicle and not much change. At best I can speculate that the minoxidil slowed down the gradual loss, and made the existing hairs thicker and darker; this is definitely an observable result but I'm not sure how it even happened given that the hair shed/regrowth mechanism usually involves a complete expulsion and fresh regrowth.

Either way, I just got tired of the harsh alcohol drying out my scalp and it got me incredibly paranoid that all the harshness may be harming my scalp and contributing to loss, despite the fact that minoxidil is a growth stimulant. After like, 4 months of virtually no brand new hair shafts, I just got paranoid that I'm doing more damage with the harshness and really started to enjoy the feeling of a non irritated scalp. It just feels more healthy and I'm not shedding from what I can tell so, screw the minox.

It's been a while for me, and the areas I focused on the temples and frontal areas, so it's not surprising. DO NOT give up for a minimum of 4-6 months, I stuck it out that long you should too. Get the 5% and it might kickstart some dormant follicles into action. It all depends on each individual body and how effective minox is for you personally so you won't know until you try for extended periods of time. I have plenty of frontal hair and bangs and stuff, so I'm pretty comfortable with my "loss" to date, so whatever, if it gets SO bad in the future, I'll book another appointment with a derma and get them to analyze my scalp and do full tests on whether or not it's genetic at that point, or traction. If it's meant to be, I'll either live with it or get a transplant, life's too short so I don't really care :)

Good luck.
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