Does minoxidil only help the back?
Minoxidil is FDA approved for treating genetic hair loss in men? Early studies showed that it helps the top of the scalp in men which created confusion regarding its role in the front of the scalp.
Minoxidil can help the frontal hairline. It may not restore it to the 'original' density. But it certainly can help. Two studies in the past year really helped clear up the myth that minoxidil doesn't help the frontal hairline.
STUDY 1: Drs Hillman and colleagues
Hillman K et al published a study in 2015 evaluated the efficacy of twice daily 5% minoxidil foam in the frontotemporal region of male patients with genetic hair loss after 24 weeks of treatment compared to placebo treatment and to the vertex region. Study results indicated that hair counts and hair caliber increased significantly compared to baseline in both the frontotemporal and vertex scalp. Furthermore, patients actually using 5% minoxidil foam rated a significant improvement in scalp coverage for both the front and top areas.
STUDY 2 - Drs Mirmirani and colleagues
In another study, Mirmirani et al performed a double-blinded, placebo controlled research study of minoxidil topical foam 5% (MTF) vs placebo in sixteen healthy men ages 18-49 years with genetic hair loss. Study participants applied treatment (active drug or placebo) to the scalp twice daily for eight weeks. Again, similar to the previous study, results showed that minoxidil improved frontal and vertex scalp hair growth of AGA patients.
There is little doubt now that minoxidil can help some men with frontal hair loss. It does not help everyone, and doesn't return the hair back to the original density. But it certainly can help.
Hillman K et al. A Single-Centre, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial to Investigate the Efficacy and Safety of Minoxidil Topical Foam in Frontotemporal and Vertex Androgenetic Alopecia in Men. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2015;28:236-244.
Mirmirani et al. Similar Response Patterns to 5%Topical Minoxidil Foam in Frontal and Vertex Scalp of Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Microarray Analysis. Br J Dermatol. 2014 Sep 10.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299