Oral minoxidil, originally developed as a treatment for hypertension, is having a moment. Ever since COVID and the NY Times article written to show dramatic effects in hair regrowth, it has been at the top of TikTok for hair growth, including eyelash and eyebrow growth. Here's how it works:

1. **Vasodilation**: Minoxidil functions as a potent vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels. Blood vessels bring nutrients and they shrink as we age, shrinking the size of our hair follicles with it. Shrinking hair follicle size or miniaturization, is the first slippery step on the road to hair loss. When taken orally, it increases blood flow to certain areas of the body, including the scalp and hair follicles. Improved blood circulation delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, promoting their health and stimulating hair growth.

2. **Potassium Channel Opening**: Minoxidil opens adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels, leading to hyperpolarization of cell membranes. This mechanism is thought to play a role in its ability to promote hair growth. By opening potassium channels, minoxidil may enhance the proliferation of hair follicle cells and prolong the growth phase of the hair cycle.

3. **Stimulation of Hair Follicles**: Minoxidil is believed to directly stimulate hair follicles by prolonging the anagen phase and increasing the size of hair follicles, resulting in thicker and longer hair strands. It may also awaken dormant hair follicles, leading to the growth of new hair in areas where hair loss has occurred.

4. **Proliferation of Dermal Papilla Cells**: Dermal papilla cells play a crucial role in hair growth, as they regulate the activity of hair follicles. Minoxidil has been shown to promote the proliferation of dermal papilla cells, which contributes to its hair growth-promoting effects.

5. **Eyelash Growth**: The mechanism of minoxidil's action on eyelash growth is similar to its effects on scalp hair. By improving blood flow to the hair follicles on the eyelids, minoxidil enhances the growth of eyelashes, making them longer, thicker, and darker over time.

6. **Clinical Evidence**: Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of oral minoxidil in promoting hair growth in individuals with androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) and other types of hair loss. While most studies have focused on its topical formulation, oral minoxidil has also shown promise as a systemic treatment for hair loss.

7. **Side Effects**: Because such low doses of medication are used for hair loss compared to its use for hypertension, side effects are minimal but can include fluid retention in hands and feet, and hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) like extra facial peach fuzz, arm and leg hair, eyelash and eyebrow growth. These side effects can vary in severity and may require dose reduction or stopping the medication.

Oral minoxidil is a great way to promote hair and eyelash/eyebrow growth by improving blood circulation, stimulating hair follicles, prolonging the growth phase of the hair cycle, and promoting the proliferation of dermal papilla cells. If you are interested in learning whether oral minoxidil may be right for you, you can call or request a free consultation at 615.327.4015 or www.teamtoyos.com.