Although known as male pattern baldness, hair loss is a sensitive subject.

There are no magic formulas despite the claims. But one preparation, which started out life as a heart drug, appears to help. While it is not clear exactly how it works, minoxidil (Regaine-Rogaine in the US) may act on the follicle, stimulating hair growth.

It works best in the very early stages of hair thinning or loss. It can take up to a year before any results are seen and then these last only while the drug is still being used. On the plus side, minoxidil does seem to slow down progressive hair loss.

Side effects to watch out for are: chest pain, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and other signs that it is affecting your blood pressure. (Oral minoxidil available on prescription only is still used for hypertension.) While Regaine is a topical application and the amount absorbed into the scalp is minimal, exceeding the recommended twice daily dose is not advised.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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