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Hair-raising solutions

MagazineMarch 1998 (Vol. 8 Issue 12)Hair-raising solutions

Alopecia hits men and women on different parts of the head and in varying degrees

Alopecia hits men and women on different parts of the head and in varying degrees. Men tend to lose hair along the scalp, while women's hair starts thinning from the front part of the head.
Many sufferers reach over the counter for a bottle called Rogaine. This clear solution contains minoxidil ,which in tablet form is a treatment for heart disease and high blood pressure.

Since hair loss is (so far) irreversible, the liquid needs to be rubbed onto the head regularly, and for life. Even if the application works, once you stop, the hair falls out again. The problem is that the hair does not just grow back on the head, but stimulates unwanted hair growth all over the body. Applied to sensitive scalps, the drug could cause a skin-rash reaction.

More seriously, topical minoxidil can cause fluid retention (resulting in weight gain) and tachycardia (increased heart rate) as well as angina. Rogaine may need to be taken in conjunction with a beta-blocker.

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