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Minoxidil is also not without side effects, causing some patients one or more of the following: itching of the scalp, headache, vertigo, irregular pulse and heartbeat, or light-head-edness. As a vasodilator, it should be taken with caution by any-one who has heart problems, is taking blood pressure medication, or is hypotensive.
Tretinoin, the generic topical better known by its trade names, Retin-A or Renova, is another topical, and is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Pharmaceuticals. The product is not intended as a hair-regrowth medication, but it does deserve mention here because it seems to potentiate (increase) the efficacy of minoxidil when they are used together. Tretinoin is available in gel and cream forms, but the gel seems to penetrate better than the cream; this is probably how it assists minoxidil treatment, acting as a carrier to help minoxi-dil absorb better into the follicles. The product is actually produced and sold as an acne treatment, and also appears to reduce aging of the skin with long-term use.
Tretinoin has two notable side effects: making the skin more sensitive to sunlight, thus increasing the chance of sun-bum (no small item to a bald head); and causing redness, dry-ness, tenderness, and swelling of the skin. Both these side effects appear to be transient with prolonged use of the product, but it is wise to protect applied areas from extended direct sun exposure. Another important warning is that the gel form is flammable and should not be applied near open flame or while smoking! Tretinoin is otherwise a very safe drug if used as directed.
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