Which Hair Loss Treatment is Better: Minoxidil with Retin-A or Minoxidil Without Retin-A?Minoxidil has been prescribed (off-label) in combination with other medications, such as topical retinoic acid (Retin-A), to enhance its penetration into the skin and thus increase its effectiveness. This combination of medications, however, can significantly increase the absorption of minoxidil into the bloodstream and may increase the risk of potential side effects, including changes in blood pressure and severe scalp irritation that has, on occasion, led to scarring.
If person wants to add Retin-A to the minoxidil regime, the Retin-A should be applied only once a day, since the Retin-A will bind to the skin and will last for at least 24 hours.
Applying Retin-A more frequently will not increase its effectiveness (in facilitating the absorption of minoxidil); it will only increase the incidence of side effects. Retin-A can be applied to the scalp at the same time as Minoxidil, or by itself.
Retin-A should not be compounded with minoxidil (mixed together by your pharmacist or your doctor) for the following reasons:
- Minoxidil works best when used twice a day. Retin-A is best used once a day.
- Using Retin-A twice a day wastes money and increases the incidence of side effects
- If you develop side effects from the Retin-A, it is best to stop only the Retin-A. If they are compounded, you would need to stop both and will lose the benefit of minoxidil.