Thousands of British men put on a hair loss drug and have full beards as part of a bizarre new trend.
They apply an overclocking medicine called minoxidil to their cheeks, chins and mustache twice a day and share their results online.
Boys from the age of 16 to men until well into the 1950s form the nascent subculture of hopeful people who are desperate to achieve a more mature or masculine appearance.
Minoxidil, marketed under the Regaine brand in the UK, comes in foam or liquid form in a strength of two or five percent.
It is available on Amazon and in most pharmacies without a prescription.
It works by facilitating blood flow to the hair follicles – the part of the skin that makes a hair grow by gathering old cells together.
Vlogger Adam Siddals, 27, has millions of views on his YouTube channel, where he documented his beard journey from zero to hero
Derby's business analyst (left, before starting Minoxidil in 2016) was uncertain about his lack of facial hair. He now said that he is fully bearded (correct, this week) he gets more respect from colleagues
Minoxidil also dilates the hair follicle, resulting in a thicker tress, and extends the growth phase of each follicle, resulting in longer hair strands.
The effect on hair growth was first discovered in the 1970s during clinical trials to see if it worked as a treatment with high blood pressure.
The drug is taken orally in pill form and dilates small arteries in the body, increasing blood flow.
But in the lawsuits of the 1970s, led by American investigators from the pharmaceutical company Upjohn, based in Michigan, it had the unintended effect of causing hypertrichosis or excessive hair growth.
More recent clinical studies have shown that 60 percent of men who use minoxidil on their heads experience visible regrowth of hair.
But in support forums on the Internet, men with dreams use to look like Jason Mamoa using minoxidil as an unlabelled medicine for beard growth.
Minoxidil, sold under the Regaine brand in the UK, is an over-the-counter product available at pharmacies throughout the country. It works by promoting blood flow to the hair follicles
The most popular Facebook group, The Minox Beard Spot, has 55,000 members.
It is filled with hundreds of pictures from before and after and thousands of comments from members who compliment each other and encourage each other during their travels.
Adam Siddals, 27, one of the founders of the group, documented his journey with minoxidil through YouTube videos that have amassed millions of views.
The business analyst, from Derby, started using the product on his face in April 2016 at the age of 24, after being troubled by his lack of facial hair.
Gabriel Baba from Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the 55,000 members of a Minoxidil beard growth support group on Facebook. He went from having a scarce and spotty scruff (left) to a full, thick beard in three months
He told MailOnline: & # 39; I had a very irregular jaw belt, a little more hair on the chin, a little bit under my neck, and a very weak, straggly mustache.
& # 39; It really bothered me, I was unsure about my lack of facial hair.
WHAT IS MINOXIDIL? AND IS IT SAFE?
Minoxidil belongs to a class of medicines called vasodilators that dilate small arteries in the body, thereby reducing resistance to blood flow.
It stimulates hair growth by promoting blood flow to the hair follicles – the part of the skin that makes a hair grow by gathering old cells together.
The drug also broadens the hair follicle, creating a thicker lock of hair.
It prolongs the growth phase, or anagen phase, of the hair and delays the excretion phase.
The exact physiological basis for these effects is unknown.
Minoxidil is supplied in a foam or liquid form – applied with a dropper – normally in a strength of 2 percent or 5 percent.
The medication has been clinically proven to grow the hair of balding men and stops hair loss in people with alopecia.
Experts say that the disadvantage of minoxidil is that you have to keep taking it to preserve the effects.
There are several side effects associated with the drug, including itchy and dry skin, heart palpitations and increased blood pressure.
Many minoxidil products contain propylene glycol and alcohol, which can lead to skin rashes and irritation with topical application.
Other less common side effects of minoxidil are acne and inflammation around the hair roots.
There are also side effects of minoxidil that can occur due to excessive use of the medication.
In most cases, these side effects occur if too much minoxidil is applied at the same time, which means that too little minoxidil is absorbed into the body.
These side effects are dizziness, dizziness, fainting, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, headache, flushing and blurred or altered vision.
But minoxidil is very toxic to cats because they lack the enzymes needed to metabolize and excrete minoxidil from the body.
Users are advised to always wash their hands thoroughly after applying the medication.
It is important to note that clinical studies of the use of Minoxidil in the face have not been performed, so side effects may vary.
& # 39; My friends always teased me because I had no facial hair. They always said, "You just have to make sure you never get a beard, stop trying."
& # 39; It sounds crazy, but I thought I had to prove that they were wrong. I constantly remind them that they are the reason I started using minoxidil. & # 39;
Before he went on a trip, Mr. Siddals spent weeks researching to find a cure for his lack of face bags.
When he found Minoxidil, he was naturally skeptical. & # 39; I don't believe in panacea or magic tablets & # 39 ;, he said.
& # 39; I did research for about a month before I ordered my first can of Minoxidil. I didn't believe it would work if I'm honest.
& # 39; But when I started documenting my journey, the results came so quickly. It was surreal, I couldn't believe it. & # 39;
Mr Siddals, who lives in London, said that his beard has commanded the respect of others and changed his life.
He added: & # 39; Now I am taken more seriously at work and I look older. It has given me confidence again and made my life better.
& # 39; Taking Minoxidil is the best decision I've ever made, apart from introducing it to my girlfriend. & # 39;
Mr Siddals used the product for two years and stopped last July.
Experts claim that hair strands that have grown through the use of minoxidil fall out as soon as customers stop using the drug.
But Mr. Siddals has not been with it for nine months and has not noticed any change.
He offered advice for beards who hoped hopefully and said: & # 39; In some cases it is better to wait for nature to take its course.
& # 39; If you are in the late teens, I would recommend you postpone it a little longer. But if you hit the mid-twenties, you may not be able to grow a full beard naturally.
& # 39; I would recommend anyone to investigate side effects. Hairline cracks sometimes make people crazy, although it is rare. & # 39;
M. Siddals added: & # 39; Another common side effect is dry skin and possible palpitations. I would also tell newcomers to start slowly.
& # 39; It is not necessary to use the strongest, most concentrated form of Minoxidil when you start. And use the foam, it has fewer side effects.
& # 39; And remember that there are many people who don't work for it. It is not a panacea. Like any medicine, some people don't take it as well as others. & # 39;
Leading British hair transplant surgeon Dr. Bessam Farjo is skeptical about the trend – and has even given a warning about possible side effects.
But he admits that the thin face fuzz can turn into a thicker beard, provided you have the hair in the first place.
Dr. Farjo, founder of the renowned Farjo Hair Institute, said: & Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles and prolonging the anagen phase – the growth phase – of the hair.
Ryan Montgomery, from Nashville, Texas, claims that he grew a full beard in just a few months using Minoxidil
& # 39; Essentially, more hairs stay longer in the growth phase than they go into the resting phase, giving the impression that you have thicker hair and that your existing hair is not getting worse.
& # 39; It's good at maintaining hair – not growing hair – and that's how we prescribe it to patients with pattern baldness.
& # 39; And when it comes to the beard, you can do some & # 39; Get fuzz & # 39; -type, fine hair experiences more growth through the use of Minoxidil. & # 39;
He added: & # 39; If you have an immature beard, Minoxidil can make it look fuller. And then you must continue to use the drug or the appearance of the thickness will disappear.
& # 39; But there is probably no chance that if you didn't have a hair on your face, Minoxidil would suddenly give you a beard.
& # 39; It cannot grow hair where there was no hair to start with. Likewise, if you rub Minoxidil on the head of a bald man, absolutely nothing will happen.
The Minox Beard Spot is the most popular beard growth stimulation group for men who use the medicine on their faces
& # 39; And I am not aware of studies that statistically show that Minoxidil beard growth can occur with consistency. & # 39;
Dr. Farjo, whose company has clinics in London and Manchester, said that possible side effects of using Minoxidil are redness of the skin and itching.
And if you do it too much, you can even get dizzy and faint.
He explains: & # 39; Minoxidil was originally conceived as a vasodilator for the treatment of patients with high blood pressure.
& # 39; But if you have normal blood pressure and you use too much of it, you can end up with a lower blood pressure than what is healthy, resulting in fainting and dizziness, because your heart is not pumping enough blood around your body.
& # 39; It is also irritating, which can cause redness and itching – an allergy-like reaction.
Minox Beard Spot member Roshi introduced herself before and after 15 months for the remedy for hair loss
& # 39; It can also cause dry skin, which can leave a whitish deposit on their scalp – which can easily be disguised on the head by changing the style of your hair, but it is not so easy to hide. & # 39;
Dr. Bashar Bizrah, founder of Beyond Med Center, a clinic specializing in scalp and beard transplantation, said it is not unusual for women who use Minoxidil to complain about unwanted facial hair growth – when the drug accidentally scalp trickle down to the patient's face.
Dr. Bizrah, founder of the Beyond Med Center in Kensington, West London, said: & Minoxidil on the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth.
& # 39; But it can also cause unwanted hair growth if the drug comes in contact with other parts of the skin.
& # 39; There have been some reports from women who have used Minoxidil just to accidentally drip the lotion onto their face, thereby stimulating the growth of temporary facial hair.
Adam Siddals, now heavily bearded, said the use of the drug was the best decision I have ever refrained from proposing to my girlfriend.
& # 39; With this in mind, it is quite likely that Minoxidil can grow an unwanted facial hair if used locally, even though there are no clinical trials to confirm this so far. & # 39;
Dr. Bizrah also says that Minoxidil could work to grow hair that is not visibly present in the face.
He added: & # 39; There is hair everywhere on the body. Some hair is just very small and not visible to the naked eye. That is why minoxidil stimulates growth to produce hair that was thought to be absent. & # 39;
Dr. Bizrah, who is reviewing the images of patient Mr Siddalls, added: & although it is not clear in the image, my suspicion is that the patient already has facial hair present – but in the first photo it is extremely thin and wispy and therefore not noticeable.
& # 39; In the second image, Minoxidil appears to have worked to thicken the existing wispy hair and make it more abundant.
& # 39; The disadvantage of Minoxidil is that you have to keep taking it to preserve the effects. When you stop, hair growth also stops. In turn, more hair loss can occur.
& # 39; Minoxidil should be responsible with the supervision and instruction of a physician. It is only a temporary solution for hair loss.
& # 39; Minoxidil was once started and should be used regularly as a maintenance medication. & # 39;
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