Nioxin Side Effects: 4 Common Reactions

The lowdown on Nioxin reactions

Ahhh, the first impression. It hangs over every smitten kitten meeting their new sweetheart’s parents. Every nervous networker trying to make connections. Every new person on their first day of whatever it is they’re starting out.

First impressions count. They can make or break what people think of your product, your service – even you as a person. And you’ve got about 5 minutes to make that first impression count. It ain’t easy.

This post covers Nioxin reactions and is specifically for people who are new to the world of Nioxin. Because even though I think it’s a great product, and even though it’s worked for me in the past, it doesn’t give a great first impression.

So Nioxin reactions aren’t always positive. I’ll explain why in a sec, but first…

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What Is Nioxin?

If you haven’t heard of the brand, it offers a line of products that can reduce hair loss.

It’s worth noting that the company doesn’t claim to be a regrowth solution. Rather, it markets itself as providing a healthier scalp environment for existing follicles. A field from which new hair can spring forth. Nice one.

One of the ways it does this is by blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This unhappy hormone shrinks hair follicles and is closely linked to alopecia. (Boo!) But Nioxin clears these follicles from accumulated buildup and excess sebum, opening them up again to hairy opportunities and stimulating blood flow to the scalp. (Yay!)

Lady Alopecia getting a good lather on.

The Reviews: Some People Diss & Dismiss

Some people don’t trust this brand – especially since P&G took over and reportedly changed its formula. And although it can be very effective, with some great results, this might come at a price.

Basically, the products contain a mixture of natural and chemical ingredients. Both of which can cause certain side effects, which customers should be aware of before use.

Read my full Nioxin reviews post here or stick around to learn about these particular reactions.

The Bright Side: Nioxin Benefits

Before I get into the potential side effects of using Nioxin, let’s take a quick look at some of its benefits.

  • It blocks DHT. But you know that already. 😉
  • It boosts circulation to the scalp, allowing essential oxygen and nutrients to do their job. Go team!
  • It reduces inflammation, which is a big red flag in autoimmune conditions like alopecia.
  • It gets rid of dandruff. No more itchy scalps or snowy shoulders!
  • Its antibacterial and antifungal properties promote a healthy, shiny straight out of a L'Oréal ad. Because you’re worth it, too. 😉

What most people want to know is: Can Nioxin regrow hair?

The short answer is: I can’t say for sure. It worked for me briefly, but I’m wary of offering false hope to fellow alopecians. Still, while there’s no miracle cure, this could be a temporary fix!

Those lovely bubbles couldn't do any harm, could they? Surely not!

The Dark Side: Nioxin Side Effects

Although some people love this product, others are less keen. Some even say it’s dangerous since it can cause more locks to fall out. (Which is actually part of the process, but I’ll get into that soon).

The thing is, since these products contain so many ingredients, there’s a wider scope for allergic reactions.

The detergents and sulfates (used to create a lather) can irritate the scalp. Even the herbal and botanical extracts might not agree with certain skin types. (Example: for some reason, I’m massively allergic to cinnamon oil. Go figure).

Some reactions are to be expected when you start out. Others aren’t. Most are temporary, but it’s the persistent ones you should watch out for!

Still, since the ingredients are non-prescription and generally quite mild, severe reactions are rare.

A List Of Nioxin Reactions...

1. Redness or inflammation

Ok, so I know I said Nioxin reduces inflammation. But when you first start using it, you probably will notice some redness on your scalp and a tingling sensation, too.

Don’t worry, this is really common! It just means the shampoo is doing its thing – working on circulation and blood flow to liven up those cells again.

The redness is down to Niacin (aka Vitamin B3) dilating blood vessels to stimulate the scalp. While any irritation you experience (apart from your partner mocking your red head) probably comes from the antioxidant CoZyme.

Also known as CoQ10, it contains plant and chemical compounds to which some people are allergic. These reactions are nothing to worry about, and they usually only last for a couple of hours.

Watch out for: Facial swelling, hives or prolonged redness. Plus, while tingling is ok (it’s probably the peppermint oil), burning isn’t. Nor is tenderness. Otis Redding may have encouraged us to “try a little”, but I don’t think he was talking about sensitive scalps!

So if you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the products immediately and seek medical advice.

2. Itching and flaking

Things could get a little flaky.

Although Nioxin fights dandruff, its initial reaction might be just the opposite. (I told you it made a crummy first impression, didn’t I?!) The thing is, after a long time of lying fallow, the scalp suddenly kicks into life.

This might make it feel itchy, which could cause you to scratch it, which could lead to flaking. Charming.

Watch out for: Abnormal levels of flaking. Like, snake-shedding-skin kind of stuff. The itchy stage should pass after a week, no longer than two. If it persists, try reducing application to once or twice a week and if there’s still no improvement, consider stopping altogether.

3. Dry, brittle hair

Desert Tree
Your hair could feel like this tree does.

This is definitely one I’d “power through” if you can. Because during the first 2 weeks of using Nioxin, I couldn’t help wondering what all the fuss was about. I was even annoyed at my hairdresser friend for recommending it to me.

My remaining curls became dry, brittle and even more prone to snapping than usual. My scalp felt completely dried out. Something didn’t feel right.

And yet. I kept using Nioxin and before long, started noticing how soft, shiny and full my hair became. I can’t say exactly when the turning point happened… but it did happen!

Watch out for: Hmm. Hard for me to give a real caution with this one as like I said, if brittle hair is the only side effect you notice, I’d keep going until the shift happens. I guess if you experience any severe reactions alongside dry hair, and it doesn’t improve over time, that’s a sign to stop.

4. Hair loss

Yep, that’s right. A shampoo for hair loss can actually cause hair loss. What’s an alopecian to do?!

First of all, don’t fret. (We don’t want you shedding more strands due to anxiety, do we?!) Your scalp is just getting used to the new shampoo. And the product is getting rid of “dead hair” in order to allow new, healthier hair to take root.

In fact, the manufacturer actually states that hair loss is a common side effect during the first 2 weeks of use. Because the product works to unclog the hair follicles – in doing so, releasing hair strands that were previously trapped in sebum. One, two, three… Ewwwwww!!!

Watch out for: Any shedding beyond these first 2 weeks. The chemicals should have “settled in” by now and you shouldn’t be experiencing any more hair fall at this stage. If you are, discontinue use and seek advice from a doctor or trichologist (hair doctor).

A hair loss shampoo that causes your hair to fall out? Oh, the irony!

Is There Any Evidence?

There’s no medical evidence to support any negative side effects of using Nioxin. For instance, in the US, every chemical product is required to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), listing potential hazards of use. And the one for Nioxin shows only very mild effects.

However, there is enough anecdotal evidence (in the form of customer reviews) to highlight that individual reactions are possible.

Customers have reported very different reactions to using the various kits and products. Some reviews are really positive, others are overwhelmingly negative. I don’t want to advocate its safety 100% as in all honesty, Nioxin reactions seem to differ from person to person.

Of course, this is the case with lots of products. Certain ingredients affect different people in different ways. So some customers may not respond well to Nioxin’s formula (and may even have an allergic reaction). While others will thrive and for them, the only side effects of Nioxin will be softer, silkier and fuller hair!

Conclusion: It’s Worth A Try!

Remember, lots of hair products have the same or similar ingredients. So if you’ve ever experienced reactions to other brands, you’re likely to go through the same thing with Nioxin.

Plus, if you’re overly sensitive to skincare products in general (or to household goods like washing detergent), there’s a good chance you’ll have a bad reaction to Nioxin, too.

Personally, I’ve never experienced anything other than mild, temporary effects – which is why I still advocate its use. But please use your own judgement! 🙂

Take Lady Alopecia’s advice: Give it a go for a few months.

Are Nioxin reactions and side effects lasting longer than they should? Or has redness/swelling extended to your face and neck (indicating a systemic allergic reaction)? Then discontinue use and seek medical advice if necessary.

I hope this post clears up some of your questions but if you want to know more about Nioxin, check out more articles below!

Lady Alopecia xxx

Useful links

Not satisfied yet? Need some more information on Nioxin? Then keep reading, dear reader!

1. Nioxin Shampoo Review – Read about my personal experience with the shampoo.
2. Ingredients – Discover what’s in it that might cause reactions.
3. Where To Buy – Find out where you can get your hands on it.
4. Keranique Side Effects – The reactions to expect from Nioxin’s competitor.

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