Minoxidil: Everything You Need to Know about This Hair Loss Treatment

Minoxidil: Everything You Need to Know about This Hair Loss Treatment

Minoxidil might be a word you've come across often in your journey against hair loss. 

Today, we're diving into what Minoxidil is all about. So, whether you're just curious or considering it as a treatment option, we've got you covered. 

man applying minoxidil

What is Minoxidil?

Originally introduced as a medication for high blood pressure, Minoxidil surprised many when patients began experiencing extra hair growth. 

Today, it stands tall as an FDA-approved topical treatment for hair loss. It's available in different concentrations, with 2% and 5% solutions being the most common. 

The exact mechanism of how Minoxidil promotes hair growth remains a bit of a mystery, but its effectiveness is well-documented.

How does Minoxidil work?

Dense Minoxidil

While the specific science behind its magic remains a topic of research, Minoxidil is believed to extend the growth phase of hair follicles. 

This means hair has more time to grow, become thicker, and cover those pesky balding areas. 

Additionally, it might help in increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, offering them more nourishment.

How to Use Minoxidil

Using Minoxidil is straightforward, but ensuring you're applying it correctly can make all the difference in your results. 

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

Ensure a Clean Scalp: 

Before applying, make sure your scalp and hair are dry and clean.

Measure the Right Amount: 

If you're using the liquid form, typically a 1ml dose (often marked on the dropper) is recommended. For foam, a half-capful will usually do the trick.

Apply Directly to the Scalp: 

Part your hair and apply directly to the thinning areas.


Gently massage the area to ensure even distribution. This can also help increase blood flow!

Let it Dry: 

Before styling or laying down, let the solution dry. This usually takes 20-25 minutes.

Wash Your Hands: 

After application, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly.

Application: Liquid vs. Foam

Minoxidil is available in two primary forms: liquid and foam. 

The liquid version often comes with a dropper, making it easier to apply directly to the scalp. 

On the other hand, the foam version is less messy and can be simpler to work with, especially for those with longer hair. 

It really comes down to personal preference; the efficacy remains consistent across both applications.

Potential Side Effects of Minoxidil

Every silver lining might have a cloud, and with Minoxidil, there are some side effects to be aware of:

The most common side effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Itching or skin rash.
  • Unwanted hair growth in areas other than the scalp.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

Remember, always be on the lookout and consult with a healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.

How long before I see results?

man looking at his hair

Like with many hair treatments, Minoxidil isn't an overnight miracle. 

Most users start seeing results after 3-6 months of consistent use. And remember, discontinuing the treatment could revert the hair to its previous state.

Precautions When Using Minoxidil

While Minoxidil is generally safe, taking certain precautions can help optimize results and minimize any potential risks:

Avoid Contact with Eyes: 

Minoxidil is strictly for external use. Avoid contact with eyes, nose, or mouth.

Do Not Double Dose: 

If you miss an application, don't double up the next time. Stick to the recommended dose.

Keep Away from Children: 

Store Minoxidil in a place out of children's reach.

Monitor for Irritation: 

While side effects are rare, it's always good to monitor your scalp for any signs of irritation.

Consult Before Mixing Treatments: 

If you're considering using Minoxidil alongside other hair treatments, always consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist.

Avoid Wet Scalp Application: 

For best results, don't apply Minoxidil to a wet scalp. It's designed to work on a dry scalp.

Minoxidil FAQs

Q: Will Minoxidil work for a receding hairline?

A: While Minoxidil is primarily approved for vertex balding (top of the head), many users have reported seeing improvements in a receding hairline as well.

Q: Can I use Minoxidil if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

A: It's advised to avoid Minoxidil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Always consult with your doctor before starting any medication during these periods.

Q: I heard Minoxidil can cause shedding initially. Is this true?

A: Yes, during the first few weeks of usage, some users might experience increased shedding. This is temporary and is often a sign that the medication is working, pushing out older hairs to make way for new growth.

Q: Can I blow-dry my hair after applying Minoxidil?

A: It's best to let Minoxidil dry naturally for optimal absorption. If you must blow-dry, use a cool setting and wait for the solution to be slightly dry.

Q: How long do I need to use Minoxidil?

A: Minoxidil is a long-term treatment. Stopping its use can result in a return to the previous state of hair loss. It's recommended to discuss the duration with a dermatologist or healthcare provider.

Q: Does Minoxidil expire?

A: Yes, like all medications, Minoxidil has an expiration date. Always check the packaging and avoid using the product past its expiry date for best results.