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Minoxidil (Rogaine): Use, Side Effects, Cost & Interactions

Minoxidil is a popular non-surgical approach to hair thinning treatment. It helps regrow the hair on the scalp. Although it can be used off-label, It is mostly used for pattern hair loss cases.

The takeaway from this minoxidil article is:

  • MINOXIDIL CAN BE FOUND IN TWO FORMS: SOLUTION AND FOAM
  • MINOXIDIL CAN BE FOUND IN TWO CONCENTRATIONS: 2% AND 5%
  • THE MINOXIDIL HAIR REGROWTH TREATMENT IS LIFE-LONG
  • MINOXIDIL’S USE FOR HAIR LOSS IS FDA-APPROVED
  • MINOXIDIL CAN BE USED WITH COMBINATION THERAPIES

What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil (diamino piperidinopyrimidine oxide, or C9H15N5O) is a medication used for high blood pressure and hair regrowth treatment. At first, it was utilized as a high-blood pressure medicine. However, hair growth was seen in patients who were using the medicine. Doctors later figured out the right dosage and launched the medicine for hair treatment. Later, it was approved by the FDA for hair treatment.

Minoxidil for hair growth can be found in two forms: topical minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam. It is totally optional to choose which, as they both offer the same results.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

Minoxidil is a vasodilator. Vasodilation means that it opens the blood vessels. When it is applied on the scalp, it opens the blood vessels on the scalp and this helps feed the hair follicles more. Minoxidil also expands hair follicles, causing hair to grow thicker.

Additionally, minoxidil shortens the telogen phase (resting phase) and indirectly causes a prolonged anagen phase (growth phase). This helps stop hair from falling out and growing more.

How Effective Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil for hair loss helps about 2 out of 3 men. Meaning, minoxidil is effective 66% of the time. It works best for people under the age of 40 and people who have just started to lose hair.

Does Minoxidil Regrow All Hair?

Yes, minoxidil can regrow all hair. And by all hair, it means ALL HAIR in the body, not only on the scalp. This means you should take additional caution while applying minoxidil to avoid touching other parts of your body with minoxidil as it can cause unwanted hair growth.

Is Minoxidil Safe?

Yes, minoxidil is safe. FDA has approved the medicine for hair loss treatment. However, it can still be used for other hair loss diseases off-label.

What Are the Side Effects of Minoxidil?

Due to its low concentration, minoxidil has very rare side effects. Between these rare side effects there are more common, less common, and very rare ones.

The most common minoxidil side effects are:

  • CHANGE IN HAIR TEXTURE
  • INITIAL HAIR LOSS (SHOCK HAIR LOSS)
  • SCALP IRRITATION
  • UNWANTED HAIR GROWTH – HYPERTRICHOSIS


The less common side effect of minoxidil is continuous itching or skin rash. Rare side effects include:

  • ACNE ON THE APPLICATION SITE
  • BURNING SENSATION ON SCALP
  • INCREASED HAIR LOSS
  • INFLAMMATION
  • REDNESS ON SKIN
  • SWELLING OF FACE


⚠️ These side effects also include allergic reactions. If you are facing any of them, contact your doctor immediately.

Are There Side Effects for Minoxidil Overdose?

If you use minoxidil more than you should, or if you overdose, you might observe these side effects:

  • BLURRED VISION OR OTHER VISION PROBLEMS
  • CHEST PAIN
  • DIZZINESS
  • FAINTING
  • IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT
  • FLUSHING
  • HEADACHE
  • LIGHTHEADEDNESS
  • NUMBNESS OR TINGLING SENSATION ON LIMBS OR FACE
  • SWELLING OF LIMBS OR FACE
  • RAPID WEIGHT GAIN

How to Use Minoxidil

Minoxidil should be used 2 times a day: once in the morning and once in the evening, a few hours before bed. 

It is important to let it completely dry before going to bed, as it can get transferred onto your pillow and might contact your face. That can result in hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) in the affected area.

How to Apply Minoxidil

Foam and solution applications are different. 

Application of solution Minoxidil:

  • Make sure your scalp and hair is completely dry.
  • Apply the recommended amount on the treated area using the applicator.
  • Wash your hands immediately after applying minoxidil.
  • Wait for minoxidil to dry on your scalp for 3-4 hours.
  • DO NOT USE HAIRDRYER. Let it air dry.
  • Do not go to bed before minoxidil completely dries.
  • To avoid the minoxidil solution getting anywhere else, avoid contact with the area where minoxidil is applied.

 

Application of foam Minoxidil:

  • Make sure your scalp and hair is dry.
  • Expose the area where the hair is thinning.
  • Put the foam on your fingers.
  • Apply the minoxidil foam on your scalp using your fingers, and then spread it while gently massaging the area.
  • Wash your hands after applying the foam. Avoid contacting anywhere else on your face or body before washing your hands.
  • Wait for minoxidil foam to dry for a couple of hours. Make sure your treated area does not contact anywhere.

How Long Does the Treatment Last?

The minoxidil hair regrowth treatment is life-long. Meaning that you will have to use it forever. But, there is a small catch. The medicine starts to become less effective as time goes on. 6 to 8 years after starting minoxidil treatment, the effectiveness will start to wear off.

When that happens, it is best to consult your doctor to either adjust your dosage or take a look at other options.

How Long Does It Take to See Results?

People who start to use minoxidil can expect to start seeing results in 4 to 6 months. However, seeing results is a very subjective matter. You might need to wait a little less or even see results before 4 months.

⚠️ If you have been using Minoxidil regularly for at least 6 months and did not see any results, consult your trichologist.

Who Can Use Minoxidil?

It is recommended to use this product between the ages of 18 and 40, and if the hair loss has just started. This way, the effectiveness of the medicine will be further ensured.

However, you shouldn’t be using minoxidil if you have any of the following conditions:

  • HEART PROBLEMS – HEART FAILURE, HEART ATTACK, ETC.
  • KIDNEY DISEASES
  • LIVER DISEASES
  • SCALP DISEASES – INFECTION, ECZEMA, ETC.

Minoxidil During Pregnancy

Minoxidil is not recommended to be used during pregnancy. However, if you are pregnant or planning to be, it would be best to consult your healthcare provider. This way, a personalized usage of the medicine can be planned.

There are no clinical tests done on this case, however, there are some concerns in animal tests. Although there is no human data on the matter, it would be best not to risk it. So, please consult a professional before considering minoxidil if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

For What Kind of Hair Loss Is Minoxidil Used?

Minoxidil has both FDA-approved use and off-label use. FDA-approved indications are:

  • ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA
  • FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS


Off-label uses include:

  • ALOPECIA AREATA
  • BEARD ENHANCEMENT
  • EYEBROW ENHANCEMENT
  • FRONTAL FIBROSING ALOPECIA
  • HAIR LOSS DUE TO CHEMOTHERAPY
  • LOOSE ANAGEN HAIR SYNDROME
  • TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM

Is Minoxidil Over the Counter?

Yes, minoxidil is an over-the-counter medicine. Meaning you do not need a prescription to purchase it. However, it would be mindful to consult a dermatologist or a trichologist about the matter first.

How Much Do Minoxidil Products Cost?

Minoxidil’s price depends mostly on the strength of the medicine, mostly. Also, it depends on the product itself; it can be either a 3-month or a 6-month box. The brand of the product can also determine the price.

View the table below for estimated minoxidil prices of various brands.

The Products

Approx. Price

Women’s Rogaine 2%

50$

Men’s Rogaine 5%

55$

Kirkland 6-months 5%

10$

Kirkland foam 5%

15$

Minoxil 2%

15$

Minoxil 5%

20$

Can Minoxidil be Combined with Other Medications?

Yes, minoxidil can be combined with other medications. It actually can be quite beneficial if it is combined with certain topical medications as they can enhance each other’s effectiveness. Here are some combinations that can help grow hair more effectively:

  • Topical minoxidil + topical finasteride
  • Topical minoxidil + Spironolactone
  • Topical minoxidil + Topical tretinoin
  • Topical minoxidil + Microneedling

Choosing the Right Minoxidil Product

Choosing the right minoxidil product depends on several factors. Such as:

  • CONCENTRATION – 2% OR 5%
  • FORMULATION – SOLUTION OR FOAM
  • PRICE
  • TREATMENT DURATION
  • SIDE EFFECTS OF CERTAIN INGREDIENTS
  • INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE – ALLERGIC REACTIONS
  • CONSISTENCY


The right minoxidil for you would be the one that meets your wants, needs, and expectations. It would be best to consult a professional before getting your hands on a minoxidil product.

How to Store Minoxidil

Minoxidil should be stored in a closed container at room temperature. It should be kept away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Do not store your minoxidil in the fridge.

Make sure to put the product where children cannot reach.

Minoxidil for Men and Women

Minoxidil comes in two strengths: 2% and 5%. Women are usually prescribed 2% minoxidil because of the possibility of hypertrichosis. Men can be prescribed either, depending on the level of hair loss.

Can women use men’s minoxidil? Yes, but not without consulting a doctor first. Men’s minoxidil is more concentrated. So there will be more hair growth. However, this can result in unwanted hair growth in unwanted areas. So, you need to be cautious.

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