Minoxidil for Hair: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses and Much More

Navigating the world of hair care treatments can often feel overwhelming, especially with various options available. Among these, one stands out for its effectiveness and popularity: Minoxidil.

This topical solution, widely used to tackle hair loss, has garnered attention for its ability to stimulate hair growth and its relatively straightforward application process.

Yet, like any medication, it comes with its own set of considerations, including potential side effects and specific usage guidelines. Delving into the intricacies of Minoxidil, we uncover not only its benefits but also the precautions necessary to use it safely and effectively.

Whether you’re just beginning your journey towards hair regrowth or seeking to enhance your existing regimen, understanding Minoxidil’s role in hair care is a step towards making informed decisions for your hair health. Continue reading to explore the comprehensive aspects of this widely used hair loss treatment.

What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil, originally developed in the 1960s for high blood pressure, is now widely recognized for its role in hair care. This medication underwent a transformation in its purpose after researchers observed hair growth in patients during trials. [1]

It has since gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating hair loss, initially in men and later in women. Available in various forms like gels, foams, or serums, minoxidil caters to different preferences.

The journey of minoxidil from a blood pressure medication to a hair growth stimulant is a fascinating example of medical repurposing. In 1987, a significant development occurred with the creation of a topical solution, suitable for both men and women experiencing hair loss.

This formulation comes in two strengths, 2% and 5%, and is marketed under names like Rogaine and Theroxidil. Its widespread use underscores its effectiveness and versatility in hair loss treatment.

Minoxidil’s effectiveness in promoting hair growth has been the subject of numerous studies. These investigations have revealed that it can be up to 60% effective in preventing hair loss and encouraging new growth.

Its success is further cemented by being one of the only two drugs, alongside finasteride, that the FDA approves for hair loss treatment in males. This underscores the drug’s significance in the field of hair care and its value to those seeking solutions for hair loss.


How It Works?

Minoxidil, a vasodilator medication, effectively combats hair loss by enhancing blood flow to the hair follicles. This process rejuvenates the follicles, reversing their miniaturization, and extends their growth phase. The increased blood supply to the scalp not only halts hair loss but also promotes the regrowth of healthier hair. [2]

Understanding hair loss is key to appreciating minoxidil’s role. Hair loss, often following a gradual pattern, leads to follicle inactivity and eventual balding. Minoxidil addresses this by boosting blood and nutrient flow, strengthening existing hair, and encouraging new growth.

In short, minoxidil supports hair regrowth by reversing follicle shrinkage, stimulating blood circulation around follicles, and prolonging their growth phase. This makes it a valuable tool in managing hair loss and enhancing hair health.

Also Read: How Many Hair Transplants Can a Person Have?



Minoxidil is renowned for its significant impact in the realm of hair care, providing a solution for various hair concerns. Its multifaceted benefits extend beyond basic hair regrowth, encompassing improvements in hair density, suitability for diverse hair types, and more. [3]

Hair Growth EnhancementStudies show that 60-70% of patients experience visible hair regrowth after 4 months of proper minoxidil application.
Increased Hair DensityMinoxidil not only promotes hair growth but also improves the thickness and fullness of hair.
Suitable for Various Hair TypesGenerally safe for all natural hair types, though some with dyed hair may experience mild irritation.
Slows Hair LossEffectively decelerates the process of hair thinning and loss.
Reactivates Hair FolliclesEncourages dormant hair follicles to begin producing hair again.
Prolongs Anagen PhaseLengthens the growth phase of the hair cycle, allowing hair to grow longer and stronger.
Enhances Blood CirculationImproves circulation in small blood vessels around the scalp, nourishing hair follicles.
Thicker Hair ProductionRegular use leads to the growth of thicker, healthier hair strands.


Side Effects

While minoxidil is effective in treating hair loss, it’s important to be aware of its potential side effects. These can range from common and mild to rare and more serious. Understanding these effects is crucial for anyone considering minoxidil as a treatment option. [4]

CommonScalp Burning or TinglingSensations of discomfort on the scalp
 Scalp IrritationInflammation or sensitivity of the scalp
 Dryness and ItchingLack of moisture and itchiness on the scalp
Less CommonIncreased Hair LossTemporary shedding of hair in initial phases
 Inflamed Hair RootsSoreness or infection at the hair follicle
 Facial SwellingPuffiness or swelling of the face
 Acne OutbreakEmergence of acne on the scalp or face
Serious (Medical Attention Needed)Unwanted Facial/Body HairGrowth of hair in undesired areas
 Irregular HeartbeatAbnormalities in heart rhythm
 Swelling in Hands or FeetUnusual puffiness in extremities
 Chest PainDiscomfort or pain in the chest area
 DizzinessFeeling of lightheadedness or vertigo
 Unexpected Weight GainSudden increase in body weight
 Severe Allergic ReactionsIntense allergic responses
 NumbnessLoss of sensation in certain body parts

*It’s essential to monitor for these side effects and consult a healthcare professional if any severe or persistent symptoms occur. Minoxidil, like all medications, requires careful consideration of its benefits against potential risks.

Also Read: When Can I Wash My Hair Normally After Hair Transplant?


How To Use Minoxidil?

Using Minoxidil effectively requires following specific guidelines to ensure the best results and safety. While the best dosage can be advised by a doctor, here’s a general guide on how to use Minoxidil, both as a topical solution and foam: [5]

Topical Solution for AdultsApply 1 milliliter (mL) to the scalp twice daily.
Topical Foam for AdultsApply half a capful to the scalp twice daily.
ChildrenUsage and dosage should be determined by a doctor.


Topical Solution Application:

  1.     Ensure Dry Scalp: Before application, make sure your hair and scalp are completely dry.
  2.     Apply Correct Amount: Start applying the solution from the center of the affected area. Follow your doctor’s instructions and use the provided applicator.
  3.     Wait Before Washing: Do not shampoo your hair for 4 hours after applying Minoxidil.
  4.     Wash Hands Post-Application: Clean your hands immediately after use to remove any residue.
  5.     Avoid Hair Dryer: Don’t use a hair dryer on your scalp after application as it can decrease the effectiveness.
  6.     Allow Time to Dry: Wait 2 to 4 hours, including before going to bed, for the solution to dry completely to avoid staining clothes, hats, or bed linens.
  7.     Prevent Spreading: Avoid transferring the medication to other parts of the body, especially when wet. This can happen through pillows or bed sheets if not dried properly or if hands are not washed after application.

Topical Foam Application:

  1.     Open Container: Align the ring on the can with the cap’s arrow and pull off the cap.
  2.     Expose Affected Area: Part your hair in one or more rows to reveal the thinning area on the scalp.
  3.     Apply Foam: Hold the can upside down and press the nozzle to put foam on your fingers.
  4.     Spread and Massage: Use your fingers to spread the foam on the affected area and gently massage into the scalp.
  5.     Wash Hands Post-Application: Immediately wash your hands after use to clean off any remaining medication.
  6.     Consult Before Applying on Irritated Skin: If your scalp is sunburned, inflamed, or irritated, consult your doctor before applying Minoxidil.


General Precautions:

Minoxidil is intended for use only on the scalp. Avoid contact with eyes, nose, and mouth. If accidental contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with cold tap water.

When using a spray, be careful not to inhale it.

Do not use foam near heat, open flame, or while smoking.

Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol can.


Identifying Right Candidates

Understanding who should and shouldn’t use Minoxidil is essential for effective and safe hair loss treatment. This medication, while beneficial for many, isn’t suitable for all. [6]

Adults Over 18 with Hair Loss: Particularly beneficial for those experiencing pattern baldness.Under 18 Years Old: Not recommended due to lack of research and potential side effects in this age group.
Individuals with Alopecia-Related Hair Loss: Effective in treating hair thinning due to alopecia.Pregnant or Nursing Women: Can pose risks to the fetus or infant.
People with a Family History of Baldness: Useful for those with genetic predisposition to hair loss.Scalp Issues (Redness, Itching, Lesions): Can worsen existing scalp conditions.
Men and Women with Thinning Hair: Especially effective in early stages of hair thinning.Hair Loss Due to Other Medical Conditions: May not be effective if hair loss is caused by other medical issues.
Those Seeking to Prevent Further Hair Loss: Can slow down the progression of hair thinning.After Using Certain Hair Care Products: If hair loss occurs post-product use, the cause might be chemical, not alopecia.

Topical Minoxidil is specifically approved for adults between 18 to 65 years old who are experiencing hair thinning and loss, particularly due to androgenetic alopecia. It’s most effective for individuals noticing early signs of hair thinning and those who want to prevent further hair loss.

However, it’s less effective in cases of complete baldness or receding hairlines. Oral Minoxidil has more stringent usage guidelines and is not suitable for everyone.


How Long Does Minoxidil Take To Work?

Minoxidil’s effectiveness in treating hair loss becomes noticeable with consistent application over a period. Typically, users may start to see initial results after 2 to 4 months of regular use. However, it’s important to understand that the full impact and optimal results often become evident between 4 to 6 months. [7]

During the initial phase of treatment, especially within the first few weeks, an increase in hair shedding can occur. This is a normal response as Minoxidil stimulates the hair follicles, causing old hairs to fall out and making way for new growth. This shedding phase is temporary and usually resolves as the treatment progresses.

It’s also crucial to maintain the treatment regimen without interruption. If Minoxidil application is discontinued, any progress in hair regrowth may be lost, and the previous pattern of hair loss could resume. Continuous and consistent application is key to sustaining the benefits of the treatment.

Also Read: Traction Alopecia: When Is It too Late? The Most Important Signs!



While Minoxidil has been noted for its temporary benefits in managing hair loss, its dependency on continual use makes it less than ideal for those seeking a lasting solution. Crucially, it’s essential to acknowledge that treatments such as Minoxidil are not without their serious drawbacks, as they can introduce a spectrum of adverse effects that must be weighed against their temporary benefits. Recognizing the transient nature of such treatments, Hair of Istanbul firmly places its focus on providing a more substantial and enduring answer to hair loss through hair transplantation.

At our clinic, we elevate the standards of hair restoration by offering sophisticated hair transplant services that promise not just immediate improvement but a lifelong enhancement of hair quality and density. Our commitment is to deliver a transformation that Minoxidil or similar treatments simply cannot match.

Choosing Hair of Istanbul is not just selecting a procedure; it’s embracing a journey towards permanent hair recovery with a team renowned for their skill, precision, and dedication to delivering results that truly last. Here, we don’t settle for temporary fixes. We strive for permanent, life-changing solutions that redefine your hair’s potential and restore your confidence to its fullest.



  • [1] Suzy Davenport, Sep 28, 2021 – What to know about minoxidil – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/minoxidil
  • [2/3] Sofia Bhattacharya, Nov 19, 2021 – Minoxidil For Hair: Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects – https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/minoxidil-for-hair-growth-benefits-side-effects
  • [4/5] Mayo Clinic, Unknown Date – Minoxidil (Topical Route) – https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/minoxidil-topical-route/side-effects/drg-20068750
  • [6] Tori Crowther, Oct 13, 2022 – Minoxidil: Dermatologists on What to Realistically Expect From the Hair Loss Treatment – https://www.allure.com/story/minoxidil-hair-loss-treatment
  • [7] Gina Allegretti, MD, May 4, 2022 – How long does minoxidil take to work? – https://ro.co/hair-loss/how-long-does-minoxidil-take-to-work/

Dr. Mahmut Satekin

Hair of Istanbul

Dr. Satekin is an experienced physician in emergency Medicine. He will be taken care of your pre and post operative treatments.

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