Minoxidil (Topical): Uses, Benefits & More

In the 1970s, minoxidil was initially made available as an oral medicine for the management of severe and resistant hypertension. Soon after, minoxidil proved to be more than just that. Doctors accidentally uncovered minoxidil’s contribution to hair growth, especially in balding patients. As such, a topical minoxidil formulation was created to treat androgenetic alopecia, first in men and then in women1.

What is Minoxidil? 

MINOXIDIL is used to treat specific forms of hair loss. It works by encouraging the growth of scalp hair.

Interestingly enough, researchers are not clear on the exact mechanism through which minoxidil encourages hair growth. This hair growth can be brought on by the fact that minoxidil widens the blood capillaries in the scalp, increasing blood supply to the hair. Another theory, backed by evidence from 2017, contends that minoxidil lengthens the anagen phase of the hair follicle's growth cycle by increasing a certain enzyme called ATP. Additionally, it is believed to expand hair follicles that have contracted as a result of hormonal changes2.

Other conditions may potentially benefit from or be impacted by this drug's use. This is why speaking to your healthcare provider before taking minoxidil is essential. Let your healthcare provider know if you or struggling or experiencing any of the following conditions: 

  • frontal hairline thinning or receding

  • sudden or sporadic baldness

  • unidentified cause of hair loss

  • irritated, red, or sore scalp 

  • trying to conceive or are currently pregnant 

  • breastfeeding 

Also, make sure your provider knows if you have any relative or family member who has struggled with hair loss.

What are the Uses & Benefits of Minoxidil? 

No matter how minoxidil works, there is one thing for sure; people who suffer from thinning or hair loss may find minoxidil to be very helpful. Below are some of the benefits of minoxidil3

  • Minoxidil is a topical medication applied topically to the scalp to encourage the growth of new hair in those who are experiencing hair loss.

  • Minoxidil can thicken and increase the density of hair in addition to encouraging hair growth and reversing a receding hairline. To put it another way, the strands grow back more robustly.

  • Female pattern hair loss and androgenetic alopecia are both successfully treated with minoxidil thanks to their ability to increase hair density and regrowth.

Minoxidil, the only over-the-counter active ingredient clinically shown to help reduce and even cure genetic hair loss, is the main component of Regaine. REGAINE® provides you with greater results if you are still in the early or mild stage of hair loss by stabilizing hair loss and stimulating hair regeneration. It stimulates and prolongs hair development by boosting blood flow to the hair follicles, follicular size, and hair shaft diameter.

How is Minoxidil Administered? 

Depending on the product, there may be different instructions; most serums are used topically. Usually, you would need to take the following steps to administer minoxidil: 

  • On damp or dry hair, apply roughly 1 ml of the product to the scalp.

  • Wait at least four hours before washing out.

  • Repeat twice each day.

Because hair loss is complicated and has many potential causes, including stress, hormone changes, a recent illness, vegetarian or low-protein diets, and rapid weight loss. It is suggested that you speak with a specialist if you are suffering from severe hair loss. A board-certified dermatologist can determine what is causing your hair loss and use topical minoxidil along with nutritional suggestions and supplements to restore your hair's luster, growth, and fullness.

Is Minoxidil Safe for All Hair Types? 

Although those with color-treated hair may suffer higher sensitivity, minoxidil is generally safe for all hair types, including natural hair. When treating specific types of alopecia, such as those with scarring, minoxidil may be less effective. Results vary, though, because everyone is unique. Two to three months into treatment, the hair density will often start to stabilize with daily hair loss decreasing. As long as each person is able, this will continue throughout the course of treatment. You must keep up your treatment in order to maintain seeing the outcomes4.

What are Minoxidil’s Side Effects? 

Because minoxidil increases blood flow to the scalp, you can notice some redness or mild irritation while using it. However, if the inflammation doesn't go away, it's recommended to visit a dermatologist.

Be careful to use minoxidil at the proper concentration. It is advised that men utilize a 5 percent strength and women a 2 percent strength because there are varying strengths for them.

In conclusion, minoxidil can be one of the available treatments to manage your hair loss. Although the process is long, you are bound to yield some positive results if you are properly and consistently using topical minoxidil. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29254313/

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31496654/

  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34012282/