Minoxidil: A Friend Against Pattern Hair Loss

Now, that we have finished blaming our genes for our pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, lets talk about Minoxidil usage, which is the only FDA approved medication for this genetic variety of hair loss. The most common brand known worldwide for minoxidil is Rogaine, but there are many many brands available throughout which are all equally good and effective.

Who should / Can use minoxidil

Minoxidil should always be used under the guidance of a doctor or a licensed pharmacist. It does not work on all the kinds of hair loss problems. It is usually prescribed for male and female pattern hair loss. Minoxidil works best for those under 40 years of age and those who have a very recent onset of thinning of hair.

Also those suffering from chemotherapy induced alopecia (hair fall which happens after cancer treatment) are largely benefited with minoxidil usage.

How does minoxidil work?

In the earlier days, minoxidil was only prescribed as tablet forms to treat high blood pressure. Amazingly, it was found that Minoxidil was causing an increase in the number of hair as its side effect. This side effect was later used for our benefit and a lotion form was invented to help those suffering from hair loss.

The exact mechanism of how minoxidil works to control hair fall is not yet known. It causes increase in the blood flow to the area due to its property of dilating (expanding) the blood vessels. It decreases the duration of ageing/falling phase of hair(telogen) and increases the duration of growth phase (anagen). It also strengthens the hair follicles and increases the size of the hair roots. It is postulated that Minoxidil has some role in decreasing the activity of AR gene which causes pattern baldness. The exact mechanism might not be known to us, but one thing is proven for sure…it does prevent hair fall


rules for using minoxidil

How to use Minoxidil for maximum gain

Minoxidil comes as 2%, 5%, 10% and very new 12% formulations. Usually treatment is started with 2% in females and 5% in males. The strength and concentration is slowly increased by the dermatologist depending on the results after usage. Females are seldom prescribed more than 5% but males can use up to 12% also.

There are few thumb rules for using minoxidil:

  • It should be used twice daily for maximum results
  • Use the recommended amount only. Usually 1 ml is what is recommended for everyone. Its not that using extra medication will give you extra hair or faster hair. If applied in a high quantity it can cause some side effects. So stick to max of 1 ml unless advised otherwise.
  • It should be applied on dry hair. If the hair is very wet and minoxidil is applied, the drug can trickle down with water and cause unwanted hair growth on the trickled area.
  • Wash your hands after using minoxidil to avoid accidental transfer of medication on other body parts.
  • It should ideally be left on the scalp for 3-4 hours for good absorption. So avoid washing hair for 3-4 hours after applying minoxidil.
  • Use it for at least 3-4 months continuously to see an obvious improvement. Labeling minoxidil as “not working” before 3 months of compliant usage is not correct as the effect is only seen slowly.


What to expect when using Minoxidil:
  • You might feel slight itchy or tingly when minoxidil is applied, but this should go away within minutes.
  • There might be slight increase in the hair fall during initial 4-6 weeks. This happens because minoxidil sheds out the old ageing hair from the follicle to make space for new hair.
  • The results would be visible only after 3-4 months of continuous twice daily use.
  • The effect of minoxidil stays for as long as you are using it. Once you stop its usage, the hair fall will start again. So for pattern hair loss, you need to continue using minoxidil till you have the patience and the will to use it. No harmful side effect has been reported by its continuous use, if not more than 1 ml is used twice daily.

minoxidil friend against baldness

Does Minoxidil have any side effect?
  • It might cause redness and itching on the scalp in a few.
  • If used in huge quantity it might very very rarely cause swelling of hands or feet, or a feeling of giddiness or heaviness. Its all due to its blood pressure lowering effect. Best idea is to use only in recommended dosages and to refer to a doc as soon as you experience any of the above mentioned issues.
When would Minoxidil not work? 
  • When the nature of hair loss is not known. It does not work on all types of hair fall, so consult a doc before you start using minoxidil.
  • It does not work on already bald patches.
  • It does not work for sudden onset hair fall.
  • It does not work on patchy hair fall (when u see small circular bald patches scattered on scalp)
  • It would not work individually if the reason for hair fall is anemia or thyroid hormonal imbalance.
  • It does not work for hair fall occurring due to weakening of hair after chemical/physical damage to hair. (like re-bonding, permanent coloring etc)
  • Hair fall after child birth….its temporary and reversible 🙂

For all those who are suffering from pattern hair loss, minoxidil has been proved to be a blessing in disguise. It can keep a check on the progression of baldness and prevent the thinning of hair. Use it for as many years as you have the willingness to…..it will be your best friend against hair fall.



For any general query on hair skin and nail, please feel free to write to me at drarpitaskindiary@gmail.com

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20 thoughts on “Minoxidil: A Friend Against Pattern Hair Loss

  1. Anshu

    Dear Doc,
    Can regular usage of minoxidil cause grey hair?

    • drarpitajain

      Not really Anshu. Minoxidil does not lead to graying of hair

      • Nivida

        Yes it does. It does. Personal experience

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    • drarpitajain

      Is it? Did you see this in Yahoo News? Frankly I have no idea how it came there and also actually have no idea how to get there. Sorry, could be of no help to you in this regard.

  5. Wish if i too was benefited 🙂

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  7. Hello Arpita I’m glad I found you in aha-now well i have some query related to hair fall I’m suffering from irregular hair falls moreover my hairs are getting weak an thin 🙁
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    • drarpitajain

      Hey Apoorv, Guess you are also suffering from male pattern baldness. I would advise you to see a doc first just to confirm the diagnosis and most probably the doc should put you on minoxidil as I have mentioned above. Also some Biotin tablets should help you in strengthening your hair.

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  9. Shashank

    Hello Dr Arpita,
    Thanks for sharing such a valuable information in so simple and concise way. I really appreciate your efforts. I am sharing this post with all my friends 😉
    Thanks again.

  10. karthikeyan

    Hello madam,

    Even am also facing the severe hair fall problem since last few months. Within 2 months i have my marriage. In this stage can i take this minoxidil medicine. If i using this my hairfall problem will increase? pls suggest

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  12. Rahul Gaikwad

    Hi Dr Arpita,
    I went to doctor for my hair fall problem.
    She gave me advice to use Mintop 10% and Keraboost tablets.
    It will work for me ?
    or any side effect?

  13. Alisha

    I am 17 (female) and facing hair loss. I lost more than half of my hair in few years. Bald spots are easily seen and now I can’t even hide it. My doctor asked me to use mintop 2% solution.should I start the treatment? I am scared that I’ll lose all my hair again even all that I already had if I stop using the solution. I don’t want to use the medicine my whole life. Are there any other treatment that might work which does not require me to use it lifelong?

    • drarpitajain

      not really…..all the treatment we have presently are life long ones.


    Hi, Doctor,

    I am 25 yrs of age and facing male pattern of hair loss. On browsing, I came across two treatments Minoxidil & Finasteride. Can u help me suggesting some names of medicine for the same.

    And are they easily available with chemists??

    • drarpitajain

      Hi Ashish,
      I would sincerely advise you to visit a dermatologist before starting any of these medicines. They will help you choose the medicine and the brands better than just discussing it over with the pharmacist.

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