Beard Growth with Minoxidil
Beards are all the rage these days. But, if you’ve ever tried to grow a beard and found it difficult or impossible, there may be an answer: minoxidil. Minoxidil is a medication originally designed as a blood pressure medicine that was later discovered to help stimulate hair regrowth. Find out more about minoxidil, how it works, whether it’s an effective treatment for growing a beard, side effects, and more.
What is minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a medication that has been proven to help hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles in your scalp. It’s most commonly available as a liquid topical solution or foam which you apply directly on top of any areas where you are experiencing baldness or hair loss. Minoxidil is also available in tablet form if the topical solution is not well tolerated.
How does minoxidil work?
The active ingredient in minoxidil is called minoxidil sulfate which works by dilating and widening the blood vessels in your scalp. As blood vessels enlarge, more oxygenated blood comes into contact with tissues and cells, resulting in improved cell production and new hair follicles. The result is a stimulation in growth of new hairs and an appearance of denser, thicker hair.
Does minoxidil work on beards?
Research is limited on whether minoxidil works effectively to enhance facial hair growth. One study showed promising results to be safe and effective for beard enhancement. Observationally, some men have reported a thicker-looking beard after using minoxidil. The reason is not fully understood, but could be due to the increased blood flow and oxygenation of tissues and cells leading to stronger skin elasticity.
If you are thinking of using minoxidil for beard growth, it's important to follow instructions to experience optimal results. Application of the topical solution for beards varies and may need to be adjusted. Typically, you apply minoxidil once a day after washing your face (since washing removes all natural oils from your skin) before putting anything else on your skin. Leave the solution on your face for at least four hours.
For some individuals, you may need to apply two times or more per day since minoxidil absorbs into your skin quickly and doesn't have any protective oils or lotions. In other instances, you may only need to apply minoxidil as little as twice per week for facial hair growth. Experiment with application doses until you find what works best – anything between a few hours to several times a week. Consult your doctor before applying to any part of your body other than the one prescribed.
Minoxidil solution should be applied to clean, dry skin on your face or neck just after washing or shaving (or both). Wash hands immediately after application.
Minoxidil is best used with other beard growth products such as facial hair waxes and conditioners for men who want to maintain a neat beard, or for those who want to grow a very long beard.
The solution may make your skin dryer at first, but usually goes away by following a regular skincare routine.
Do minoxidil side effects include facial hair growth?
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved hair-growth drug and serious side effects are rare, but may occur. Common side effects when applied to the scalp may include scalp irritation, dryness, or rash, particularly for men with sensitive skin. These side effects may be similar when the solution is applied to the face for beard growth. Consult a doctor before continuing usage if you experience adverse reactions like itching or burning.
Is there any risk involved in applying minoxidil topical solution daily for beard growth?
Unwanted facial hair growth in places you don’t want is the biggest risk involved in applying minoxidil solution. Be careful not to drip the solution or touch other areas of your face where you do not want hair to grow, such as the nose.
What are the side effects of minoxidil?
The most common side effects you may experience when using minoxidil is irritation and itching on the area where the solution has been applied. Other symptoms may include nausea and dizziness. Although uncommon, minoxidil can cause contact dermatitis. Minoxidil may also cause hair to grow where it was not previously present, which is known as hypertrichosis and can be embarrassing or uncomfortable for some men.
Many people do not experience any of these side effects at all or they are only mildly uncomfortable. It is also possible to reduce the likelihood of experiencing side effects by limiting use to once a day, applying it sparingly, waiting one hour before rinsing off with water after application on the beard area (so that the minoxidil absorbs into the skin), and washing hands thoroughly after application.
In very rare cases, some individuals may experience shortness of breath (bronchospasm) or swelling around the mouth which could be life threatening. Please seek emergency medical assistance should this happen.
If you have any questions about side effects, please consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
Who should take minoxidil for beard growth?
Minoxidil can be used by all healthy men for beard growth, after consulting with your doctor.
Transgender men can use minoxidil but should consult with their doctor first about usage and side effects.
There have been encouraging studies that show minoxidil does help with hair loss and hair regrowth. Although there have been fewer studies of the effects of minoxidil use for beard growth, encouraging anecdotal evidence does support the use of minoxidil for the face. Minoxidil is a safe medication to take if cleared by your doctor.