For Thinning Hair: Minoxidil Foam

Minoxidil, the generic name for Rogaine, was the first topical hair regrowth treatment approved by the FDA for thinning hair. It is a vasodilator which means that minoxidil helps to increase blood flow under the scalp and in turn, stimulate new hair growth. There are many minoxidil products on the market today, including minoxidil topical solution and foam in different strengths for both men and women. Here is your guide on minoxidil foam, its use, and whether the product is right for you. 

What is minoxidil?

Minoxidil is the most popular hair loss treatment in the United States, and it's available over-the-counter. It comes in a topical foam or liquid that's applied to the scalp. It can slow the amount of hair loss, stimulate new hair growth, and increase the thickness of existing strands. minoxidil has been FDA-approved since 1988 for men and since 1992 for women for the treatment of hereditary hair loss, also known as pattern baldness or alopecia areata. A tablet version is also available for treatment, but requires a prescription. 

Minoxidil Offers

How does minoxidil work? What are its active ingredients? 

Minoxidil can help slow down hair loss production and regrow hair by increasing the blood flow to your scalp.

It is potassium nitrate and the active ingredient is called minoxidil sulfate. Minoxidil is a vasodilator, acting to widen the blood vessels and increase blood flow. When minoxidil reaches your scalp, it is thought to work by enlarging the hair follicles and elongating the growth phase to promote healthier, thicker and fuller hair. 

Who can use minoxidil?

Minoxidil is available over-the-counter and can be used by men or women over the age of 18 who are experiencing hair loss. Minoxidil may not work for everyone, so it’s worth a conversation with your doctor before using it to see if it might be right for you. 

Minoxidil can be effective for men with male pattern baldness and women experiencing thinning of their hair from various conditions, including a hereditary component, hormonal changes (e.g., pregnancy), thyroid disease, iron deficiency (anemia), and chemotherapy treatments once cancer treatment is over. However, minoxidil should not be used if you are on certain medications so it’s important to consult your doctor before using minoxidil to avoid drug interactions. If you have drug interactions, seek medical help.

How do you use minoxidil?

Minoxidil can be used one to two times per day, usually in the morning and evening. Daily use is often recommended. You should apply the topical solution or foam to dry hair and scalp. After four to six months of continuous application, you may notice that the balding area has grown new hair sprouts which are typically about eight millimeters long on average. Long-term use is key as stopping minoxidil will cause a return to hair loss. 

There are a few different ways to apply minoxidil, but the most common method is using it as a liquid or foam through an applicator bottle twice daily. It can also be applied directly with your hands into your scalp. 

Here's what we recommend: 

  • If you want a daily routine, minoxidil topical solution or foam is the way to go. Just apply it twice per day, once in the morning and again at night. 
  • For more dramatic regrowth results, use minoxidil topical solution or foam directly from an applicator bottle three times daily on your scalp, if tolerated. Once in the morning, then two more applications throughout the day when convenient for you. 

Check with your doctor if you have any questions about which application method is right for you. 

Different formulations of minoxidil

There are varying strengths of minoxidil on the market. Each strength comes in a different formulation in the topical solution or foam. 

Minoxidil topical solution: The product can be applied using an applicator bottle without touching the scalp. But you can also use your hands to rub in the product. Just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after use.

Minoxidil foam: The product comes with a hand pump so one squirt or half a capful of the product dispenses enough for your entire scalp. Gently massage into your scalp. 

Minoxidil foam: What you need to know

Many people prefer minoxidil foam over the topical solution because it doesn’t drip, it’s easy to apply, and not as oily-looking. For some people, the minoxidil solution may make your hair look and feel a little greasy. Instead, the foam absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue.

Minoxidil foam may also be preferred over the liquid solution as it won’t drip onto your face or ears where you don’t want it. If the solution drips on your face, you are at risk of hair growth in an unwanted area. 

If you have a larger area on your scalp that needs to be covered, using minoxidil foam may also be easier to apply than a liquid. You can use your hands to gently rub the foam into your scalp.

What are the side effects?

Like any medication minoxidil has side effects. The most common side effect is scalp irritation. 

Other common side effects include: 

  • Itchiness 
  • Redness 
  • Scalp dryness 
  • Burning
  • Temporary hair shedding 
  • Hair growth in untreated areas

Store all containers away from children and pets in adry place at room temperature. Even in trace amounts, minoxidil can be toxic to pets. 

If you experience chest pain, pain in your arm, or shortness of breath while using minoxidil it could indicate that you're having a heart attack. Call 911 immediately.  

Patients with heart disease should consult with their physician before using minoxidil as it can worsen existing heart disease.

Where can I get minoxidil foam?

Minoxidil is available over-the-counter without a prescription at pharmacies, retailers, and online retailers. 

You can purchase or check prices of minoxidil foam and other products conveniently through these websites: 

Hims – Hims is a direct-to-consumer health company that offers a number of different hair loss treatment products and includes discreet shipping and consultation with a medical professional. 

Hers – Hers is the sister brand of Hims and is geared toward female health. They have the same discreet shipping, product guarantees, and consultations as Hims.

Roman – Roman offers personalized and free online evaluations for a range of products treating hair loss to erectile dysfunction. Free delivery and ongoing care is their mission. 

RexMD – RexMD reimagines men’s health concerns from hair loss to erectile dysfunction.  

All of these sites provide a convenient way to purchase minoxidil with discreet packaging by mail. A brief survey and chat with a medical professional is typically offered to recommend products tailored to your needs. 

Sources: 

Minoxidil topical side effects 

Mayo Clinic - Minoxidil (Topical Route) 

Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review

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