Many of us may experience beard growth problems at some point in our lives, whether our beard grows patchy with age, or if it’s just an inherited thickness we’re not happy with.
As a result of this, many people explore solutions for beard growth issues, from lotions and oils to transplants. There are a variety of beard growth products on the market today, and one such solution that people consider is minoxidil.
But what is minoxidil, and is it effective for beard growth? We answer these questions and more in our latest article. Let’s get started.
What is minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a medication used for the treatment of hair loss. Also sold under the brand name Regaine, minoxidil is available both as a prescription or over the counter to help combat hair loss and regrow hair.
Minoxidil was originally prescribed to treat high blood pressure, but these days, the medication is mainly used to treat hair loss in women and men.
While minoxidil is licensed to treat hair thinning and balding on the scalp, a growing off-label use for the product is to promote beard growth.
Minoxidil comes in three forms: a solution, a foam and an oral tablet.
How does minoxidil work?
Minoxidil is typically applied to the scalp to aid with hair loss. When using minoxidil for beard growth, it is applied to the lower face, chin and neck.
The exact way that minoxidil helps to stimulate hair growth is unknown. What we see when we apply Minoxidil to hair, is the e follicles grow bigger and stronger and feeding the growth of the hair during its growing phase (the anagen phase).
Is minoxidil good for beard growth?
While minoxidil can be effective for head hair, it should be noted that there is very little evidence to support the benefits of minoxidil for beard growth.
Only one study has been carried out on the use of minoxidil for beard growth. It noted a slightly higher success rate than a placebo for minoxidil lotion (around 3%). However, these results are negligible and do not prove the efficacy of minoxidil for beard growth.
While some people choose minoxidil to help with beard growth, its efficacy is not proven conclusively.
How to use minoxidil for beard growth
If you’re curious about using minoxidil for beard growth, it’s worth reiterating that there is very little supporting evidence that minoxidil actually helps and stimulates beard growth.
However, if you choose to use minoxidil on your beard, research suggests that you should apply a small amount twice a day to your beard. Repeat this for at least 16 weeks, or until you see visible results.
Should you choose to use minoxidil in this way, you might want to take before and after photos so that you can see whether there has been any noticeable change to your beard.
How long do beard minoxidil results last?
For use on the scalp, minoxidil typically starts working within 4–8 weeks. However, it may take time to see the full results of minoxidil for hair growth; it can take up to 4–6 months of regular use to see noticeable results. You may experience some light hair shedding during this time, although these will be replaced with stronger hairs.
For those looking to use minoxidil for beard growth, if it is effective, you may expect to see results within 4–6 months of continuous use(based on its results for head hair). Again, it is possible that you may see some light shedding from your beard at first before beard hair grows back thicker and stronger.
In terms of the long-term effectiveness of minoxidil, results typically last as long as you use it. However, one study on the use of topical minoxidil solution for androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) found that results appeared to peak at around 12 months.
Is minoxidil safe for beard growth?
While minoxidil is only approved for hair growth, it is also considered safe for beard growth too (though its effectiveness has yet to be confirmed).
However, as with any medication, there are some possible side effects that you may notice when taking minoxidil for beard growth. These side effects can include:
- Dry skin
- A scaly texture on the skin
- Weight gain
- Redness or irritation in the area where the lotion was applied
- Some changes in the colour or texture of hair
Most of these side effects should disappear as your body becomes used to the minoxidil. However, if they continue to persist, consult your GP.
Alternatives to minoxidil for beard growth
As minoxidil isn’t proven to help with beard growth, it is best to look at alternatives to this medication. There are a few options that you can consider:
- Neoxyl is a popular alternative medication that also targets hair growth. While it is similar to minoxidil, it has some key differences — specifically, it is a water-based solution that doesn’t contain solvents such as propylene glycol (PPG).
- Another natural alternative to minoxidil for beard growth is peppermint oil. There is some evidence to suggest that peppermint oil, when applied to the beard, can help promote hair growth in this area.
- Some people use acupuncture to promote beard growth, as this is thought to stimulate blood flow around the hair follicles. However, evidence for this is limited
- Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet or reducing stress may also help to keep your beard healthy. For more on this, visit our blog post on how to fix a patchy beard.
But for a more surgically backed solution for beard growth instead of minoxidil, it’s worth considering a beard transplant.
A beard transplant is a safe surgical procedure that, unlike topical treatments, offers permanent results and greater choice and flexibility for your beard. You can choose the style of beard you want, as well as where you want it to grow from, and it typically only requires a single operation.
If you think a beard transplant is the right choice for you, book your consultation today. Our lead surgeons will be more than happy to give you more information on the personalised beard transplant service we offer at The Treatment Rooms London.
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