There are many beard growth treatments out there; however, only a few yield satisfactory results. In this article, we will be looking at one of the beard growth substances, minoxidil, which works.
Minoxidil is a medication used for the treatment of hair loss. It stimulates hair growth and thickness where applied. Thus, minoxidil is used for stimulation of beard growth in men.
One of the popular brand names in the market is Rogaine beard. Apart from minoxidil beard growth products, the company also produces minoxidil hair growth products.
Does Rogaine work for my beards?
Rogaine is best known for its treatment of hair loss in both men and women. It works by stimulating the hair follicles to grow fuller, thicker hair.
Rogaine can work on beards because of its stimulating effect on hair follicles. Hair follicles are responsible for all types of hair growth including beards.
When one has a thinning or patchy beard, it is because of many dormant hair follicles that end up leaving spaces in between active hair follicles.
By stimulating the dormant hair follicles, Rogaine eliminates patchy beards by increasing facial hair thickness.
How does minoxidil grow facial hair?
To understand how minoxidil works, we must first understand the hair growth process.
How hair grows
The hair grows from the root, or follicle, found below the skin. Blood vessels running below the skin give the hair the nourishment it requires to grow. Between the beginning of growth and falling out of hair, there are four stages involved. These stages are anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
- The anagen phase is the growing stage that determines the length of our hair. It usually lasts between 2-7 years (the time is shorter in beards, sometimes lasting only a few months).
- Stage 2 is the catagen or transition stage. In this phase, the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from projections known as dermal papilla which lead to the surface of the skin. The catagen phase lasts about 10 days.
- The telogen phase is also known as the resting stage. As its name suggests, "old" hair rests during this period while "new" hair appears. It usually lasts about three months. At any given time, 10-15% of hairs are in this stage.
- In the last stage, the exogen or new hair stage, the old hairs fall off while new hairs continue to grow. The normal range of hair shedding in this stage is between 50-150 hairs.
The stages above are responsible for the health of our hair. Hair growth problems and solutions result from interference in any of the processes mentioned above.
The two important stages for longer and thicker hair/beards are the anagen and telogen phases. Altering their time greatly impacts the health of your hair.
By shortening the anagen or telogen phases, your hair risks thinning out. However, by lengthening these phases, you can grow a fuller and thicker beard.
How minoxidil grows facial hair
From the explanation on how hair grows, the two stages, anagen, and telogen, stand out. Minoxidil targets the anagen stage to stimulate hair growth.
The anagen stage is important for nourishing the hair as it grows. Hair gets its nutrients from blood vessels found next to the hair follicles below the skin.
Scientists consider minoxidil a vasodilator - a drug that opens blood vessels. By opening the blood vessels next to the hair follicles(roots) below the skin, more blood reaches the hair follicles. Hair follicles then have access to more nutrients important for hair growth. The result is hair that grows longer and healthier.
Because more blood is flowing below the skin, many more hair follicles can be nourished at the same time. Therefore, we can have more hair growing per given area which makes beards appear fuller and thicker.
There is also a study that suggests minoxidil shortens the time from the telogen to the anagen phase. Between these stages, the old hair sheds while the new hair starts and continues growing. The results of the study show that using minoxidil will likely result in "weightier" hair, suggesting more hair is growing faster than it is being shed. The minoxidil beard before and after images also suggest the same thing.
Minoxidil beard side effects and safety
Before using minoxidil, make sure that you check with your physician if you are suffering from heart conditions or have any chemical allergies. It is also important to confirm your order ensuring that the minoxidil product ordered is clearly labeled "for men". Remember to follow the safety and care guidelines shown on the product.
A common side effect when using minoxidil is the change in color and/or texture of your beard.
Less common side effects include itchiness or development of a rash.
In rare occasions will one experience the following signs and symptoms,
- Swelling on the face
- Redness of the skin
- increased hair loss
- Acne on the area of application
- Soreness at the root of the hair
- Facial hair growth in the areas not applied
In very rare instances, one may experience the following due to too much absorption of the drug into the body,
- Changes in vision such as blurred vision
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swelling of face, hands, feet, and other body parts
- Rapid weight gain
- Tingling of hands or legs
- Fainting in some extreme cases
If you should experience any of these when using minoxidil products, immediately stop using the product.
Serious side effects
Minoxidil was initially formulated as an oral blood pressure regulator before its effects on hair growth were discovered. Its effects on blood vessels are the reason for most of the side effects listed above.
There are serious side effects associated with the use of minoxidil, however, these are rarely heard of.
The serious side effects include,
- Allergic reactions. It is possible to be allergic to minoxidil as a formulation or component used in its formulation. Depending on the seriousness of the allergy, you will experience either one or a mixture of the side effects listed above. To avoid allergic reactions, confirm the ingredients used in the product you buy.
- Poor eyesight. Changes in your blood pressure can affect your eyesight. If you experience any blurred vision while using minoxidil, stop at once and consult your doctor.
- Severe chest pain. For those with chronic heart diseases, minoxidil may cause severe chest pains and irregular heartbeats. Avoid the use of the drug before consulting your physician.
How To Use Minoxidil To Grow A Beard
With the right guidelines, you can grow a beard using minoxidil in 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Cleanse Your Face Using A pH Balanced Cleanser.
Using a pH-balanced cleanser is important to reduce or prevent irritation when applying minoxidil.
Most minoxidil products including Rogaine are composed of skin irritants such as propylene glycol and alcohol. The irritants are what cause some of the unwanted side effects of using the product.
By using a pH-balanced cleanser, the skin maintains optimum pH that reduces any possible irritation from the product.
Step 2: Apply The Recommended Amount
Apply the recommended amount (usually 1mL) of the product on the beard-growing area.
Rogaine liquid products usually come with a dropper with the recommended amount marked using a meniscus.
You can use the dropper to apply minoxidil or your fingers to make sure it touches every intended area.
There is also a foam option for minoxidil. This is best applied by hand.
To apply foam, dispense on the foam cap (about half a cap per dose). Scoop with your fingers and apply it directly to the beard area. Use appropriately to avoid wastage and to avoid side effects.
Step 3: Allow The Skin To Absorb The Minoxidil Applied.
It takes quite some time for the skin to absorb a good amount of the minoxidil. Some studies suggest that it may take over 4 hours for the skin to absorb adequate amounts of the minoxidil. One thing that came out clearly in the study is that the longer the skin absorbs, the better the hair growth results.
An ideal amount of time is anywhere between 1 to 5 hours. Your skin will have enough time to absorb at least half of the minoxidil applied in one hour.
A great hack to get the best out of the product is applying the minoxidil and leaving it overnight.
Step 4: Wash Your Face
You must wash your face not more than 4 hours after application to prevent your face from further drying out.
When applied overnight, wash your face immediately after waking up.
Step 5: Moisturize
You want to moisturize immediately after washing your face. As mentioned before, minoxidil has chemicals such as alcohol which is a skin irritant. alcohol can dry out the skin because of the irritation it causes.
You want to replenish your skin after the damage minoxidil may have done. Use a high-quality moisturizer with components such as hyaluronic acid which will rejuvenate the skin.
For the best beard growth results, apply minoxidil twice daily preferably in the morning, and before you go to sleep.
If minoxidil causes any irritation when applied twice daily, try applying it once every day. You will still get some satisfactory results from applying minoxidil once daily.
Remember to stop applying minoxidil when any irritation persists for more than 3 days.
If no meaningful change is seen after 4 weeks of use, consult your physician.
A hidden secret to double your minoxidil beard growth
The secret to better beard growth when using minoxidil is based on several studies.
Microneedling, which is done using a derma roller, creates small holes on the surface of the skin which helps in drug absorptions. It also causes an increase in blood flow to the area which also aids in the absorption of the drug.
A different study highlights the success of microneedling in stimulating hair growth.
By microneedling, before you apply minoxidil, you improve your chances of excellent beard growth in a shorter time.
When planning for microneedling, remember to get products with the right specifications for beard growth. You can read more about microneedling in this in-depth explanation of the procedure.
Other Beard Growth Enhancers
Aside from microneedling, you can also enhance your minoxidil beard growth results through the following,
- Adding L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT) to your minoxidil solution. Some studies suggest that LCLT promotes human hair growth. The substance is a dietary supplement that is easily available OTC. You can add LCLT to your minoxidil solution (about ¼ teaspoon for every 60 mL) to enhance your beard growth.
- Maintain a healthy diet for your hair. What you eat feeds your hair. Your beard must get all the nutrients it requires for proper growth. Our detailed explanation of the diet can be found here.
Is The Minoxidil Beard Growth Permanent?
The short answer is Yes and No.
Once you start using minoxidil for beard growth, you will have to continue using it to maintain your beard.
As previously explained, minoxidil works by stimulating the hair follicles. For your beard to maintain your desired appearance, you will have to apply minoxidil daily to keep your hair follicles stimulated.
Usually, changes in your beard occur after about 4 weeks of daily minoxidil application. Your beard continues to grow thicker and fuller with continued usage of minoxidil products.
When you stop applying minoxidil, the previously active hair follicles will get back to their initial dormant state. You will likely experience beard thinning after a few months of not applying minoxidil.
Based on people documenting their minoxidil journey, once your beard fully grows, it is possible to maintain it without the daily application of minoxidil. You still have to apply the product but at a lower frequency.
However, there are a lot of positive case studies show that people maintain their beards after discontinuing the use minoxidil. The results are often found once the hairs mature into terminal hairs.
Best Minoxidil For Beard Growth
Minoxidil for beard growth comes in two options: liquid minoxidil and foam minoxidil. Here is a comparison between the two,
- Absorption time. Both products are absorbed by the skin in about 4 hours. Depending on various factors highlighted in studies such as this, the absorption rate may vary. The research on absorption time is not conclusive leading to the consensus that it is similar.
- The liquid formulation of minoxidil contains alcohol and propylene glycol which can irritate the skin. People with sensitive skin opt to use minoxidil in its foam formulation to avoid the irritation caused by the chemicals in the liquid formulation. Because it lacks propylene glycol, foam minoxidil does not dry up the skin as much as liquid minoxidil does.
- With liquid minoxidil, you can add enhancers such as LCLT whereas the foam option makes it almost impossible to add any enhancers.
- Both products are between the $40-$60 price range depending on where you source them from.
If you have sensitive skin, you can start using minoxidil foam from the start. Liquid minoxidil will work best for those without any skin sensitivity issues.
N/B – minoxidil is also available as a tablet, however, only use topical minoxidil for hair growth.
When using LCLT as an additive, avoid those with silicon dioxide or magnesium stearate which may be problematic. Also, remember to only drop the contents of the LCLT capsule, and not the capsule itself, into the minoxidil solution.
The foam minoxidil needs to be kept in a cool place to prevent melting immediately after dispensing.
Before And After Effects of Minoxidil For Beard
Genuine customer reviews are often the measuring stick of a product’s worth.
Many who are using minoxidil attest to the tremendous change they have seen so far. The before and after effects of minoxidil they display shows the profound impact minoxidil has on the beard.
A minoxidil user, Sam, documented his minoxidil journey on YouTube. The changes seen on his beard after just 10 months of usage were enormous. Sam is not the only one documenting his journey, there are many others on platforms such as Facebook who keep us updated periodically on their minoxidil journey.
Here are some before and after images of a user on Pinterest.
Which Minoxidil Is Best For Beard Growth?
There are various brands in the market selling minoxidil products for beard growth. All these products have minoxidil as the active ingredient and carrier agents for the minoxidil.
Rogaine for beard growth is arguably the most widely known brand, depending on your location. Based on the reviews it gets, Rogaine for beard is probably the most reliable beard growth product in the market.
There are other generic options which vary depending on your location. For example, countries such as Bangladesh have Trugain while the US has Kirkland.
Because of its status in the beard growth industry, Rogaine is arguably the best bet for beard growth. It has an honest following and a long-term reputation to protect. Though costing slightly more than generic brands, Rogaine for beard will never disappoint.
You can buy Rogaine for a beard directly from their website. You can also get the product from Amazon along with other generic brands in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I shave while using minoxidil for beard growth?
Yes, you can. Shaving does not affect how the product works. Shaving makes it easier to apply minoxidil and prevents wastage of the product.
For those fearing the loss of the beard they may have gained, it will grow back. Shaving will not affect the progress made while using minoxidil. Your beard regrowth process after shaving will reveal the work minoxidil has been doing.
Should I use the 5% or 10% minoxidil?
Depending on how thick you want your beard, you can use either. However, using the 10% minoxidil solution increases the risk of side effects.
How often should I apply minoxidil daily?
Applying minoxidil twice, in the morning and evening, is ideal. However, applying it once a day, especially in the evening, will still yield satisfactory results.
How long does minoxidil need to be on the face?
Four hours is recommended after application. When possible, you can even leave it for longer.
Is direct sunlight proper after applying minoxidil?
It is not recommended to expose your beard area to sunlight after applying minoxidil. The skin may become more sensitive when exposed to direct sunlight after application.
Because of the benefits of applying minoxidil twice daily, it would be best to keep away from direct sunlight after the morning application.
Is my hair shedding because of minoxidil?
It is common for your beard to shed after a few weeks of minoxidil use. The easiest explanation is that ‘the new hair is pushing out the old’. You will experience shedding for a short while before the new hair is fully grown. Do not panic when you see your experience, just continue applying minoxidil.
How long will it take before I start seeing the effects of minoxidil?
In most cases, the first signs of change begin at around week 4 of minoxidil use. You will want to continue using minoxidil for over 6 months, depending on the change you want, before you consider reducing the dosage or stopping its use for a short while.
Should I take supplements while using minoxidil?
As earlier said, maintaining a healthy diet is all you need. The occasional multivitamin or mineral will not hurt.
In conclusion, minoxidil for beard growth works. By following the right processes, right from application to removal of the product, you can be another success story of minoxidil. Moreover, for people who like to get sooner, highly recommended using with derma roller.