Minoxidil Beard FAQ
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What Is Minoxidil
Patients taking the drug orally discovered that — as a side effect — it promoted hair growth on the body. Research has demonstrated, that if applied topically to the scalp as a creme or liquid, it would still grow hair for the majority of people using it. In the United States, over-the-counter versions contain 2% or 5% minoxidil at most, due to FDA regulations.
For more information on minoxidil, read this article on Beard Profile.
What Age Can I Start Using Minoxidil?
There's no set age, but we advise no one younger than 18 to use it. If you're young, see what you can grow before using minox. You may know somebody who is 16 years old with a full beard; this is an exception — there are not many 16 year olds that can grow full beards. Boys finish puberty at approximately 16-20 years old, with many going as far as 22 years old. Even then, many men cannot grow facial hair at these young ages and realize that their beard genetics kick in around their mid-twenties. Facial hair continues to develop throughout our lives, well into our 30s.
Is Minoxidil Intended for Use on the Face?
No. The FDA in the United States of America has approved minoxidil only for use on the scalp. Because of this, the product directions instruct users to apply it only there. More specifically, it is meant only for the vertex of the scalp. Technically, companies selling minoxidil (such as Rogaine) are legally not allowed to advertise the product for any area of the body other than the vertex. This is simply due to the fact that it's the only area that has been tested. This does not indicate that it does not work elsewhere! We call this false equivalency.
How Does Minoxidil Promote Body Hair When You Apply it to Your Face?
It can (and likely will) promote hair growth on the whole body. Various people have reported new vellus hair growth on places such as the:
Upper cheek bones
Hands, legs, feet
These new hairs are vellus and have a high probability of falling out once you cease minoxidil applications. In fact, many minoxidil beard users experience cessation of this extra hair even while continuing to apply the solution, several months in.
Does Minoxidil Have Any Side Effects?
Of course. It is a drug, after all. Although, most of the common side effects are fairly minor.
The first few applications might make your skin feel itchy or irritated, and possibly a little red. This is common and usually disappears after a few days or couple of weeks as your body adjusts to the minoxidil.
The listed side effects of topical minoxidil can be found here. Take note of oral side effects as well, and disregard those. You will not and do not want to take minoxidil orally during this process.
Does minoxidil affect libido/sex drive? No.
For more in-depth reading on side effects and what to do if you encounter them: Side Effects of Minoxidil Usage for Beards
How Often Should I Apply Minoxidil?
Twice a day is recommended; once in the morning and once in the evening, roughly twelve hours apart.
Since the human body can only metabolize a certain amount of minoxidil within a 24-hour period, more frequent applications than two per day is unnecessary. Although twice per day is recommended, it is not obligatory.
Some people report increased sensitivity to minoxidil and can only take one application a day. Others can only take one application per day due to their work schedules. While results can be expected sooner when applying twice daily, many people have reported steady results with only one daily application. Many have completed their minoxidil journey with a single application per day.
Summary: Twice per day, keeping applications 8-12 hours apart. More than that will not make it work any better, and may cause side effects.
How Much Should I Use? / How Should I Use it?
1ml per application is recommended.
Liquid: there is a fill line on the dropper that comes with your supply. If you have a spray bottle, it may be 6 sprays. Read your packaging for directions.
Foam: for most brands of foam, it is half a cap. Foligain and Qgain are exceptions, which is a single pump.
If you are growing out a beard, more may be needed as it clings to the hair. This means you will potentially use up your supply faster. Wash or rinse your face prior to applying to ensure it and the and pores are clean, and apply the minoxidil either with your finger or dropper.
Summary: 1ml per application, although some men opt to use less. This may be a good idea when first starting out, so that your body gets used to the minoxidil.
How Do I Apply Liquid Minoxidil?
How Do I Apply Foam Minoxidil?
The most common method to apply foam minoxidil is to dispense it into the cap first, then, using your fingers, scoop the minoxidil out and apply it directly to your face until the desired area is covered. Fill the cap up halfway for a single dose. There is usually no reason to use more than half of a cap full and using more may lead to more severe side effects and would more than likely be a waste.
How Long Should I Leave Minoxidil On?
Whether foam or liquid, it should stay on for at least 4 hours. Tests have shown 50% is absorbed in the first hour, and 75% by hour four.
Bear in mind that this study was conducted on the scalp. However, the scalp has less barrier function and theoretically this could mean the face can take longer to fully absorb.
How Long Should the Minoxidil Journey Be?
We use the minoxidil treatment until the new hair that we have gained have matured into terminal hair. If you cease the minoxidil treatment before the vellus hair have been replaced with coarse, mature hair, then that hair may fall out as if you never had them.
Terminal hair, on the other hand, are permanent. Even without the continued use of minoxidil, your new beard will continue to grow like any other beard. You should plan on using minoxidil for anywhere from six months to two years, minimum.
Three months is not enough for the vast majority of guys. If this is the case for someone, they are an exception and quite lucky.
Some people find that they need more time than one year for the vellus hair to be replaced with terminal. Every person is different, and there is no way for us to guess how long your body will need for all your new facial hair to mature. People using for less than 6 months often report losing their gains.
Summary: As long as it takes for the hair to mature. This is generally between one and two years, with six months being a fantastic, lucky individual. Assume you are not fantastically lucky, and have patience.
How Long Until I See Results?
According to Rogaine, a clinical trial has shown some people may see results as early as 8 weeks (based on the scalp, of course). They go on to point out that it can take up to 16 weeks to see results. Just bear in mind, results will vary from person to person, so you should be patient.
As a rough interpretation, if you see anything before 8 weeks, you are on the upper end of the responsive scale. Anything longer than 16 weeks with zero gains may indicate you are what many call a “slow gainer,” but people can still see improvement past this point.
For perspective: 16 weeks = 3 months, 3 weeks.
As previously expressed, there is no real catch-all time frame for seeing vellus, or for hair maturation. Furthermore, this is based on the scalp and there are other factors that may play a part, but this is the best we can do to benchmark gains.
The majority of us using minoxidil for our beards report seeing the biggest improvements happening between months 2-3 and beyond. Patience is the key. Continued treatment brings continued new growth. You will not see all of your potential the moment you start seeing vellus sprout; more will come even months later.
Some report that growth seems to stall for a couple weeks to a month, and then proceed to burst out with new growth. It takes at least 90 - 112 days to get an idea of whether the product will work at all for an individual.
Summary: Give it a good 2-3 months before getting worried you're not seeing anything.
My Face is Itching / Drying Out, What Can I Do?
Minoxidil is mixed with an alcohol carrier and propylene gylcol, which are what is drying your face out. First, try to make it to four hours of having the application on, then wash or rinse your face. Afterward, feel free to apply a moisturizer. The reason you want to apply your moisturizer after washing or rinsing your face is because you want it clean and flake-free. Water will help with the absorption of the oils contained in your moisturizing products. If you cannot get past dryness, you may want to opt for foam. Very few individuals get dry face from foam minoxidil, and most do not need to moisturize whatsoever after the four hours have elapsed. Summary: Rinse your face well after the application time has elapsed, then apply your moisturizer. Switch to foam if it gets to be too bad with liquid.
Can I Go Out in the Sun With Minoxidil Applied?
Generally speaking, it is not recommended. While rare and not necessarily documented, there may be rare cases of photosensitivity of the skin due to the minox.
If you have to go out into the sun, it is highly recommended to block the direct sunlight from hitting your face.
If you absolutely must, apply sunblock carefully to your face after the minoxidil has had some time to dry. It's not recommended, but it's better to be safe. If you work outside in the direct sunlight all day, consider only applying once per day, in the evening. Feel free to leave it on all night and moisturize in the morning.
I See Thin White Hairs — What Are Those?
It is vellus hair. Vellus hair is short, fine and soft hair that grows over most parts of the body, usually less than 2mm in length. Fully developed (terminal) hair is generally longer, coarser, thicker, and darker. For more information about hair development, see hair follicle.
When Does Vellus Hair Become Dark, Terminal Hair?
Vellus do not become terminal; they must shed and be replaced with a terminal hair and pigmentation is only one criteria. Associating arbitrary timescales to the journey is pointless — it takes as long as it takes. Having a healthy, active lifestyle to ensure good hormone levels is recommended.
My Hair is Shedding! What Do I Do?
This is normal. The new hair is pushing out the old. Even if it occurs on your head, it will pass. This is part of the process and must happen. For more information, see shedding.
Which Brand of Minoxidil is Best?
There is no “best” brand. Most brands are exactly the same product, just packaged and sold by different companies. They almost all contain the exact same ingredients. As long as it contains 5% Minoxidil and does not contain any DHT inhibitors it's fine. More than 5% may be a health issue, and less seems to yield less results. There is some efficacy to 10% being useful for those that are not responding well to minoxidil, but it needs to be a mixture without DHT blockers.
Should I Use 5% Minoxidil or a Higher One Like 10%?
5% is cheaper and possibly even better than higher percentages. If you have been seeing progress with 5%, stick with it and don't chase more. A study has shown that 5% was more effective. So, along with effectiveness, price, and potentially less side effects, it is recommended that you use 5%.
For more information about this, read this article on Beard Profile: Should You Use 5% or 10% Minoxidil When Improving Your Beard?
As stated in the section above, and the article, some people may have better progress with 10% if they are resistant to minoxidil. Being resistant means that you see very little or no progress at all after several months of use. If you are seeing progress, however, you are not resistant and 10% would likely not help any more than 5%.
Liquid or Foam Minoxidil — Which is Better?
Liquid is cheaper and takes about 1 hour to dry once applied. The foam tends to be twice the price (depending on location), but dries in about 15 minutes or less. Either is fine for getting beard gains. Foam will have your skin considerably less dry and itchy, however.
If you ask users, they tend to contradict each other. Liquid is known to be absorbed easier due to its propylene glycol content, but foam has been shown to work just as well with many people. Your mileage may vary.
How Should I Stop Taking Minoxidil?
It is recommended that after the hair is terminal, which can take anywhere from six months to two years, you begin to taper off. It's not necessary, and plenty of people just stop suddenly with no loss of gains, but it doesn't hurt. In a way, people tend to start tapering off without realizing it, as we get less motivated the closer we are to our end point.
There's no standard way of tapering, simply do as you wish and start applying less weekly once you know you're ready to end the journey.
Is a Minoxidil Beard Permanent?
From what we've seen, most people do keep their growth. What people seem to lose is vellus hair that did not transition into terminal while on minoxidil. Keep using minoxidil until the hair is terminal, and your gains will stay. Don't quit too early, or you may find yourself starting the journey back up in a few months.
Should I Shave or Trim?
Shaving with a smooth face or trimming to a short length makes treatment easiest and least wasteful of the minoxidil. There is no correlation with shaving and growth results.
Remember that balding men are able to keep progress going on their scalps even with all of the hair there. These people also have genetics working against them, as balding is an ongoing, lifelong process.
Shaving can help exfoliate the skin by a process known as derma-planing. It's simply straight-edged blade to remove excess dead skin cells. While it can help with exfoliation, shaving can also irritate the skin and can lead to ingrown hairs which can (in rare cases if left untreated) lead to infection.
There are other methods of exfoliation that can be more effective and are less risky. Using a boar bristle brush, or even a toothbrush or damp cotton rag, can be an effective method of exfoliation that doesn't run the risk of ingrown hair, and doesn't require you to shave off your beard.
Trimming will give you the psychological aspect of still being able to grow your beard without impeding application or absorption to any meaningful degree. Since vellus hair grow slower than terminal, shaving may make you feel that you have regressed (you haven't; it simply takes longer for vellus hair to grow back).
What Supplements Should I Take?
Many of us recommend keeping it “basik.” Don't worry about the supplementation aspect of things. Rather, focus on minoxidil. If you wish to supplement, it's totally fine. But don't assume supplementation will drastically up your gains.
You should certainly try to get good nutrients from your diet, but if you believe you may have gaps in nutrition, take a multivitamin.
While many people may recommend vitamins like biotin or diatomaceous earth, they will do nothing to improve your facial hair situation. On the other hand, if you're deficient in vitamins, those may very well be of great help to you.
Sleep and low stress are big contributors to happy, healthy hair.
A common side effect of minoxidil, especially the liquid minoxidil, is dry, flaky skin. If this happens to you, be sure to moisturize after you've rinsed or washed the minoxidil out.
Once you wash off the minoxidil (foam or liquid) after at least 4 hours from applying it, many members apply a moisturizer to their skin to help create optimal conditions for new hair growth.
How Often Should You Apply Moisturizers?
As often as you need to. They do not help with growth simply by applying them, so don't expect lotions to do that. But having a healthy face is always good, and if your face is dry and flaky, make sure you remedy it.
When choosing a multi-ingredient moisturizer such as beard oil, beard balm, or other moisturizer, you'll find that many products on the market from beard companies contain DHT blockers. DHT is the androgen hormone that is responsible for both the growth and development of facial hair. While these products containing anti-androgens will likely not effect vellus hair count, and may not completely stop your facial hair from developing, it is possible that they could slow your progress.
Men in beard-related Facebook groups have commonly mentioned that their beards did not progress while they were using finasteride for hair loss. When stopping finasteride, the progress of their facial hair began.
I Heard DHT Causes Baldness
While it is true that DHT is one of the leading causes of hair loss. This is only true for men who are predisposed to male pattern baldness. Men suffering from MPB are sensitive to even normal levels of DHT5). This is why most hair restoration products contain DHT blockers.
Increasing your DHT levels will not cause you to go bald unless you are already predisposed to losing your hair from MPB. In which case, you're going to lose your hair eventually either way. Whether or not increasing your DHT levels will accelerate hair loss remains to be seen and cannot be answered at this time.
CAUTION: If you decide to use a derma roller, please be advised that it can increase the side effects of minoxidil if used incorrectly.
What is a dermaroller and what does it do?
A dermaroller is a product that re-molds the skin by creating thousands of microscopic channels through the skin, increasing the formation of new tissue by activating the body's wound-healing mechanism.
How can it help with your beard?
Dermarolling jump starts the processes of collagen synthesis, something minoxidil inhibits (in vitro). Collagen is extremely vital to skin strength, thickness, and elasticity. Dermarolling also stimulates your follicles, bringing more nutrients and blood to the area than minoxidil alone. Here is some more information on derma rolling: Derma Rolling Your Face to Stimulate Beard Growth Here is a statistically significant clinical study showing that dermarolling + minox outperformed minoxidil by itself.
Do I have to shave or trim before using the dermaroller?
Shaving or trimming low is recommended because the needles need to be able to puncture the skin for dermarolling to work. If you have long growth and roll over it, you will only be damaging and pulling hair. Trimming is safer and carries less risk of causing irritation to the skin and hair follicles as opposed to shaving.
What to Do Before/After Using the dermaroller?
Before: Before using a dermaroller, you clean your face with soap and water — preferably something with antibacterial qualities. A clean face is important, as you'll be rolling needles through your skin, puncturing it, which allows foreign objects like bacteria to more easily enter.
After: Using an antimicrobial ointment or isn't necessary, but recommended. As said above, keeping bacteria and microorganisms from entering your skin is important. A face product with antimicrobial properties will help to combat that and keep your skin free healthy and safe.
How do I disinfect/clean my dermaroller?
Run it under hot water to get any dead skin/other materials off, then leave in an alcohol to sanitize for about 5 minutes. Let it completely dry before using. You can use any antiseptic; isopropyl alcohol is the cheapest and will get the job done.
Is there a schedule I should be following?
Say you're derma rolling 2 days a week with a 0.5mm, then follow this schedule:
Monday: AM minox | PM Minox then wait 4 hours, roll
Tuesday: AM n/a | PM apply minox
Wednesday: AM minox | PM minox
Thursday: AM minox | PM minox then wait 4 hours, roll and just repeat
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT)
What is LCLT and what does it do?
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is commonly found in the human body as it is able to synthesize it. The body utilizes L-Carnitine to break up long fatty acids for example. Uses of L-Carnitine as a supplement are highly debated, although some claim it to be a performance enhancer or supportive when trying to lose weight. In the human body, there are two different versions of L-Carnitine to be found: L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. It is important to choose L-Carnitine (L-)Tartrate and NOT Acetyl-L-Carnitine, as it is the only version proven to have effect on hair growth in the studies discussed below. L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and L-Carnitine Tartrate (without the second L) are the same thing.
How can it help with your beard?
In 2007, two studies concluded by Foitzik et al. proved LCLT to have beneficial effects on hair growth. One investigated the benefits for hair growth in vivo (http://www.jdsjournal.com/article/S0923-1811(07)00248-4/abstract), the other in vitro (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2007.00611.x). Both came to the conclusion that LCLT can have positive effects on scalp hair growth.
So far, anecdotal evidence from various Facebook groups and online forums suggest that similar effects can be achieved when applied to the face. It is notable that some members noticed that the usage of LCLT not just promoted new vellus hair growth but also sped up the maturation process of the beard to some extent.
Which LCLT products can I use?
It is important to choose a product that contains 100% pure L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. This is usually the case with LCLT powder. Capsules (and some powder brands!) mostly contain extra ingredients like silicon dioxide or magnesium salts which are supposed to prevent the binding of LCLT to other substances. Since this is exactly what we're trying to achieve, it's best to avoid products that contain other ingredients than LCLT itself, even though they might work just as fine it'd be best to stay safe and choose pure LCLT.
Additives in LCLT products
There are three main additives that are usually found on most LCLT capsules' ingredient list:
The last one, titanium dioxide, is generally unproblematic. It is used as a coloring additive to make the capsule itself look “whiter” and is ONLY used for the capsule itself, not for the powder inside of it. Although titanium dioxide is pretty unhealthy, you're not supposed to throw the capsule itself into the Minox bottle anyways. Just its contents. The other two, magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide, are so-called release agents. They are added to prevent the powder from bonding to other surfaces or substances like water. They will prevent the powder from drawing humidity or clotting to a certain degree. They both may significantly reduce the LCLT's ability to actually bind to other substances (after all, that's what they're made for). This INCLUDES Minoxidil solution AND Nivea Soft, so it would be best to avoid LCLT products that contain either magnesium stearate or silicon dioxide. Using products that contain either of those might work, but it's heavily discouraged and we've had cases where Minox suddenly turned into a jelly-like consistency because LCLT with magnesium stearate was used.
Summary: Titanium dioxide is okay, magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide are best to avoid.
How do I use LCLT for beard growth?
So far, there are two different application forms that are known to the group. One is to mix it with Minoxidil Liquid, the other is to mix it with Nivea Soft cream. With both, you should take pure LCLT powder and take about 2% of your carrier substance's weight to mix it in. Keep in mind that LCLT has a pretty strong, fishy smell. You can put some PEO into your Minox or Nivea to fix this. After mixing LCLT into Minox or Nivea, you can use either as you would normally. Minox twice a day, Nivea as needed, although it is recommended to use Nivea with LCLT at least once a day if you're not using Minox + LCLT.
Using LCLT with Minoxidil liquid
Just pour the powder into the liquid bottle and give it a good shake until the powder has completely solved in the liquid and you're good to go.
Mixing Minoxidil with LCLT is only possible with the liquid form as you can't access the contents of foam containers without breaking them.
Using LCLT with Nivea Soft
Using LCLT with Nivea Soft is a little more complicated but has some presumable benefits to it. For one, you can apply Nivea after Derma Rolling, and for all we know, it's very well probable that LCLT, contrary to Minoxidil, benefits from an increased absorption rate due to derma rolling.
The mixing process itself isn't as straightforward as it is with Minoxidil: When you put the LCLT powder into the Nivea Cream, it will mostly liquify and have more of a lotion like consistency. To fix this, use an electric hand mixer to mix the whole solution. During this process, it will gain some volume so that part of it won't fit into the original container anymore but it will gain a foam-like consistency which is much more convenient to apply.
Q1: After applying minoxidil, you should wait a minimum of ___ hours before washing your face.
Q1: ANSWER: 4HOURS
Q2: How long after derma rolling should you wait before applying minoxidil?
Q2: ANSWER: 24HOURS
Q3: ANSWER: MINOX5