The Benefits of Using Minoxidil for Men to Thicken Facial Hair

If you suffer from a patchy beard, minoxidil can give you the uniform look you’ve been hoping for. You may know minoxidil better as Rogaine, a clinically-proven treatment for pattern hair loss. Lately, minoxidil for men has become popular among those who want to grow a thicker beard. This article goes over the benefits of using minoxidil for thickening your beard and some of the precautions you should keep in mind while using it.

a young man with a thick beard

What Is Minoxidil?

Although minoxidil has been marketed as a topical hair treatment since 1988, it was originally developed to treat high blood pressure. As the product underwent clinical trials, patients and researchers began to notice a startling side effect: hair growth.

Hair actually has three phases of growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Anagen is responsible for new growth. It lasts about 3-5 years before moving on to the catagen phase, or the resting period. Catagen is only supposed to last about ten days before it moves on to telogen when your old hair falls out and is replaced by new growth.

Some follicles, namely the follicles on the patchy areas of your face, never leave catagen. Researchers found that minoxidil not only prolongs the anagen phase but it also awakens new hair growth in inactive follicles.

4 Great Benefits of Taking Minoxidil

minoxidil for men treatment

#1. Activates Inactive Hair Follicles

For the most part, your genetics determine which androgenic hair responds to testosterone. However, minoxidil for men actually stimulates inactive follicle that may have never been used without treatment. The end result is a thicker, healthier looking beard.

#2. Inexpensive Over-the-Counter Treatment

At its conception, minoxidil was a prescription drug taken orally and sold for about $100 per bottle. Now it is firmly established in nearly every retail store and sells for about $40. Minoxidil for men comes in a liquid or foam form, typically in a 5% solution. You can use either solution for your beard, but there has been a trend toward foam since it tends to dry faster. Whichever type you use, make sure to massage it in thoroughly to fully stimulate the hair follicles.

#3. Notice Results Fast

a graphic representation of the dermal layers

The actual time frame for results varies between patients, but some men have shown results as early as two months. Scientific studies have shown results a little further out, however. After 16 weeks, 70.6% of the study group noticed an improvement compared to the placebo. It was also determined that the 5% solution was much more effective for hair growth than other solutions.

It should be noted that these studies have been conducted for pattern baldness, not facial hair. However, there are several personal testimonies attributed to the effectiveness of Rogaine. Some men notice general quicker hair growth while others have benefited from all-new hair growth.

#4. Results Can Be Long-Term

There is a caveat to this statement: long-term results depend on how religiously you use minoxidil and how long you continue to use it. Studies have shown that patients using the product for over six months have noticed a significant long-term change in their hair growth pattern. If you stop the treatment, your beard growth may be slower, but your newly activated follicles will remain active.

Precautions for Using Minoxidil for Men

a hipster man with long beard

#1. Irritating Side Effects

There is no such thing as a miracle drug. Using minoxidil, especially the 5% solution, can cause side-effects that can be mildly irritating or more serious. The most common side effect is itchiness, caused from a mild skin reaction or dryness from new follicle growth. After you apply the treatment, it’s important to moisturize. In addition, treat your beard with beard oil.

Since minoxidil was originally developed as a treatment for hypertension, you may begin to notice symptoms related to low blood pressure. These symptoms are rare, but you should check your blood pressure regularly if you plan to use minoxidil for men long-term. See your doctor immediately if you begin to notice low blood pressure symptoms, such as light-headedness, dizziness, or irregular heartbeat.

#2. Shedding

Shedding is actually very normal for minoxidil, but you should at least be aware of it. As your hair enters the telogen phase, it pushes out old hair to produce new hair. However, if you begin to notice significant shedding without new growth, stop taking the treatment immediately.

#3. Growth Can Stop

Several users of minoxidil for men have noted that growth can halt if you stop using it before six months. As you continue treatment, you’ll begin to notice fine hair grow in the patchy areas, called vellus hair. Over time, these hairs will go terminal, becoming fully developed androgenic facial hairs. Once the hair goes terminal, you won’t have to worry about it disappearing when you stop treatment.

#4. Minoxidil and Healthy Habits

Minoxidil is not a substitute for healthy habits. Some beard growth is stunted by poor eating habits, sleeping patterns, or cleaning regimen. While using minoxidil for men, be sure to get plenty of sleep.

Also, introduce foods with folic acid and biotin into your diet, such as fish, nuts, cereals, and legumes. Finally, there are several cleaning regimens that can make minoxidil more effective. Be sure to clean your face thoroughly before each application to clean clogged pores.

#5. Minoxidil Is Not FDA-Approved for Facial Hair Growth

While minoxidil is FDA-approved for pattern hair loss, there have been no clinical trials for facial hair growth. All side effects and long-term use is determined by personal reviews and testimonies. Minoxidil for men can have staggering results, but you’re taking a small risk by using it.

Let’s Recap

Minoxidil for men is an inexpensive, topical treatment that can thicken your beard in no time. Consider the risks and benefits before using minoxidil. If your skin is prone to breakouts or infection, prepare to investigate alternative, natural methods for hair growth. Have your tried minoxidil for men to thicken your beard? Share your experiences below.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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