Minoxidil, sold under the brand name Rogaine® and others, is a popular topical medication for treating hair loss.
Research shows that minoxidil helps to improve hair growth, usually over the course of several months of daily use. After using minoxidil, you might notice that your hair loss stops, or that hair in some parts of your scalp becomes thicker and less affected by male pattern baldness.
Like with other medications, it’s important to use minoxidil correctly to make sure you notice the best possible results.
Minoxidil is available in several forms, all of which are easy to use. Below, we’ve explained how you should apply minoxidil foam and liquid to treat hair loss. We’ve also discussed the basics of how minoxidil works as a hair loss treatment.
Using minoxidil is a simple process, although the first few times might feel a little bit awkward or unnatural.
Minoxidil comes in two forms: as a topical solution or as a foam. Both options contain the same active ingredient and work to improve hair growth in the same way. We’ve provided instructions for both types of minoxidil below.
Applying minoxidil topical solution to your scalp is simple. The entire process only takes a few minutes, making it easy to work into your morning and evening routine:
Minoxidil foam is also easy to apply. If your minoxidil comes as a foam, follow the instructions below to apply it your scalp:
After you’ve applied minoxidil, allow four hours for the medication to dry before you wear a hat, use a hair dryer or wash your hair.
Minoxidil can stain clothing, bed linen and other fabric items, making it important to let it dry before allowing these to touch your scalp.
If you forget to use minoxidil and remember shortly after the missed dose, try to apply it as soon as you can. If it’s already close to time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and use the medication as normal.
Minoxidil is only designed for use on your scalp. If you accidentally apply minoxidil to your face, eyes or any sensitive areas of your body, wash the area carefully using cool water. If you notice irritation in these parts of your body, contact your healthcare provider.
There’s no need to use minoxidil more than twice a day. Applying minoxidil more often than this will not improve your results, although it may increase your risk of experiencing skin irritation or other side effects. Stick to the recommended dosage and apply minoxidil two times per day.
While it’s important to use minoxidil consistently to enjoy the best results, accidentally forgetting a dose won’t cause your newly-grown hair to fall out overnight.
If you often forget to apply minoxidil (or take other hair loss medication, like finasteride), try the following techniques to make your hair loss prevention routine easier to remember:
When you’re not using minoxidil, keep it stored in a convenient location away from excess heat and moisture. If you have young children in your home, store minoxidil and other medications in a location that’s out of their sight and reach.
Minoxidil is a safe and effective medication for most people. However, like other medications, it can occasionally cause side effects.
The most common side effects of minoxidil are skin irritation, dryness, scaling, burning, flaking and itching. If you experience any of these side effects after starting minoxidil, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our guide to minoxidil side effects goes into more detail about the side effects you may notice while using this medication.
Using minoxidil is a simple process. Follow the instructions above to apply minoxidil solution or foam to your scalp. If you’re prone to forgetting your minoxidil, try setting an alarm or sticking a note to your bathroom mirror to remind you every morning and evening.
Minoxidil may start working immediately. However, it usually takes a few months before you’ll start to see results. Our guide to how long minoxidil takes to begin working goes into more detail on the normal amount of time you’ll need to wait before you notice hair regrowth.
The majority of hair loss in men is caused by male pattern baldness — a genetic and hormonal condition that causes your hairline to gradually recede as you get older.
Minoxidil is one of several FDA-approved medications for treating male pattern baldness. Our guide to male pattern baldness goes into more detail on the others, including medications like finasteride that you can use at the same time as minoxidil for better results.