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Minoxidil Side Effects: What Are They and Are They Common?

Minoxidil is a topical medication that’s used to treat hair loss. Along with finasteride, it’s one of the most widely used and effective treatment options for increasing hair growth and dealing with the effects of male pattern baldness.

Like all medications, minoxidil has both primary effects and side effects. For most people, the side effects of minoxidil are relatively minor. 

However, it’s important that you’re aware of all of minoxidil’s potential effects before you begin treatment.

Below, we’ve listed all of the known side effects of minoxidil, as well as detailed information on how common side effects are from minoxidil use.

What Are The Side Effects of Minoxidil?

Because minoxidil is a widely used, thoroughly tested medication, its side effects are well known amongst doctors and researchers.

Depending on the formulation, the most common side effect of minoxidil is skin irritation at or near the application site. In some cases, minoxidil users can develop a skin rash or experience a mild burning feeling after using minoxidil spray or foam.

This can be a reaction to the minoxidil itself or a reaction to some of the substances commonly used in minoxidil formulas. Many minoxidil products contain propylene glycol, and alcohol, which can lead to skin rash and irritation when applied topically.

Less Common Side Effects of Minoxidil

Other, less common side effects of minoxidil include:

  • Acne
  • Facial hair growth
  • Inflammation around the hair roots
  • Facial swelling
  • Increased hair loss

These side effects are relatively uncommon and do not affect most minoxidil users. Increased hair loss, one of the most publicized side effects of minoxidil, is often the result of hair follicles rapidly moving through the hair growth cycle and shedding before an anagen phase. This is normal as it is part of the mechanism in how minoxidil works.

Minoxidil Side Effects From Excessive Use

There are also side effects of minoxidil that can occur from excessive use of the medication. 

In most cases, these side effects occur when too much minoxidil is applied at once, resulting in an overly high level of minoxidil being absorbed into the body. These side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Flushing
  • Blurred or altered vision
  • Numbness of the face, hands, and feet
  • Swelling of the face, hands, feet, and legs
  • Rapid weight gain

If you notice any of these side effects after taking minoxidil, the best course of action is to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Rogaine Side Effects

While minoxidil is sold generically, it’s also sold under the brand name Rogaine®. That said, the side effects of Rogaine are virtually identical to those of minoxidil. 

According to the FDA, the most common side effect of Rogaine is itching and other skin irritation on the treated area. 

However, Rogaine also contains alcohol, which means that you should only treat the affected area with it — and take special care to avoid getting it in your eyes or other sensitive skin areas.

Other, less common minoxidil side effects include acne, inflammation around the hair roots, facial hair growth, acne, swelling around the face and even increased hair loss, in some cases.

And if used excessively, minoxidil may cause side effects like flushing of the face, chest pains, headaches and even fainting.

Minoxidil Interactions

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.