Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/17/22
If you’ve noticed early signs of balding, such as a receding hairline or more hair in your shower drain than you’re used to, you may have looked into your options for promoting hair growth and preventing your hair loss from becoming more severe.
Several medications are available to treat and prevent male pattern baldness and other types of hair loss. Minoxidil, the generic form of Rogaine®, is one of them.
Minoxidil is a topical and oral hair loss treatment that works by increasing blood flow to your hair follicles and keeping your hair in a state of active, ongoing growth. This can help to reverse thinning of hair and help you maintain your hair’s thickness, even if you’re prone to hereditary hair loss.
As an over-the-counter hair loss medication, minoxidil is easy to purchase. In fact, we offer it as part of our range of hair loss treatments without any need for a prescription.
However, there are a few things that you should know before trying minoxidil, including how this medication works and the potential side effects you may experience while using it to reduce hair loss and grow a fuller head of hair.
Below, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about using minoxidil, as well as where to buy minoxidil for hair loss.
We’ve also explained how you can use minoxidil with other proven hair loss treatments, such as finasteride, for better results.
Before we discuss where to buy minoxidil and how to use it to prevent hair loss, let’s quickly go over the science behind how minoxidil works as a hair loss treatment.
Your hair grows as part of a natural, multi-stage cycle, which is frequently referred to as the hair growth cycle. During the anagen phase of this cycle, your hair grows for several years to reach its full length, after which it transitions into a resting period called the telogen phase.
At the end of the telogen phase, each hair sheds, allowing a new anagen hair to grow from the hair follicle and take its place.
Minoxidil primarily works by shortening the telogen phase, or rest phase, of this cycle, as well as by extending the duration of the anagen phase. This means that your hairs spend more time in a state of active growth, increasing its average length, diameter and scalp coverage.
Minoxidil also dilates the blood vessels in your scalp, letting blood flow to your hair follicles more easily. This may improve the supply of essential nutrients to your hair follicles, further stimulating hair regrowth.
Although minoxidil isn’t necessarily a cure for baldness, several studies have found that it’s very effective at producing an increase in hair growth and reversing the thinner hair that often comes with age.
For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1998 found that more than 60 percent of men with signs of hair loss who used minoxidil for a period of one year had a smaller area of thinning hair following treatment.
A large-scale review published in 2019, which looked at data from several scientific studies, also concluded that minoxidil provides “remarkable benefits” for men and women with a range of hair disorders.
One thing to keep in mind is that minoxidil may not be the best choice if your hair loss is severe — for example, if you have near-total hair loss across your scalp.
However, if you have a receding hairline that you’d like to treat, a bald patch around your crown or other common signs of androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, using minoxidil can often stimulate new hair growth and give you a thicker head of hair.
Minoxidil is available in two main forms — as a topical medication and as an oral medication. If you’re using minoxidil to treat hair loss, you’ll typically get the best results and have the lowest risk of side effects if you use topical minoxidil.
In topical form, minoxidil has been available as an over-the-counter medication ever since the 1990s. It’s available as a solution and as a foam, with both forms of topical minoxidil designed for application to areas of your scalp with hair thinning or patchy hair loss.
Oral minoxidil, on the other hand, is a prescription medication, meaning you’ll need to talk with your healthcare provider before being able to purchase and use this medication.
In general, oral minoxidil isn’t commonly used as a treatment for hair loss. However, research does show that it’s effective, and it might be an option worth considering if you get side effects from topical versions of minoxidil.
So, where can you buy minoxidil? As an over-the-counter medication, topical minoxidil can be purchased without a prescription from drug stores and online vendors.
We offer minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam online. Both hair growth treatments contain 5% minoxidil, which research shows is the most effective concentration of minoxidil for promoting hair growth in the majority of men.
You can also purchase minoxidil with other evidence-based hair loss treatments, including the prescription medication finasteride, in our Hair Power Pack.
The cost of minoxidil is generally affordable, but may vary based on where you choose to buy this medication. We offer minoxidil solution from just $15 per month, allowing you to target and treat hair loss without straining your budget.
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One of the biggest advantages of minoxidil is that it’s easy to use. It’s designed for use twice a day, typically in the morning and before bed.
Applying minoxidil only takes a minute or two — just apply the solution or foam to areas of your scalp with unexplained hair loss, such as your crown and/or hairline. After you’ve applied either solution or foam to your scalp, gently rub it in with your fingers.
Our complete guide to applying minoxidil for hair growth explains the entire application process for minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam.
Minoxidil starts working right away. However, because of the way your hair grows, it may take a few months before you notice any improvements in your hair.
Most people who use minoxidil begin to notice improvements after two months of use, with more significant improvements usually visible after four months of treatment.
To improve your results from minoxidil and grow thicker, healthier hair, try to use the techniques below.
Minoxidil works well on its own, but it’s even more effective at stimulating consistent hair growth when it’s used with finasteride — a prescription hair loss medication that’s used to reduce levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT can damage your hair follicles and cause androgenic alopecia. Research suggests that up to 94 percent of men with hair loss who take minoxidil and finasteride at the same time develop improvements after one year.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Side effects from minoxidil generally aren’t severe, but they can happen. Common issues that are reported by men who use minoxidil include:
Dry, itchy skin
Our guide to minoxidil side effects discusses these issues in more detail, as well as several less common adverse effects that may also occur with minoxidil.
Some of these side effects may occur due to propylene glycol, which is used in some minoxidil products to improve absorption.
Most of the time, side effects from minoxidil improve over time. However, if you have persistent, severe or bothersome side effects from minoxidil, it’s best to tell your healthcare provider about them as soon as you can.
Minoxidil’s effectiveness, mild side effects and ease of use make it one of the best medications on the market for treating hair loss and growing thicker, stronger hair.
Although minoxidil works fairly well on its own, it’s even more effective at stopping male pattern hair loss and stimulating growth when it’s used with finasteride.
As for where to buy minoxidil, we offer minoxidil solution, minoxidil foam, finasteride and a wide range of other options for treating hair loss online as part of our range of hair loss treatments for men.
Interested in learning more about your options? Consider participating in a hair loss consultation via our online platform, or find out more about treating and reversing hair loss in our full guide to the best treatments for thinning hair.