Hair Care

Minoxidil For Women: A Complete Guide

Every year, millions of ladies around the world experience hair loss.

And for the majority of women, minoxidil is the thing they’re told to use as a hair regrowth treatment.

But knowledge is power, and you should know what you’re putting on your scalp.

In this article, we’ll go through every single question you might have on minoxidil for women.

Plus, we’ll give you 5 hyper-effective alternatives to minoxidil that works wonders on women.

How does hair loss impact women?

Alopecia, or hair loss, affects around one-third of women at some point in their life; this number can reach up to two-thirds among postmenopausal women.

Because it’s less culturally acceptable for women, hair loss frequently impacts them more than it does on males.

In fact, in a survey, women with alopecia reported numerous career and marital problems.

The emotional health and quality of life of a woman can be significantly impacted by alopecia. Similar to males, women have the same primary kind of hair loss.

Hair on the top of the scalp thins, frequently leading to baldness-like hair loss in men, which typically starts above the temples and finally forms the distinctive “M” shape.

It can be stressful and demanding to deal with hair loss. If you already have lighter, thin hair even a small amount of hair loss can drastically change your appearance.

Even if you have naturally dark, thick hair, coping with excess hair in the basin, on your cushion, and everywhere in the house may be emotionally challenging.

What are the causes of hair loss in women?

Hereditary hair loss:

Androgens are sex hormones produced by men. Women also have trace amounts of androgens. Genetic sensitivity to hormones like DHT (dihydrotestosterone) might eventually alter the hairline.

Postpartum hair loss:

It’s usual for women to have temporary hair loss following childbirth, known as postpartum telogen effluvium. According to research, postpartum hair loss usually begins for women around two to four months after giving birth, lasts as long as six months, but often lasts no more than 15 months.

Hormonal changes:

The use of birth control methods may disturb the hormonal levels in the body causing hair loss.


Female hair loss can be brought on by both physical and mental stress, such as an intensely demanding job or a tragic event.

Auto-immune diseases:

At times the body’s immunity targets its hair follicles, which can lead to hair fall and hair thinning called alopecia areata.

Nutritional deficiency:

Hair health may be impacted by a diet lacking protein, iron, or other necessary vitamins and minerals. Nine to twenty percent of women experience iron-deficient anemia, which frequently results in hair loss.


Antidepressants, anti-cancer, and other chronic illnesses can cause hair loss.

Hairstyles & hair treatments:

Weaves, hot oil treatments, and braids are just a few hairstyles and procedures that can harm hair over time and result in thinning and hair loss.

minoxidil in a tube

What are the symptoms of female hair loss?

If you see signs of female pattern baldness, such as thinning hair or a widening of your part, you may be one of the millions of women who are afflicted (FPHL).

Another symptom can also be a smaller ponytail or a recession of hair around the temples.

How common is women’s hair loss?

It can start in women as young as their 20s and affects over 25% of women by age 50. Over 50% of women have hair loss to some extent by the age of 79.


How was minoxidil invented?

Minoxidil, initially available only as an oral prescription to treat high blood pressure, is a vasodilator agent that has been shown to reduce or stop hair loss and encourage hair regrowth.

This anti-hypertensive medication was discovered during clinical trials to cause patient hair growth.

Because it causes erectile dysfunction, it is now utilized for hair growth therapies rather than blood pressure control.

When was minoxidil approved by the FDA?

The FDA recognized topical minoxidil at a concentration of 2% minoxidil as an efficient therapy for male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) hair loss in 1988.

The remedy was marketed under the name Rogaine. The FDA later authorized its use in treating female pattern hair loss in women in 1992. It functions by extending the hair follicles’ development phase and keratin synthesis.

Minoxidil, often known by the brand names Rogaine and women’s Rogaine, is a topical medication sold over the counter (OTC).

What is Rogaine?

This product is scientifically designed for ladies to help lessen thinning and genetic hair loss while promoting new hair development.

It encourages hair renewal for thicker, more voluminous hair. It enters the hair follicle at the root to help reduce hair thinning, reactivate dormant follicles, and strengthens and revitalizes the follicle to produce new, thicker hair. It works in 4 ways:

  • Increases blood flow surrounding follicles; reverses follicle shrinkage.
  • Promotes follicle migration from the dormant to the hair’s growing phase.
  • Lengthens the growing period of each follicle.

What percentage of minoxidil is in Rogaine?

The active ingredient in Rogaine is 5% minoxidil.

Inactive ingredients: propane, butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerol, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, and pure water.

What percent of minoxidil should women take?

While males can take the 5% minoxidil formulation, it is advised that women utilize the 2% minoxidil version.

Studies demonstrate that it considerably boosts the overall number of hairs, resulting in fuller hair after 24 weeks of use.

women consulting doctor on minoxidil

How do apply minoxidil or Rogaine for women?

Minoxidil is intended to be used once daily on the scalp in the morning.

  1. Before the application of minoxidil, make sure the scalp and hair are dry. The rate of absorption of minoxidil can be obstructed by moisture, which means that less of the drug may reach hair follicles.
  2. After applying minoxidil, wait four hours before washing your hair.
  3. Use your fingers to spread the minoxidil liquid solution to the affected area and wash your hands immediately.

Why shouldn’t you use Rogaine?

It boils down to these four reasons:

  • Expensive: minoxidil is an expensive product. Brand name Rogaine, which may cost $30 for two ounces.
  • Temporary results: You must use it continuously because stopping the medicine will reverse the effects.
  • Inconvenient: It can be a hassle. It must be applied twice daily to the scalp.
  • Unwanted hair growth: Unwanted hair growth may result. Utilizing minoxidil may cause facial hair development in certain women.

How long does it take to see minoxidil results for women?

When using minoxidil for the first two to four weeks, you can see an increase in hair loss.

To see results, you will need to use the minoxidil topical solution on the hair loss area continuously for at least four months.

However, some people take up to one year to yield visible results.

Therefore, the only sure answer is that observing outcomes might take many months.

Common side effects of minoxidil in women

While the minoxidil solution can cause many side effects, some even devastating, these are the most commonly observed in the female participant:

  • Facial or forehead hair growth
  • Skin irritation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Fainting
  • Chest discomfort
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Exhaustion
  • Trouble breathing, particularly when lying down.

Consult your doctor in case of these severe side effects.

How does minoxidil work (for women)?

By dilating blood vessels, minoxidil promotes increased blood and nutrient flow to the hair follicles, resulting in fuller hair by prolonging the time while hair is actively developing (anaphase).

  • The anagen phase: The initial stage of the hair development cycle. The hair develops from hardly perceptible to fully grown throughout this stage.
  • The catagen phase: The hair follicle starts to contract, and the hair then gradually separates from the scalp.
  • The telogen phase: The old hair rests while the telogen phase, referred to as the “resting phase,” while new hair develops beneath the skin.
  • The exogen phase: referred to as the “shedding” phase, is when new hair grows to replace the old hair, and the old hair begins to fall out.

According to the research, minoxidil enables premature hair follicles through the anagen phase so that they swiftly cross the resting and shedding phases before they begin to redevelop. This results in a rapid hair cycle and stimulates hair growth.

When should women not take minoxidil?

    • Avoid taking minoxidil if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant. minoxidil should not be used by lactating mothers since it can transmit traces into breast milk. It is a category C drug.
    • Speak with the consultant before choosing minoxidil as a therapy if you’re presently taking a medicine that might cause hair loss, like an antidepressant or anti-cancer, or any other chronic condition.
    • Before utilizing minoxidil, take a balanced diet and ensure you’re consuming all of the necessary elements for healthy hair development.
    • Consult your healthcare professional before using minoxidil if you experience hair loss during pregnancy.

5 best alternatives to minoxidil for women

With minoxidil side effects being so disturbing to you and your confidence, it’s natural that you’d want a less risky solution to hair growth.

But by no means, you should be compromising on results.

You want your hair to be back as soon as possible.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is not to be confused with laser hair removal. While both utilize focused light (laser), the outcome is different.

As this is elective surgery, you will need to weigh the risks yourself before undergoing laser therapy. It’s not recommended for people with vulnerable skin or poor health conditions.


Microneedling is simple. It’s something you can do at home, at work, on your vacation, or at a spa/clinic.

Some people have reported it to be effective for them.

With that being said, there isn’t enough evidence to confirm that it’s as effective as other treatments on this list.

PRP treatment

PRP treatment has been touted as the next hair transplant due to its effectiveness. From treating sports injuries to hair loss, this magical treatment has worked for many.

However, before you commit, learn about the risks of bleeding, infection, and nerve injuries.

Hair transplant

A hair transplant is one of the most popular alternatives to minoxidil. However, with the average cost of $2000 to $15000, it’s not a wise financial decision.

Want more alternatives?

Read our longer guide on the best natural and drug alternatives to minoxidil.

Why doesn’t finasteride work for women?

Finasteride, one of these drugs, hasn’t received FDA approval to treat female hair loss. Finasteride is often not utilized as a therapy for female hair loss since it targets testosterone (a male sexual hormone).

Read this: Finasteride vs Minoxidil: The Bottom Line

Why do I see hair shedding after using minoxidil?

When using minoxidil for the first two to four weeks, you can see an increase in hair shedding from minoxidil.

It’s important to note that this is part of the process.

How much dosage of minoxidil should women use?

Minoxidil is a topical medication, so you apply it to your scalp rather than your hair. There are two forms of minoxidil foam and liquid. The following are typical dosage recommendations:

  • 5% minoxidil foam: Apply a half-capful once daily.
  • 2% minoxidil liquid: Apply 1 mL twice a day.

How to store minoxidil?

  • Store at room temperature, away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • This item burns easily. After treatment, keep it away from flames until the drug has completely dried.

Do I always need to shampoo my hair after using minoxidil?

There is no need to shampoo your hair every time you use minoxidil. Shampooing too often can strip away the natural oils your scalp needs to stay healthy. However, you should shampoo your hair at least once daily to keep it clean and free of build-up. If your scalp is excessively dry or oily, you may need to adjust how often you shampoo. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist for more specific advice.

Does minoxidil need to be used consistently to get results?

It is available in over-the-counter and prescription formulations and is typically used twice daily. While minoxidil is generally considered safe and effective, there is some debate as to whether or not it needs to be used consistently to get results. Some studies have shown that minoxidil is most effective when used daily. In contrast, other studies have found that it can still be effective even if it is only used occasionally. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use minoxidil should be made by a doctor or other medical professional. However, for most people, the best way to achieve results with minoxidil is to use it consistently as directed.

Will I get better or quicker results if I use more than the average dose of minoxidil?

When used as directed, minoxidil is effective as a hair loss treatment in both men and women. However, there is no evidence to suggest that using more than the recommended dose of minoxidil will lead to more rapid or more significant results. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects such as scalp irritation and excess hair growth. For best results, minoxidil should be used as directed by a physician.

Can women use sun cream or scalp treatments while taking minoxidil?

Sun cream and scalp treatments are not typically recommended for use with minoxidil, as they may decrease the effectiveness of the medication. However, suppose you must use sun cream or a scalp treatment while taking minoxidil. In that case, choosing a product that does not contain alcohol is crucial. Alcohol-based products can interact with minoxidil and cause unwanted side effects. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about using sun cream or scalp treatments with minoxidil.

What should I do about taking minoxidil when I’m trying to get pregnant or attempting to conceive?

Minoxidil should not be used during pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant or conceive, you should talk to your doctor about whether or not you should stop taking minoxidil.

Minoxidil may cause congenital disabilities. It is not known if minoxidil passes into breast milk.

You should talk to your doctor about whether or not you should stop taking minoxidil if you are breastfeeding.

How should women use minoxidil?

For best results, minoxidil should be used twice daily and applied to the scalp when the hair is dry.

Once minoxidil has been applied, it should be allowed to dry completely before styling the hair.


When your hair starts to grow, it may also give you a psychological lift. If your female pattern hair loss makes you feel self-conscious, minoxidil could be worth a try.

Many women believe that their hair has a significant role in their grooming, influencing their perceptions of femininity and attractiveness.

If you want to get minoxidil results without the side effects, try one of our mentioned alternatives.

Read more:


Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Design, Development, and TherapyVolume 13, 2777-2786. https://doi.org/10.2147/dddt.s214907

Gupta AK; Charrette A. (2015). Topical minoxidil: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Its Efficacy in Androgenetic Alopecia. Skinmed13(3). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26380504/

Gupta, A. K., Talukder, M., Venkataraman, M., & Bamimore, M. A. (2021). minoxidil: a comprehensive review. Journal of Dermatological Treatment33(4), 1896-1906. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546634.2021.1945527

Olsen, E. A., Dunlap, F. E., Funicella, T., Koperski, J. A., Swinehart, J. M., Tschen, E. H., & Trancik, R. J. (2002). A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology47(3), 377-385. https://doi.org/10.1067/mjd.2002.124088

Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.D.
Dr. Ahmad Fayyaz Chaudhry earned his MBBS degree from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, in 2020. During graduation, he enrolled himself in the Dermatology Ward DHQ Hospital Faisalabad for all the necessary training required to pass the bachelor's exam and encounter dermatological diseases daily. Currently, he is posted as a House Physician in the Medical Unit 3 Allied Hospital Faisalabad, where he encounters all kinds of hepatic, cardiac, neurological, and dermatological diseases daily.

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