July 9, 2020

The Drawbacks of Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the most popular hair loss treatment for men and women suffering from hereditary hair loss, also known as Androgenetic alopecia. It is one of only two FDA approved hair loss treatments, and it is definitely a treatment that can slow down hair loss and even stop it completely and regrow hair in some patients, depending on their condition.

Despite its many benefits, there are a few disadvantages to using minoxidil which you should be aware of if you are considering using minoxidil, and in this post I’ll be discussing the drawbacks of Minoxidil.

1. Minoxidil doesn’t work for everyone

This is perhaps the greatest drawback. Since minoxidil doesn’t treat the root cause of hair loss, which in short is the genetic sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT – a hormone that slowly shrinks the follicles until they stop producing hair, minoxidil can never truly be a solution to balding.

Minoxidil works by increasing blow flow to hair follicles, which results in hair growing thicker and longer. For it to work though, a person needs to have a sufficient amount of healthy hair follicles which haven’t yet been completely damaged by DHT.

For this reason, minoxidil works best for people who have only started losing hair and still have a lot of healthy hair follicles left (typically a norwood scale stage 1 or 2). People with advanced hair loss will probably not benefit so much from using this treatment.

2. It becomes less effective with time

Another big drawback is the fact that at first it might seem like the perfect solution for your hair loss problem, until it gradually starts to lose its effect and hair loss continues.

I experienced this myself as minoxidil really slowed down my hair loss for 4-5 years, but in the last 3 years I’ve noticed my hair loss has progressed and my hair has become much thinner at the top and front.

For this reason I’ve recently switched to a stronger 15% minoxidil with topical finasteride product named dualgen 15 no pg plus.

3. Applying minoxidil is quite cumbersome and tiring

Minoxidil is a topical treatment that comes in the form of a liquid or a foam. Unlike taking a pill once a day, minoxidil needs to be physically applied to the scalp using a dropper or by massaging it using your fingers. It is also recommended applying it twice per day to get the best results.

Though it’s not a big deal, it can be quite tiring sometimes, especially when using twice daily. I personally have skipped a dose once in a while. Moreover, application takes about 2 minutes, so it’s not as convenient as simply taking a pill.

4. It makes hair styling more difficult

Although minoxidil should only be applied on the scalp, and not the hair itself, it’s very hard not to leave some of it on the hair when applying. As a result, after it dries out, minoxidil makes the hair dry. It’s not very bad, and in fact I’ve noticed it is less severe with the liquid version compared to the foam.

For me it’s not a deal breaker. I prefer to have dry hair that is hard to comb than not have hair at all, but I still prefer how my hair looks and feels when it’s clean.

5. Stopping minoxidil will cause hair loss to progress

Minoxidil only works while you use it. This is true for all hair loss treatments, and minoxidil is no exception. In fact, all the hair that minoxidil managed to save or regrow will start falling out in a few months when discontinuing.

Since minoxidil is a long term treatment, you should consider if you are willing to commit. Of course if it doesn’t help at all, you can always stop or try another treatment. My advice is to give minoxidil a try. If you don’t experience any significant results after at least 6 months, you can discontinue treatment.

6. It can cause itching and scalp redness in some cases

I have experienced scalp redness and itching when I tried a liquid minoxidil that contains PPG (Propylene glycol). PPG is a substance that is common in many minoxidil versions, and it is added to supposedly improve its absorption in the scalp.

Unfortunately it is quite common for PPG to cause these unpleasant side effects, but the good news is that minoxidil foam doesn’t contain PPG, and many other liquid solution have a PPG free version available for sensitive skins.


Despite its drawbacks, minoxidil is still a pretty good hair loss treatment, and probably the most popular one (along with Propecia).

I personally think these drawbacks are worth it if minoxidil can stop or slow down hair loss. When minoxidil is not enough anymore, you can add other treatment methods such as a derma roller, or try a new treatment.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you have any questions or comments please add them below.

3 thoughts on “The Drawbacks of Minoxidil

  1. I have hair loss. And it is genetic. My Dad and uncle have had hair loss. And my brother is showing signs of it. And I am sad to hear that minoxidil has so many drawbacks. It doesn’t seem to work well, does it?

    I did hear of minoxidil when I was much younger. Yes, I was already looking at hair loss solutions when I was in my twenties even though I was still with a head full of hair. Only because I saw what happened to my Dad and uncle. Back then, minoxidil was new. And it gave much hope.

    Now, I see it is not good. Ah well, I’ll keep looking for new and better options. Would be grateful if you have any?

  2. Hi there
    My husband was using minoxidil and it gave good results for a certain amount of time. As you mentioned in your article, the efficacy was not as high over time, to the point where he no longer uses it.
    It’s quite discouraging when the product loses effect but it does definitely work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *