Have you seen bald patches on your beard?
Are you struggling to get that highly-coveted beard look?
Well, you’re not alone!
Thousands of men go through the same phase of witnessing spotty or scarce hair growth and bald patches on their face. But no matter what, don’t give up on your beard growth journey.
The market is flooded with myriads of solutions and products that claim to help you grow a thicker, fuller beard. Most of them are popularly Minoxidil, Amenexil, beard oils, beard creams, and so on.
In this post, we’re mainly going to learn about minoxidil, how it can help you grow a full beard, and everything else you need to know about it.
- 1 What is Minoxidil?
- 2 What causes Patchy Beard?
- 3 How does Minoxidil work?
- 4 Side Effects of Minoxidil
- 5 Is it safe to use Minoxidil for beard growth?
- 6 How to Use Minoxidil for Beard Growth?
- 7 How to boost the results of Minoxidil Use?
- 8 Is the Minoxidil Beard Growth Permanent?
- 9 When can I Expect Beard Growth Results?
- 10 Is minoxidil effective for Everyone?
What is Minoxidil?
In the early 1970s, Minoxidil was primarily used as an oral medication for hypertension (high blood pressure).
At the same time, a few studies also revealed that Minoxidil had a side effect of excessive hair growth.
Further research showed that if you apply it topically on the scalp, it can help hair regrowth.
What causes Patchy Beard?
Patchy or scarce beard is mainly due to the inactive hair follicles that tend to make spaces between your active hair follicles. This is the reason why many men experience thinning of their beards.
Minoxidil does the job of stimulating these dormant hair follicles, thereby creating more cells and boosting thicker beard growth.
How does Minoxidil work?
Before firgure out how mixeril works, you need to know how hair grows and falls.
Beard grows from the root of the hair viz. Hair follicle is beneath the skin. Blood vessels that run through the skin provide essential nutrients and nourishment to this hair follicle, required for hair growth.
Hair growth and hair fall have about four stages, which are as follows:
This is the initial stage, also known as the growth stage, which determines the length of the hair.
For beards, it lasts only for a few months.
The longer the hair remains in this phase, the more hair fibers will be produced.
This is the transition stage of the hair growth where the root shrinks and separates from the dermal papilla that heads towards the skin’s surface.
The catagen phase can be anywhere from 10-12 days.
Basically, this phase is where the weak baby hair is discarded so that denser and stronger hair can grow.
This temporary baby hair is also referred to as “vellus hair,” while the stronger permanent hair is called “terminal hair.”
Telogen phase or resting phase is where your old hair rests while new hair grows. This phase is about 3 months long.
The last stage is where the old hair falls off, and new hair continues to grow.
All the above-mentioned stages define the health of your hair.
Hair fall or balding is mainly due to problems that arise in these stages.
Anagen and telogen are the most important phases that result in a longer and thicker beard.
If these phrases don’t last long as expected, you might witness thinning or balding of hair. In contrast, lengthening these phases will result in fuller, healthier beard growth.
Minoxidil medication focuses on the anagen stage to boost beard growth.
Minoxidil is known to be a vasodilator- a formula that opens the blood vessels.
Blood vessels near the hair follicles open up, and this stimulates blood circulation to your hair follicles.
Due to this, the hair follicle is able to produce more cells as it gets more access to nutrients, resulting in hair growth. This is what makes the beard longer and thicker.
Since it boosts blood flow below the skin, multiple hair follicles get nourishment simultaneously. Thus, you can see more beard growth per area, making it look fuller and healthier.
A few studies also reveal that minoxidil considerably reduces the time between the telogen and anagen phase.
Meaning, minoxidil can produce a weightier beard, as less hair is shedding and more hair is growing quickly.
Side Effects of Minoxidil
Minoxidil can be irritating for some, causing allergy-like reactions such as itchiness and redness. It can even dry out your skin, resulting in a whitish deposit on the surface of your skin.
Beginners can start using minoxidil in less concentrated form, such as foam or liquid, as it will have lesser side effects.
Men with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin must avoid using highly concentrated minoxidil forms, as it might worsen their condition and irritation.
Know that minoxidil was originally a medication for hypertension. Thus, you might experience side effects such as fast heart rate, tingling of hands, swelling on the face, or low blood pressure if you overdose on minoxidil’s volume while lathering up.
But these side effects are infrequent.
The absorption rate of minoxidil is somehow related to your weight, so lightweight people should take great precautions when using minoxidil.
Common side effects of minoxidil include:
- Change in texture/color of the beard
- Rash or itchiness (less common)
Rare side effects that men might experience with minoxidil application are:
- Swelling on the face
- Increase in hair loss
- Acne or breakouts
- Sore hair follicles
- Hair growth in other areas of the face
- Redness on the skin
Infrequent side effects that one might experience due to excessive absorption of minoxidil are:
- Blurred vision
- Irregular heart rate
- Rapid weight gain
- Swelling of feet, hands, and other parts of the body
- Tingling sensation in hands or legs
If you experience any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms when using minoxidil products, it is better to stop using it immediately and consult a doctor in extreme cases.
It is recommended to go for lighter solutions such as foam-based formulas for fewer drips and better control while lathering up.
It is also important for you to moisturize the beard hair, face, and beard area since minoxidil tends to dry out your skin due to the alcohol content.
Is it safe to use Minoxidil for beard growth?
There is not much research to prove that minoxidil is promising for beard growth, but many have found it effective. As per studies, it is considered to be effective and safe for beard growth, but further research is required.
The FDA only approves topical use of minoxidil to treat androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness for male and female) on the scalp. The 2% and 5% solutions are widely available for hair regrowth on your scalp.
It is important to know that using it for beard regrowth is technically off-label. Thousands of men still experiment and test minoxidil on beards, but these are just experiments.
How to Use Minoxidil for Beard Growth?
Follow these simple steps once or twice daily to get a fuller and thicker beard:
First of all, cleanse your face with a mild pH-balanced beard cleanser and avoid using bar soaps, as this might cause irritation.
Minoxidil contains about 30% alcohol and 50% propylene glycol, both of which are known to irritate the skin.
You need to make sure you maintain the integrity of the layers of your skin- the moisture barrier, acid mantle, and skin microbiome.
All of these are highly responsible for keeping your skin healthy and preventing infections like eczema, acne, dermatitis, etc.
pH balanced cleansers will not only prevent irritation but also keep your skin’s pH healthy.
After cleasing, you can also use beard conditioners to soften your beard.
Apply 1ml of liquid minoxidil to the area where you want to grow a thick beard. Generally, liquid formulas come with the dropper’s meniscus lines, so you can refer to these lines to get 1ml exactly.
Make sure your hands are clean if you are going to spread the solution with your fingers across the face.
If using foam-based formulas, use half capful for the entire area.
Leave it to rest
Let the minoxidil solution rest on your face for about 4 hours to get the best results.
Research reveals that it takes around 4 hours for minoxidil to absorb 75% or more into your skin.
If not, you can keep it on for about 1 hour which is the minimum time limit to get effective results. In 1 hour, the solution might absorb up to 50% or lesser.
After 4 hours, you need to rinse your face thoroughly with water. If using overnight, make sure you wash your face immediately after waking up.
This is a crucial step. You must moisturize your skin after using minoxidil to prevent dryness, as minoxidil tends to affect your moisture barrier.
These ingredients are known to heal the skin, provide hydration, and strengthen your skin barrier.
Follow these steps with Minoxidil once or twice daily. But, if you have sensitive or irritated skin, do these steps just once, and you’ll be good!
How to boost the results of Minoxidil Use?
You can double the effective results of minoxidil use by following certain things:
Few studies have shown that micro-needling is effective in doubling the results of minoxidil as it helps in better absorption and boosts collagen production.
The process is done with a 0.25 to 0.5mm derma roller, and it creates small holes on your face, which helps the solution to absorb better. Besides, this also boosts blood circulation to the area.
If you do micro-needling before applying minoxidil, you might get better results in a shorter time. Make sure you apply minoxidil ONLY 24 hours after micro-needling.
Beginners can do this process thrice a week.
Adding LCLT (L-carnitine L-tartrate) to your minoxidil formula can promote more hair growth by increasing androgen receptor sensitivity.
LCLT is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that can be added about ¼ teaspoon (100% LCLT powder) into 60mL liquid minoxidil to enhance the results.
Primarily, it is known to reduce your body’s oxidative stress, but studies have shown that it helps in beard growth as well.
Make sure you maintain a healthy, nutritious diet to promote beard growth.
DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a hormone that is known to cause pattern baldness in male and female (on the scalp). But DHT is also known to promote beard growth.
Thus, you need to avoid potential DHT blockers such as coconut oil and azelaic acid.
On the contrary, there are some natural oils that are good for beard growth such as lavender oil, rosemary oil, pumpkin seed oil, emu oil, tea tree oil,…
Many people have found Jamaican Castor Oil extremely beneficial in their beard growth journey. If not, you can give peppermint oil and Jojoba oil a try as well!
Boost Collagen production
Besides microneedling, other topical formulas can increase collagen production to result in faster beard growth ultimately.
This includes vitamin C, niacinamide, and epidermal growth factor (Human Oligopeptide-1).
Is the Minoxidil Beard Growth Permanent?
Once you begin using minoxidil to grow a beard, you must continue using it to maintain the thickness of your beard.
Using it daily will keep stimulating your hair follicles, thereby retaining a healthy, fuller beard. You will start to see effective results, probably after 4 weeks of daily minoxidil use.
But if you stop using minoxidil, the now active hair follicles might go back to their inactive condition. And due to this, you will see a thinning of the beard just after a few months of not applying the formula.
However, a few people have experienced that it is unnecessary to keep using minoxidil daily once your beard grows fully. Using it once in a while will do the job.
When can I Expect Beard Growth Results?
Practically, you will witness the results of minoxidil use anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
It is recommended to use minoxidil for at least 6 months to get the desired healthier and thicker beard growth.
By this time, most of your hair will be terminal. Just make sure you are patient enough and use the minoxidil consistently over the period of months.
Is minoxidil effective for Everyone?
It all really comes down to genetics.
Each person has a different reaction to the minoxidil solution. Some might see results in just 2 weeks, while others will have to wait for 6 months or even more.
People who have less active hair follicles or those going through puberty might not get noteworthy results.
It is an individual process with minoxidil, really.
Just start slow, be patient, and you will get there one day!