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Does Minoxidil Work For A Receding Hairline?
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on February 23, 2024

For the 95% of men whose hair loss is caused by male pattern baldness, a topical hair loss treatment such as Minoxidil can be recommended to halt the further loss of hair and stimulate new hair regrowth [1].

If you have a receding or M-shaped hairline due to male pattern hair loss, you may be wondering whether you can take Minoxidil to stop your receding hairline. Minoxidil can work for a receding hairline, though it’s often less effective than for crown and scalp hair regrowth.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what causes a receding hairline, how Minoxidil works, and the side effects of Minoxidil for a receding hairline.

Table of Contents

How does Minoxidil work?

Minoxidil is a medication that comes in the form of a tablet, liquid, or foam. The topical Minoxidil liquid or foam is applied directly to the scalp to promote hair growth [2].

The medication works by widening the blood vessels around hair follicles in the scalp. This increases blood flow and provides more oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles which in turn encourages hair growth.

informational graphic showing how Minoxidil works to stimulate hair follicles
Image credit: AK Clinics

Topical Minoxidil spray and foam are sometimes sold under the brand names Rogaine or Regaine. It is usually applied to the scalp twice daily, as this gives the desired exposure time.

Minoxidil is usually an alternative to Finasteride, as though Finasteride stimulates hair growth, it can have adverse effects. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is the hormone that causes androgenetic alopecia. Although this hormone is natural, some men are more sensitive to DHT due to a genetic predisposition [3].

Finasteride can cause erectile dysfunction and other side effects, which is why many men opt for Minoxidil as a male hair loss treatment for their receding hairline instead [4]. Other Minoxidil alternatives include Dutasteride and caffeine shampoo.

Can I take Minoxidil for a receding hairline?

Yes, you can take Minoxidil for a receding hairline. However, the success of hair growth depends on your level of hair loss.

Hair loss in men

Stages 4 and up on the Norwood Scale are classed as advanced. Therefore, medication won’t always produce an extreme improvement alone. This is why many men opt for a hair transplant, which produces more permanent, reliable results at later stages of hair loss.

The Norwood Scale used to diagnose the level of hair loss in men with androgenic alopecia

Hair loss in women

Hair loss in women is a little harder to tackle. For women experiencing a receding hairline, we recommend first seeking the advice of a medical professional to ensure the cause is benign and not something more serious such as frontal fibrosing alopecia. When you know the cause, you can find the right hair loss treatment for women

Individuals in the early stages of hair loss

For those who are at an earlier stage on the Norwood Scale, Minoxidil could work to make your hair denser and fuller, which you can see in this Minoxidil before and after comparison.

How effective is Minoxidil on a receding hairline?

When Minoxidil was released as a hair restoration drug in the 80s, efficacy testing had only been conducted on the scalp and crown. So there’s limited evidence for the success of the medication when it comes to frontal baldness and receding hairlines.

Through more recent studies, researchers have tested the efficacy of Minoxidil on the hairline and have found it to have positive results [5-6].

This man experienced male pattern baldness which led to a receding hairline. The photos display the patient before Minoxidil, and then at 3 and 6-month intervals after taking oral Minoxidil [6]. There is a slight improvement around the hairline, with hair regrowing in the deeper areas of temple hair loss.

The results of Minoxidil on a receding hairline caused by androgenetic alopecia
Before taking oral Minoxidil (left), 3 months after taking Minoxidil (center), and 6 months after taking Minoxidil

How to use Minoxidil for a receding hairline

Using Minoxidil for your receding hairline is fairly simple, especially when using the foam or topical solution. The usual guidance is to apply the topical Minoxidil solution twice daily. Reducing Minoxidil use to 3 times a week will reduce or slow down any improvements you see. The medication will come with instructions for how much to use, as this can depend on whether it is foam or liquid.

After applying the Minoxidil, gently massage it into the affected area. The instructions should tell you how long to leave the foam/liquid on your scalp. Wash your hands thoroughly after using Minoxidil, as exposure to other parts of the body can stimulate hair growth there.

See a step-by-step guide for how to apply Minoxidil to get the best possible results.

Side effects of Minoxidil for a receding hairline

All medications have side effects, and Minoxidil is no exception. Though the medication is generally safe, it’s a good idea to weigh up the side effects of Minoxidil before use. Consult your doctor if needed.

There are a few side effects that you should be aware of when taking Minoxidil, including:

  • Minoxidil hair shedding — this can be a common temporary side effect with many hair loss treatments and medications. Minoxidil affects the hair growth cycle during its anagen and telogen phases, which causes normal hair shedding [7].
hair growth cycle
  • Scalp irritation — Minoxidil has been known to cause rashes, dry skin, or an itchy scalp.
  • Minoxidil-related changes in hair colour — this side effect is rare. However, some people who have used Minoxidil report their hair growing back a lighter colour.
  • Excessive body hair growth – if the hair loss medication is taken orally.

Do you need help with your thinning hair?

If you’re wondering about your options regarding your hairline restoration journey, Wimpole Clinic is on hand to help.

Our team have been providing expert hair restoration services for over 45 years. We consistently create outstanding results for our patients.

We provide treatments such as hairline transplantsFUE hair restoration, FUT or strip surgery transplants, and Afro hair transplants for anyone looking to restore their receding hairline. You can also access a range of non-surgical treatments, including Minoxidil.

Learn more about the cost of a receding hairline transplant, then book your consultation at the Wimpole Clinic.

Does Minoxidil Work For A Receding Hairline?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael May (FRCS)Updated on February 23, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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