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How long does Minoxidil take to work?
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Updated on May 28, 2024

Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment used to treat a variety of hair loss conditions. From male pattern baldness to alopecia areata, Minoxidil is proven to help slow hair loss and promote hair regrowth.

But how quickly does Minoxidil work, and when can you expect to see results?

Topical Minoxidil starts to work after one application, but it takes longer than this to see a visible impact on your hair. You won’t see initial results until approximately two months after you start using it [1]. You’re likely to see the best results after four to six months of treatment.

In this article, we’ll look at the timeline of Minoxidil use, so you can see how long it takes for Minoxidil to work.

Table of Contents

What is Minoxidil and how does it work?

Discovered as a hair loss treatment by accident, Minoxidil is now known as one of the most effective non-surgical solutions for treating hair loss.

It works by dilating the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles, allowing more nutrients and oxygen to flow into the follicles, stimulating hair growth.

Before and 6 months after Minoxidil use on female androgenetic alopecia patient

Before and after six months of 5% Minoxidil application in a patient with female pattern hair loss.

before and 12 weeks after Minoxidil use for alopecia areata

Before and after 12 weeks of 2% topical Minoxidil use to treat alopecia areata.

While topical Minoxidil is the most common type of solution, both oral and topical Minoxidil work the same way. Oral Minoxidil affects blood vessels around the body, while topical Minoxidil only impacts blood vessels beneath the application area.

That means systemic side effects are more common with oral Minoxidil, so it’s not usually prescribed as a hair loss treatment.

Minoxidil results timeline

The longer you use Minoxidil, the better results you’ll see. One study of female pattern hair loss patients found that six months of Minoxidil use reduced hair loss severity by 0.85 on the Sinclair scale, increasing to 1.3 after a year [2].

Sinclair scale used to diagnose the stage of hair loss in female pattern baldness
Sinclair scale for female hair loss.

That means female hair loss had decreased by more than one Sinclair stage on average after a year of Minoxidil use.

Let’s take a look at the results of Minoxidil over several months to see how ongoing use of Minoxidil can improve your hair density.

Minoxidil results after one month

After a month of using Minoxidil, you probably won’t see much improvement in your hair. In fact, you may find that you’re experiencing additional hair shedding. This is known as Minoxidil shedding, and it’s a normal part of the hair growth process.

This happens because Minoxidil encourages your hair to move through the hair growth cycle at an accelerated rate.

Chart of the normal hair growth cycle
More of your hair moves into the shedding phase at the same time, causing more hair loss than usual. Fortunately, this is a one-time-only occurrence. The hair shedding will stop within a few weeks, and your hair will soon start to regrow.

Minoxidil results after three months

Here are the visual results of two patients after 12 weeks of topical Minoxidil treatment for male pattern baldness [3]:

Before and after example of patients who used topical Minoxidil for 12 weeks to treat male pattern baldness
Before and after example of patients who used topical Minoxidil for 12 weeks to treat male pattern baldness

This same study showed that derma rolling for hair growth can enhance the effects of Minoxidil at three months. Microneedling helps your scalp absorb more of the active ingredient, giving you better results. Learn more about using Minoxidil together with a derma roller.

Minoxidil results after six months

This image shows the hair regrowth results for a female hair loss patient at baseline (a, e), then after two (b, f), four (c, g), and six (d, h) months of 1ml daily topical 2% Minoxidil treatment [4]:

Topical Minoxidil results after 6 months in female androgenetic alopecia patients
Topical Minoxidil results after 6 months in female androgenetic alopecia patients

After six months of treatment, this patient’s previously severe hair loss has almost completely regrown thanks to Minoxidil.

Minoxidil results after 12 months

One 12-month study established the effectiveness of 5% topical Minoxidil on 984 patients with male pattern hair loss [5]. After a year, areas of hair loss had shrunk in 62% of patients.

This patient with crown hair loss used 5% topical Minoxidil for a year. While he has seen some good hair regrowth across the scalp, there’s still a lack of density around his crown:

Minoxidil results after 12 months

Finasteride is known to be effective at tackling crown hair loss. So if you have male pattern baldness and Minoxidil hasn’t given you the results you want, using a combination of Minoxidil and Finasteride may help enhance your hairline and help you regrow hair.

How long does it take for Minoxidil to work for beard hair?

Minoxidil for beard growth is an off-label use of this drug. However, some early research studies have shown that Minoxidil can work for facial hair growth within 16 weeks [6-7].

What happens if I stop using Minoxidil?

If you start using Minoxidil, you’ll need to keep using it in order to maintain your new hair growth. Stopping Minoxidil usually means hair shedding will resume within three to four months [7].

Find out more about what happens if you stop using Minoxidil.

Learn more about non-surgical hair loss treatments

Minoxidil is just one effective non-surgical hair loss treatment. There are several other options that may work for you, depending on which type of alopecia you have. These include:

  • DHT blockers — Medicines like Finasteride and Dutasteride tackle the hormones that cause male pattern baldness.
  • CorticosteroidsSteroid creams for hair loss can improve symptoms of alopecia areata.
  • Low-level laser therapy — LLLT is a painless, non-invasive laser hair loss treatment that stimulates cell growth in the hair follicles.

Decide which treatment is right for you with a free hair loss consultation. We’ll analyse your hair and scalp and talk you through all the possible treatments, helping you create a bespoke treatment plan to tackle your hair loss.

How long does Minoxidil take to work?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)Updated on May 28, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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