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Minoxidil 5%: Everything You Need To Know

Minoxidil 5% is one of the most popular Minoxidil products. This topical Minoxidil solution has been shown to help improve symptoms of conditions including male pattern baldness, female pattern hair loss, and alopecia areata [1-3].

If you’re considering using Minoxidil 5% to treat your own hair loss, it’s important to know more about the formula. Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Minoxidil 5%, including its effectiveness for treating hair loss, side effects, and whether it’s the right solution for you.

Table of Contents

What is Minoxidil 5%?

Minoxidil was originally intended to treat high blood pressure in hypertension patients. By accident, it was discovered that this medication could help regrow hair and slow hair loss.

Minoxidil works as a vasodilator. When you apply the topical solution to your scalp, it dilates the blood vessels beneath your skin. This helps more blood flow to the shrunken hair follicles which helps promote hair regrowth. It can also activate potassium channels in the hair follicle stem cells and peripheral artery cells, which can promote cell proliferation.

Infographic about how vasodilators work
Minoxidil 5% solution contains 5g of Minoxidil per 100ml of liquid. So it’s stronger than Minoxidil 2% and weaker than Minoxidil 10%, both of which may also be used to treat hair loss.

Is Minoxidil 5% good for hair?

Thanks to its vasodilatory properties and mild side effect profile, Minoxidil 5% is a good way to stop hair loss and promote hair regrowth. Research shows Minoxidil 5% is effective or very effective in 63.7% of users in halting hair loss [4].

One study found Minoxidil 5% reduced the size of balding areas in 62% of patients — almost two-thirds of Minoxidil users [4]. It also stopped the progression of hair loss in a further 35.1% of patients. Just 2.9% saw no improvements following Minoxidil use.

These images show the impact of using Minoxidil 5% [5-6]:

Before and after hair growth results in male pattern hair loss patient from Minoxidil 5% twice daily usage for 4 months.
Before and after use of Minoxidil 5% solution twice daily for 4 months.
Female patient photos at baseline and after six months of Carexidil use
Female patient photos at baseline and after six months of Carexidil use (a 5% Minoxidil solution).
Male patient photos at baseline and after six months of Carexidil use
Male patient photos at baseline and after six months of Carexidil use (a 5% Minoxidil solution).

Side effects of Minoxidil 5%

Minoxidil 5% is known to have some side effects, though these tend to be milder than with other treatments, such as Minoxidil 10%, Finasteride, and Dutasteride. Here are some of the most common side effects associated with Minoxidil 5% use:

These side effects can be more pronounced with Minoxidil 5% than lower concentrations. Hypertrichosis, in particular, may be a concerning side effect for women. You’re less likely to develop hypertrichosis with a Minoxidil 2% formula, which is why this is often recommended for women [7].

Does Minoxidil mess with your hormones?

No. Unlike 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like Finasteride and Dutasteride, Minoxidil 5% doesn’t act on your hormones. So it shouldn’t have any impact on your hormone levels.

Oral Minoxidil is often more effective than Minoxidil 5% [7]. However oral Minoxidil may have some systemic effects, meaning it can cause issues elsewhere in the body besides the scalp. That’s why this isn’t a first-line hair loss treatment, even though it can be very effective.

Does Minoxidil 5% cause weight gain?

There’s no evidence to suggest that topical Minoxidil can cause weight gain [7]. This may be a side effect of oral Minoxidil.

Can women use Minoxidil 5%?

Yes, Minoxidil 5% is generally a safe and effective solution for women’s hair loss [2, 7].

However, women must be aware of the risks of hypertrichosis when using higher Minoxidil concentrations, including Minoxidil 5% [8]. Hypertrichosis happens when you grow hair on the face, chest, back, or other parts of the body besides the scalp. If you’re concerned, try using Minoxidil 2% initially.

Hypertrichosis in a female hair loss patient.
Hypertrichosis in a female hair loss patient.
Even if you do experience hypertrichosis, many women find they can manage any excessive hair growth with waxing, shaving, or other methods of hair removal [9].

Minoxidil 5% foam vs solution

Minoxidil 5% comes in two forms: foam or solution. Both contain the same active ingredient and work in the same way. So the application type is really up to you.

Foam is often easier to apply, as it’s less likely to run into unaffected areas of the face or scalp.

How much Minoxidil 5% should I use?

Most patients are recommended to apply 1ml of Minoxidil 5% to the scalp twice a day. This is usually equivalent to one pump, spray, or pipette of Minoxidil solution.

Apply it to the affected areas on your scalp, then gently spread it across the balding areas on your hairline or crown with your fingertips. Allow the solution to dry. Wash your hands after every application.

Where to get Minoxidil 5%

You can get Minoxidil 5% from many pharmacies and hair loss clinics. It’s an over-the-counter medication, so you won’t need a prescription.

Should I use Minoxidil 5% for hair loss?

Minoxidil 5% is one of the most popular first-line treatments for mild to moderate hair loss. It tends to work best if it’s used early, so if you’re concerned about hair loss, Minoxidil 5% is a good place to start.

5% Minoxidil combined with Finasteride can boost the effectiveness of both treatments [10]. However, Finasteride is only available in prescription, and should only be used by men with male pattern baldness.

Other Minoxidil alternatives are also available if you don’t feel Minoxidil 5% is right for you. Speaking to a hair loss clinic is the best way to get tailored treatment recommendations based on your specific hair loss. Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to consult with our experienced advisors and get a bespoke, award-winning hair loss treatment plan.

Minoxidil 5%: Everything You Need To Know, Wimpole Clinic

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