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Nanoxidil Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on March 26, 2024

Nanoxidil is a relatively new hair loss formula that was first released in 2011. Specifically formulated to tackle male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss, Nanoxidil is claimed to have fewer side effects than other medications, while still reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth.

Despite having been around for more than a decade and promising early studies, there’s still limited evidence for Nanoxidil use. So it’s not currently a widely used hair loss formula.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Nanoxidil for treating hair loss, including:

  • What Nanoxidil is and how it works
  • The results you can expect from Nanoxidil in before and after photos
  • How Nanoxidil measures up against Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Table of Contents

What is Nanoxidil?

Nanoxidil is a hair loss drug specifically formulated to tackle androgenetic alopecia in men and women. Unlike Minoxidil and Finasteride, whose hair growth properties were discovered by accident [1], Nanoxidil is purpose-built to address hair loss.

Because of this, Nanoxidil can be used by both men and women, making it a breakthrough drug in the fight against women’s hair loss.

Nanoxidil has a similar structure to Minoxidil, but with a lower molecular weight. In theory, this helps improve absorption of the active ingredient, though there’s not much robust evidence to support this just yet [2].

Nanoxidil is designed to tackle hair loss from several angles. It’s said to increase blood flow to the hair follicles, improve drug absorption, reduce scalp inflammation, and cause fewer side effects than other hair loss drugs. While the research is limited, there are a few studies that show promising results for the use of Nanoxidil as a topical hair loss treatment.

Does Nanoxidil work?

There haven’t been many large-scale studies into the effectiveness of Nanoxidil to stimulate hair growth. However, the existing research suggests that Nanoxidil does work for hair loss.

One study found that 75% of patients with female pattern hair loss who applied Spectral DNC-N — the original hair loss formula containing Nanoxidil — twice a day for three months saw an increase in overall scalp hair density [3].

Another slightly smaller study found that the same Nanoxidil formula could improve hair count by 28.6% after just three months in patients with elevated hair shedding and moderate hair thinning [4].

Some other small-scale studies (i.e. including 28 participants or less) also indicate the effectiveness of Nanoxidil for hair loss [5-6].

Nanoxidil effectiveness study details

  • One study included 49 female participants with confirmed early female pattern hair loss and recent excessive hair shedding [3].
  • After three months of treatment, the average investigator-assessed hair shedding score had decreased from 3.5 to 2.0 and hair mass increased from 75.8 to 84.3.
  • After six months, the hair shedding score decreased further to 1.6, and hair mass was maintained.
  • Researchers also found high tolerability of the drug.
  • A second study included eight female patients and 19 male patients aged 21 to 60 [4].
  • After three months’ treatment, target area hair count increased by 28.6%, while hair density also increased significantly.
  • There was also a reduction in hair follicle inflammation after three months of treatment.
  • Both men and women were found to tolerate Spectral DNC-N well in this study.

Nanoxidil results: before and after

Nanoxidil may be an effective hair loss treatment for androgenetic alopecia. So how do these results look in real life?

These before and after Nanoxidil photos of male pattern hair loss patients were taken at baseline and after 90 days of Spectral DNC-N use [5]:

Before and after photos of taking Nanoxidil for 90 days to promote hair growth
Before and after photos of taking Nanoxidil for 90 days to promote hair growth
Before and after photos of new hair growth by taking Nanoxidil
Before and after photos of new hair growth by taking Nanoxidil
Before and after photos of taking Nanoxidil in a male pattern hair loss patient
Before and after photos of taking Nanoxidil in a male pattern hair loss patient
Results from taking Nanoxidil for 90 days
Results from taking Nanoxidil for 90 days
Hair growth results from taking Nanoxidil for 90 days
Hair growth results from taking Nanoxidil for 90 days

In addition, these clinical photos of female hair loss patients before, during, and after treatment suggest Nanoxidil can work for women, too:

hair growth results in a female patient who took Nanoxidil
hair growth results in a female pattern hair loss patient who took Nanoxidil
Before and after Nanoxidil results in a female patient after 6 months
Female patient at baseline and after six months of Nanoxidil treatment.

What are the side effects of Nanoxidil?

So far, relatively few side effects of Nanoxidil have been reported. All studies note that the drug is well tolerated.

Side effects that have been reported include [3, 5]:

  • Skin irritation (small red bumps that cleared up with a reduced dosage)
  • Skin dryness
  • Mild to moderate skin redness
  • Oiliness/promoting greasy hair

Most clinical trials have only taken place over a relatively short timeframe, so it’s unclear if there are side effects associated with long-term use of Nanoxidil.

Alternatives to Nanoxidil

Many hair loss drugs are more established than Nanoxidil, and have a larger body of evidence supporting their use. Here are some of the best alternatives to Nanoxidil:

  • Minoxidil — A topical solution that’s suitable for men and women with various types of alopecia.
  • Finasteride — An oral tablet suitable for men with male pattern baldness (it’s especially effective for crown hair loss).
  • Topical Finasteride — A topical solution that uses the same active ingredient as the oral version of Finasteride, with promising results in clinical trials.
  • Dutasteride — An oral tablet that works in a similar way to Finasteride (topical Dutasteride may also be effective alongside derma rolling for hair growth).
  • Hair transplant — For widespread hair loss, a hair transplant is often the most effective way to restore your hair.

Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil vs Finasteride

Since Nanoxidil was designed to compete with other treatments for male and female pattern baldness, how does it measure up against the most popular treatments?

This table shows the key differences between Nanoxidil, Minoxidil, and Finasteride.

Standard dosage5% solution2% or 5% solution1ml oral tablet
UsageApply to the affected area twice a dayApply to the affected area twice a dayTake one tablet per day
EffectivenessUp to 75% of patients see increased global hair density [3]Up to 74.2% of patients see hair density improvements [76]Up to 83% of patients see no further hair loss after a year of use [87]
Side effectsScalp redness, dryness, oiliness, and irritationScalp irritation, itchiness, temporary hair shedding, changes in hair colourTemporary hair shedding, erectile dysfunction, lower sex drive, testicular discomfort, skin rashes

Nanoxidil and Minoxidil share a similar effectiveness and safety profile. However, Minoxidil is much more widely researched than Nanoxidil, so a lot more is known about patient tolerance and the drug’s efficacy.

Learn more about Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil.

While Finasteride does have more potential side effects, it tends to be more effective than both Nanoxidil and Minoxidil. By lowering the body’s dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, Finasteride can stop the cause of pattern baldness at the source.

However, Finasteride isn’t suitable for women, so Nanoxidil may provide a better hair loss treatment option for women with thinning hair.

Book your free hair loss consultation

If you’re not sure which hair loss medication is most suitable for you, our team can help. Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic for impartial advice on using Nanoxidil, or a hair loss treatment of your choice.

Nanoxidil Guide: Uses, Results & Side Effects, Wimpole Clinic

Nanoxidil FAQs

Still unsure whether to try Nanoxidil for your hair loss? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this treatment.

While Nanoxidil appears to lead to new hair growth in the medium- and long-term, the current research doesn’t explore the link between Nanoxidil and temporary short-term hair shedding.

However, it’s possible that using Nanoxidil will lead to some initial hair shedding. Effective hair loss treatments typically expand the growth phase of the hair growth cycle, leading to a shorter telogen (resting) phase which brings about the exogen (shedding) phase more quickly. That’s why Minoxidil shedding and Finasteride shedding are common side effects of these treatments.

Even if Nanoxidil does cause hair shedding, this is likely to be temporary. Visible hair regrowth is possible within just three months.

Yes, Nanoxidil is safe and effective for women with hair loss.

According to DS Laboratories, it’s safe to use Nanoxidil and Minoxidil together [9]. However, there’s currently no evidence to suggest this will improve hair growth.

If you wish to use both, the company recommends using one product in the morning and the other at night.

Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on March 26, 2024
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