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Guide To Topical Minoxidil Dosage To Treat Hair Loss

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Guide to Topical Minoxidil Dosage To Treat Hair Loss
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on June 16, 2022
Last Updated on January 14, 2024

For any man, losing your hair can feel like you're losing a part of your identity.

The second you start noticing more hair in your shower drain, your heart drops like you're going down a roller coaster.

The good news is you're not alone. The great news is several treatments available to help prevent further hair loss and even regrow new hair (Minoxidil in Canada).

One of the most famous of those treatments is minoxidil. But before you start taking it, it's essential to understand precisely what minoxidil dosage you should get so you don't get any adverse side effects. Remember, talk to your doctor first, and get the right prescription for you to minimize the negative impact.

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In this article, we'll talk about:

Why Male Pattern Baldness Happens

To better understand how minoxidil helps encourage hair growth, it's essential to know why male pattern baldness happens in the first place.

Male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss for men. More than 50% of men over 50 have been affected by male pattern baldness at some point in their lives. 

There are several contributing factors, including:

  1. Genetics
  2. Age
  3. Hormones
  4. Obesity
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Hypertension
  7. Iron deficiency
  8. Malnutrition
  9. Telogen effluvium (a disturbance in the hair growth cycle)
  10. Diseases like prostate cancer or diabetes 

It's best to have a doctor examine the root cause of your hair loss.

What Is Minoxidil, and How Does It Work?

Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment, usually bought over the counter. You've probably heard of its more famous brand name: Rogaine. Another popular hair loss treatment is finasteride (Propecia).

Minoxidil is available as a topical solution or in foam form. It belongs to a class of drugs called vasodilators. 

Minoxidil works by shortening the resting phase (telogen) of your hair growth cycle and pushing it into the active growth (anagen) phase. 

Every hair on a man's head goes through a growth cycle that typically lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 years. This includes the growth phase, resting phase, and finally, the shedding phase.

During the anagen phase of the cycle, your hair grows as long as it can. After anywhere from 2 to 6 years, it will move into the catagen phase, where your scalp "lets go" of the hair. Then, new hair grows out of the hair follicle and replaces the old hair.

However, when a man has male pattern hair loss, this growth cycle begins to weaken while the hair follicle shrinks. This makes the hair shorter and finer until, finally, it stops growing at all.

By shortening the telogen phase of the cycle, your hair spends a shorter amount of time "at rest" and begins the anagen phase, or growth phase, earlier. 

Minoxidil also improves blood flow throughout the scalp, which helps your hair get the nutrients it needs to grow fuller and thicker.

Together, these effects help stimulate the growth and thickness of your hair, even if it has grown relatively thin.

Read more: Mixing Minoxidil And Alcohol

Do You Lose More Hair When You Start Using Minoxidil?

Because minoxidil forces your hairs to enter the growth cycle prematurely, it might seem like you're actually losing more hair at first — but don't panic. This is a sign that it's working. 

This is because your hairs have to go through the shedding phases of your hair growth cycle before starting the growth phase again. 

Think of it as starting a new game with your hair—except this time, you have a better strategy and tools.

So, don't freak out when you first use minoxidil and notice more hair than usual on your pillow and in your drain. Just keep using minoxidil on your regular schedule. After a few months, the shedding should end as you enter a new phase of hair growth.

Does Minoxidil Really Work?

Yes! There have been several studies that have proven positive results for men that have male pattern hair loss.

In this study, a group of dermatologists compared the effects of topical minoxidil (5%) on almost a thousand men with androgenetic alopecia. 84.3% of the men reported that minoxidil was effective.

In another study taken in 2007, researchers compared topical minoxidil 5% to placebo over 16 weeks. Those who took minoxidil reported a significant increase in hair growth compared to those who took a placebo.  

With millions of men worldwide taking minoxidil, it's safe to say that it works.

How Do I Take Minoxidil?

Before taking minoxidil, read all the directions with the product and consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. 

To use minoxidil, thoroughly clean and dry your scalp before applying any medication. Using it on damp hair is okay.

If using the topical solution, fill the applicator to the 1-millilitre line. This is around 20 drops. Part your hair where your hair is thinning the most, and apply the solution as evenly as possible to the balding part of your scalp. 

After you do this, gently rub it in. Let the solution dry before putting other products like gel or mousse into your hair or before bed.

If you're using the foam version of Rogaine, clean your hands well before applying it. Use the foam dispenser to spread about 1/2 a capful of foam to your scalp and rub it evenly and gently into the balding area. Let the foam dry before styling or going to bed.

Read More: How to Use Minoxidil

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If you're having issues with scalp irritation, don't use minoxidil if your hair is coloured or treated with chemicals.

Do not apply minoxidil to any other part of your body unless specifically directed by your doctor to do so. Avoid getting it in your eyes. If you do, rinse your eyes out with cool water. Don't use minoxidil more than you were directed to. This can lead to serious side effects

Minoxidil takes time to regrow hair. Most people do not see any results until after four months of regular use. Also, it must be used continuously to maintain any hair growth. If you stop using it, you will lose the hair that you've regrown.

Now let's take a look at how much minoxidil to take for hair loss.

Read more: The Cost Of Minoxidil In Canada

What Minoxidil Dosage Should I Use?

One of the most common questions people have is how much minoxidil to take for hair growth. The minoxidil dose will depend on the patient's situation, so consult with a doctor first. 

Here is the average amount for how much minoxidil to take:

  1. Apply 1 millilitre of the topical solution to the scalp twice a day
  2. Apply half of one capful of the topical foam to the scalp twice a day

What If I Miss a Dose of Minoxidil?

We get it. Applying Rogaine to your hair twice a day can be quite a lot of work. If you do happen to miss a dose of minoxidil, use it as soon as possible.

However, if it's already almost time for the next dose, just skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule.

Read more: Minoxidil Warnings & Precautions

Is It Possible to Overdose on Minoxidil?

There is very little likelihood of significant overdosing effects or death when taking too much minoxidil. However, taking a higher dosage of minoxidil than recommended by the instructions or your doctor can lead to a higher risk of side effects.

Although not all of these side effects will happen, seek medical attention if you experience any of these.

Less common to rare side effects:

  1. Itchiness or skin rash
  2. Swelling of the face
  3. Increased hair loss 
  4. Reddened skin
  5. Facial hair growth
  6. Burning of scalp
  7. Inflammation or soreness at the root of your hair

Rare symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed into the body:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Rapid weight gain
  3. Flushing
  4. Headache
  5. Blurred vision or change in vision
  6. Dizziness
  7. Fainting
  8. Fast or irregular heartbeat
  9. Lightheadedness
  10. Numbness in hands, feet, or face
  11. Swelling of face, hands, feet, or lower legs

If you notice any of these side effects, contact a healthcare professional immediately. 

Key Takeaways

That's all you need to know about taking the correct minoxidil dosage for hair loss.

It's not too complicated, but don't take more than directed. It can be tempting to think that "more medicine equals more hair," but know this isn't true.

Have patience, and you'll be one of the 4 million other men worldwide experiencing hair regrowth. Consider the results that millions swear by if you're asking yourself, "Can minoxidil regrow hair?"

If you want to be one of those minoxidil success stories, you've already finished the first step by learning more about the medication.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.