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Topical Minoxidil Side Effects: What To Expect From Minoxidil Hair Loss Treatment

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Topical Minoxidil is a common hair loss treatment. It is available over the counter, can be used in men and women, and does a pretty good job at boosting hair growth in some people.

But, just because something is over the counter, doesn’t mean that there is no risk of side effects.

Luckily, it is unlikely that you will experience side effects from topical Minoxidil when used properly, and what may occur tends to be minor or self-limiting. In very rare cases, there may be more severe side effects from Minoxidil used topically, although these situations are unusual.

Below, we will cover the most common side effects from Minoxidil use, the more rare side effects, review the groups of people who should not use topical Minoxidil, and how to help prevent side effects from using this medication.

What are the most common side effects of topical Minoxidil?

The most commonly reported side effects from Minoxidil tend to be minor, and, since this is a topically applied medication, the side effects tend to only affect the area it is applied to -- the skin on the scalp.

Burning, stinging, redness, dryness, itching, or general skin irritation may occur on the scalp where the medication is applied. For some, these may go away with continued use, or if it is bad enough to warrant stopping the medication, the irritation will subside once the medication is stopped.

This irritation may be from the active ingredient (Minoxidil) itself, or it may be from the other ingredients in the product. Alcohol and propylene glycol are commonly used as solvents in these products, and they may be the real cause of the irritation. If you want to use Minoxidil products, but you suspect these solvent ingredients may be causing you some irritation, you may be able to get a prescription Minoxidil product made up at a compounding pharmacy without those ingredients. Our topical hair loss formulations with Minoxidil do not contain those solvents for this reason.

Some people may also notice the side effect of hair color changes from using Minoxidil, either to a lighter or darker color. 

We explain why some hair loss medications may cause hair color changes in our article:

What are the rare side effects of topical Minoxidil?

The more rare side effects that may occur with topical Minoxidil may happen when the medication is getting into circulation more than usual, or if you are having an allergic reaction to Minoxidil.

Minoxidil was initially used as a blood pressure medication, and it has the effect of dilating the blood vessels when it gets into the body. For some people, this can cause side effects if it happens.

The rare side effects of topical Minoxidil may include:

  • Very severe scalp irritation
  • Fast heart rate
  • Pain in the chest
  • Too much hair growth on the face
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Hand or feet swelling
  • Feeling like you may pass out
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Dizziness, confusion, or headache
  • Flushing, redness, warmth, or tingling feeling

If these side effects occur, talk to your doctor and get medical attention immediately.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use Minoxidil

Minoxidil should also not be used in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to the potential for risks to the child.

People who are under 18 years of age should also not use Minoxidil.

Minoxidil is meant only for adult men and women.

How to help prevent side effects from Minoxidil

The best way to help encourage a side-effect-free usage of Minoxidil is to closely follow the instructions on the package or from your doctor. Using this medication more often than prescribed or in larger amounts than recommended may lead to higher risks of side effects.

Do not use topical Minoxidil on open wounds or on skin that is already irritated.

If you have blood pressure issues, heart conditions, kidney, or liver problems, make sure to speak with your doctor to see if topical Minoxidil may be a good option for you.

Strut Health topical Minoxidil formulations prescribed online

Here at Strut, we formulate compounded hair loss medications that combine Minoxidil along with other medications to help limit hair loss like Finasteride and Dutasteride for men, or Spironolactone for women.

We have the capability to make the formula with higher strengths of Minoxidil than what you can find over the counter, as well as making the formula without common skin irritants like alcohol or propylene glycol.

If you are interested in seeing if our Minoxidil-containing hair loss formulations are a good fit for you, you can have a free online telemedicine questionnaire-based consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today.

If you are a good candidate for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our fast and free shipping.

If you have any questions or need adjustments during your treatment, our staff and doctors are available for free unlimited follow-ups.

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