Minoxidil Journey: How Long Before Minoxidil Starts Working?

Have you been diagnosed with hair loss and want to know how long before Minoxidil starts working? Read our Article on Minoxidil Journey: How Long Before Minoxidil Starts Working?

Do you wonder how long it takes Minoxidil, the well-known hair regrowth solution, to begin displaying outcomes? Tackling hair loss can be a tough and emotional experience. In this article, we’ll explore the factors influencing the effectiveness of Minoxidil, discuss the average time it takes for visible progress, and offer some tips to maximize its benefits.


Minoxidil is a medication used to treat high blood pressure and baldness and is marketed under Rogaine as a hair loss treatment. Initially introduced as an oral medication for high blood pressure, Minoxidil’s potent hair growth properties were serendipitously discovered as a side effect. Consequently, this discovery has led to the development of Minoxidil as a dedicated hair loss treatment.


Available in varying concentrations, with 2% and 5% being the most prevalent, Minoxidil is suitable for both men and women. It targets hair follicles, enhances blood flow to the scalp, and extends the hair growth cycle known as the anagen phase. These mechanisms foster thicker, fuller, and healthier hair over time.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

When applied topically, Minoxidil operates through intricate mechanisms to stimulate hair growth and combat thinning hair. Let’s explore the ways in which Minoxidil works its magic.


Minoxidil increases the diameter of blood vessels as a vasodilator, allowing for improved blood flow to the scalp. This enhanced circulation delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, supporting their health and growth.

Prolonging the Anagen Phase:

The hair growth cycle consists of three primary phases:

  • Active growth- Anagen
  • Transition- Catagen
  • Resting- Telogen

Minoxidil works to extend the anagen phase, resulting in longer, thicker, and healthier hair over time.

Revitalizing Dormant Hair Follicles

Minoxidil can reactivate dormant hair follicles, encouraging them to produce new hair strands. This process contributes to increased hair density and volume.

Increasing Hair Follicle Size

Minoxidil not only promotes hair growth but also increases the size of hair follicles. As a result, hair strands become thicker and more robust, giving the appearance of fuller hair.

Suppressing Androgen Receptors

Minoxidil may also help reduce hair loss caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by suppressing androgen receptors in hair follicles. This action helps prevent DHT from binding to these receptors, ultimately protecting hair follicles from its damaging effects.

Minoxidil and the Hair Growth Cycle

Exploring the relationship between Minoxidil and the hair growth cycle is essential to understand better its effectiveness and role in promoting hair growth. The hair growth cycle comprises three primary phases: anagen, Catagen, and telogen.

(Active Growth) Anagen Phase

During the anagen phase, which lasts two to six years, hair follicles actively grow new strands. Minoxidil plays a crucial role in this phase by prolonging its duration, allowing hair to grow longer, thicker, and healthier. The increased blood flow to the scalp, facilitated by Minoxidil’s vasodilatory properties, ensures that the hair follicles receive essential nutrients and oxygen, leading to optimal hair growth.

(Transition) Catagen Phase

The Catagen phase lasts around two to three weeks, during which the hair follicles transition from active growth to the resting phase. While Minoxidil’s primary effects are seen during the anagen phase, its ability to improve overall hair follicle health may help minimize hair loss during the Catagen phase.

(Resting) Telogen Phase

The telogen phase lasts for approximately three months, when hair follicles are dormant and old hair strands are shed. Minoxidil influences this phase by reactivating dormant hair follicles, encouraging them to enter the anagen phase and produce new hair strands. This process results in increased hair density and volume.

Overall, Minoxidil’s interaction with the hair growth cycle is multifaceted. By prolonging the anagen phase, reactivating dormant hair follicles, and improving hair follicle health, Minoxidil effectively stimulates hair regrowth and combats thinning hair. With consistent and long-term use, individuals experiencing hair loss can expect to improve their hair growth and overall health significantly.

Minoxidil and Types of Hair Loss

To appreciate Minoxidil’s effectiveness, exploring the relationship between Minoxidil and the various types of hair loss is essential. Minoxidil can assist in addressing several prevalent hair loss types, such as:

(Pattern Hair Loss) Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern hair loss, is the most common type. Minoxidil is FDA-approved for treating androgenetic alopecia and works by prolonging the growth phase of hair follicles, increasing blood flow to the scalp, and reactivating dormant hair follicles. This process results in thicker, healthier hair and slowed hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a temporary hair loss condition caused by stress, hormonal fluctuations, or nutritional deficiencies. While Minoxidil is not specifically approved to treat telogen effluvium, it can help by stimulating the hair follicles to re-enter the active growth phase, counteracting the excessive shedding and thinning associated with this condition.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss in small, round patches. Minoxidil effectively promotes hair regrowth in some cases of alopecia areata by stimulating hair follicle activity and improving blood flow to affected areas.

Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia results from excessive tension and pulling on the hair, typically due to tight hairstyles or hair extensions. Minoxidil may assist in treating traction alopecia by promoting hair growth in affected areas and supporting overall hair follicle health. However, addressing the underlying cause (i.e., changing hairstyles or reducing tension) is crucial to prevent further hair loss. It’s important to note that Minoxidil’s effectiveness varies among individuals, and the results may differ depending on the severity and cause of hair loss. Consulting with a dermatologist or hair loss specialist is recommended to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for specific hair loss conditions.

How Long Does Minoxidil Take to Work?

Minoxidil has become a popular treatment option for those dealing with hair loss. However, it’s essential to understand the time frame required to see visible results from this medication. Here’s a breakdown of how long it typically takes for Minoxidil to work:

Initial Results

Most users will notice gradual hair regrowth within 2 to 4 months of consistently applying Minoxidil. During this time, it’s common for some individuals to experience increased shedding as the medication stimulates new hair growth and pushes out older, weaker hairs. This shedding is temporary and should not be a cause for concern.

Optimal Results:

Optimal results from Minoxidil use generally occur between 6 and 12 months after starting the treatment. By this time, users will likely experience an improvement in hair density and a reduction in hair loss. It’s important to remember that results may vary from person to person, and factors such as the severity of hair loss, the underlying cause, and the individual’s response to the medication can impact the time it takes to see improvements.

Maintaining Results:

To maintain the positive effects of Minoxidil, continuous use is necessary. Discontinuing the treatment will likely result in a gradual return to the previous pattern of hair loss. It is advised to consult with a dermatologist or hair loss specialist to discuss long-term treatment plans and any concerns regarding Minoxidil use.

Patience and consistency are key when using Minoxidil to treat hair loss. While it may take several months to notice significant results, this medication has been proven effective for many individuals dealing with various types of hair loss.

Minoxidil and Hair Shedding: Understanding the Process

Minoxidil, a widely recognized hair loss treatment, is known to cause an initial increase in hair shedding before showing improved hair growth. This temporary phenomenon can be daunting, but understanding its cause can help users maintain confidence in their treatment plan.

Hair Growth Cycle and Shedding:

The hair growth cycle consists of three phases – anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting). Minoxidil works by extending the anagen phase, promoting new hair growth. The increased shedding occurs as older hairs are pushed out to make room for the new growth, indicating that the treatment works.

Adjustment Period:

As individuals start their Minoxidil treatment, the hair follicles adjust. This period typically lasts a few weeks to a couple of months. During this time, older hairs are shed before entering the growth phase.

Managing Hair Shedding:

It’s essential to remain patient during the initial stages of Minoxidil treatment, as the shedding is usually temporary. Consistent use should improve hair growth and density within a few months. However, consulting with a dermatologist or hair loss specialist is recommended if shedding persists or worsens.

Continued Use

To maintain the positive effects of Minoxidil, it’s crucial to continue using the medication as prescribed. Discontinuing treatment may cause hair loss to resume, making consistent use necessary for sustained results.

Minoxidil’s Effectiveness: An Overview

Minoxidil has long been recognized as an effective treatment option for hair loss, specifically androgenetic alopecia, in both men and women. Numerous clinical studies have supported its efficacy as an FDA-approved medication.

Benefits for Men

Clinical trials have shown that approximately 40% of men experience hair regrowth after using Minoxidil for 3-6 months. The treatment is most effective for men under the age of 40 who are in the early stages of hair loss and have a smaller area of hair loss.

Benefits for Women

Minoxidil has also proven effective for women experiencing hair thinning or androgenetic alopecia. In clinical studies, approximately 60% of women reported hair regrowth after consistent use for 6-12 months. Women generally use a lower concentration (2%) compared to men (5%) but may still experience significant improvement.

Individual Results

It’s important to note that Minoxidil’s effectiveness varies from person to person. Factors such as the severity of hair loss, the underlying cause, and the individual’s response to the medication can impact the results. Consistency and patience are key to achieving optimal outcomes.

Minoxidil has demonstrated its effectiveness in treating hair loss for many individuals. Although results may vary, many men and women have experienced hair regrowth and reduced hair loss after consistently using this FDA-approved medication.


The question of how long it takes for Minoxidil to start working varies for each individual. Typically, users can expect results after 3-6 months of consistent use, with more noticeable improvements occurring between 6-12 months. The effectiveness of Minoxidil depends on factors such as the severity of hair loss, the underlying cause, and the individual’s response to the medication. Patience and consistent application are crucial for achieving optimal results.

While Minoxidil-induced hair shedding can be concerning initially, it’s essential to remember that this is a temporary side effect and a sign that the treatment is working. By continuing to use Minoxidil as prescribed and consulting with a healthcare professional when necessary, users have the best chance of experiencing significant hair regrowth and reduced hair loss.

By Dr. Amir Bacchus, MD, MBA

  • Education: Dr. Bacchus received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, where he was named Resident of the Year for both 1993-94 and 1995-96. In 2003, he received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Bacchus has also been recognized by Las Vegas Life Magazine as one of the best doctors in Las Vegas.
  • Professional Memberships: As the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Diagnostic Center of Medicine in Las Vegas, he led a 27-primary care physician practice at five Las Vegas offices. Before taking on a leadership role with the Diagnostic Center of Medicine, he worked as an internist for the company, providing primary care and inpatient/outpatient management with a significant intensive care unit workload.
  • Research Areas: With 23 years of experience in operating, managing, and guiding physician groups, Dr. Amir Bacchus, engages providers to succeed in a dynamic healthcare landscape. Much of his career has focused on healthcare delivery and working with managed care organizations to promote improved quality, access, and cost of care through quality and performance metrics.