Is Minoxidil Safe for Treating Women’s Hair Loss?


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First, a virtual hug. We know how you landed here…. It usually starts with noticing more hair shedding, or maybe a thinner ponytail or that your hair looks less full in newer pictures. 

For women, beauty is often intrinsically tied to our crowning glory — our hair. That means that the psychological effects of hair loss can feel embarrassing and depressing. We totally get it if you’ve been spiraling and obsessively Googling “does minoxidil work for women?” 

You’re not alone though. Studies have shown that more than half of all women experience hair thinning in their lifetime. 

Read on to find all the info you need to know about whether minoxidil is safe for women and how to actually use this hair loss treatment.

(Related: How to Prevent Hair Loss in Women)

Does Minoxidil Work for Women?

It’s one of the most researched hair loss treatments on the market, and numerous studies have shown that minoxidil works effectively as a hair loss treatment for both men and women. 

Rogaine, a popular brand name version of minoxidil, is probably one of the most commonly known treatments for female hair loss. If you’re here, we’re betting you’ve asked “does Rogaine for women work?” more than once. And while the answer is yes for many women, you can also choose from various generic forms of minoxidil in addition to the brand name. 

Think of minoxidil as fertilizer for your roots. Minoxidil helps move dormant hair follicles into the anagen phase, meaning they start growing instead of resting. It also extends the duration of the growth phase, meaning your hair follicles spend more time growing before each hair sheds from your scalp.

Minoxidil Results for Female Hair Growth?

Unlike many over-the-counter hair loss treatments, minoxidil is backed up by a large amount of scientific research — and unlike some other areas of research, we actually have studies with female participants. 

For example, a 48-week placebo-controlled study looked at the effects of 5% topical minoxidil and 2% topical minoxidil in 381 women with female pattern hair loss. 

The women in the study applied minoxidil twice a day and at the end of the 48 weeks, researchers found that hair regrowth and scalp coverage increased in both treatment groups.  

However, the prescription strength mattered — the 5% group experienced the best results and the 2% group experienced superior results to the placebo group.

What’s that mean for you? While results can vary from person to person, you should generally expect to see some improvement after using minoxidil for about two to four months. We recommend taking monthly check-in photos so you can compare your own progress with before and after shots. 

How to Use Minoxidil for Women

We like options — whether it’s what DoorDash® is offering on a Tuesday night or the type of minoxidil we use. Minoxidil comes in two forms: an FDA-approved topical, and the emerging-but-not-yet-FDA-approved oral minoxidil. There’s also a new option that combines minoxidil with finasteride. 

Learn more about all three below.

Topical Minoxidil

If you prefer a topical solution to pills, you can usually opt for a minoxidil foam (this version contains 5% minoxidil) or drops, like this version with 2% minoxidil.

Applying it is easy as one, two, three:

  1. The jury is still out on whether it’s best to apply minoxidil to a dry scalp or damp scalp, but make sure you at least towel dry your hair, so you aren’t applying minoxidil to soaking wet hair.

  2. Apply the minoxidil solution to the affected areas of your scalp, which for most women is the center of head and part area. If necessary, you can spread the minoxidil solution over the target area using your fingers. If you apply minoxidil with your fingers, be sure to wash your hands immediately. We’re all for the body positive hair movement but we’re assuming you may not want unwanted hair growth on your fingertips, ya know?

  3. For best absorption, allow the minoxidil to dry naturally and do not use a hairdryer to dry the liquid solution. It’s best to avoid wearing hats or other garments that cover your scalp in the two to four hours after using minoxidil.

You should also avoid shampooing your hair for those four hours after using minoxidil, to get the most bang for your buck. No need to throw money away, right? This means you might want to wash your hair and scalp before applying the treatment.

Oral Minoxidil

Recent studies have shown that low-dose oral minoxidil can be an effective treatment for numerous hair disorders, including female-patterned hair loss (FPHL).  While many healthcare providers will prescribe it off-label, we do need to note that oral minoxidil isn’t actually approved by the FDA to treat hair loss in women.

This once-daily pill is as easy as throwing back a glass of water. Oral minoxidil might be especially great for women who don’t like to wash hair often (no judgment here) or dry shampoo devotees, since this won’t alter your styling options. 

Additionally, if you’ve tried topical minoxidil in the past and it didn’t work for you, you may have better luck with the oral form. Minoxidil requires the presence of an enzyme called follicular sulfotransferase, and oral minoxidil deems to require less enzymatic activity to become activated. So while a topical treatment won’t work in this case, an oral form may help. 

The good news is that oral minoxidil works just as well as the topical kind. A study comparing 1mg of oral minoxidil to 5% topical minoxidil showed that the two have comparable results. Now, that feels promising. 

Minoxidil and Finasteride Hair Growth Spray

A combination of 6% minoxidil and 0.3% finasteride meet in this prescription-strength topical spray. While minoxidil has been the gold standard for treating women’s hair loss,  finasteride also shows promise

Currently, oral finasteride is only FDA-approved to treat androgenetic alopecia in men. But more recently, topical finasteride has been used-label for women as a hair loss treatment, especially combined with minoxidil. 

(Related: How Much Hair Do You Lose in a Day?)

Minoxidil and Side Effects

Depending on the formulation, the most common topical minoxidil side effects are:

  • Scalp irritation or rash at the application site

  • Scalp itchiness or flaking

  • Slight burning sensation

  • Headache

For oral minoxidil, side effects can include:

  • Hypertrichosis

  • Edema

  • Tachycardia

  • Hypotension

  • Pericarditis

  • Effusion

  • Tamponade

While side effects are rare, it’s always best to check with your dermatologist or healthcare provider for the most appropriate medical advice, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The Final Word on Minoxidil for Women 

So can women use minoxidil? You betcha! And better yet, you’ve got treatment options, so don’t settle. Like dating, keep an open mind and find the hair loss treatment that best works for your type of hair loss. To sum it up, you’ve got:

  • Topical minoxidil (in both 2% drops and 5% foam formulations) 

  • Oral minoxidil 

  • Minoxidil and finasteride spray 

And if none of the above seem to be working for you, keep in mind that there are other options you can try, such as spironolactone and supplements like biotin gummies. And our hair loss kit includes biotin gummies as well as DHT shampoo, another product used to encourage hair growth. If you want to learn more about your options to treat hair loss, our guide to female pattern baldness is a great place to start.

If you’ve already made the decision that you’re ready for hair loss treatment, meet with one of our medical providers online right from your own home.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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7 TikTok Weight Loss Trends Ranked By an Expert

7 TikTok Weight Loss Trends Ranked By an Expert

Spend a while scrolling through social media, especially TikTok, and odds are you’ll encounter someone enthusiastically sharing their experience with a new fitness or weight loss program. These days, it can feel like health and wellness challenges are proliferating so quickly it’s hard to keep up. By the time you’ve got your fitness equipment ready to jump onto one, there’s a new one taking the internet by storm.

But how effective are the hashtag-friendly regimens we’ve been seeing more of lately, and what makes them so alluring anyway? Well, like most things, the answers depend on a lot of complicated factors. But there are some important throughlines.

In general, we tend to be drawn to challenges like the “30-30-30 approach,” which has recently gone viral on TikTok, when they speak to a need we’ve already identified for ourselves. If you know that you’ve been wanting to lose weight, the simple structure of 30-30-30 (eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up followed by 30 minutes of exercise) just might help you harness some motivation to get started on that journey. And if you experience some initial success within the framework of a specific, focused challenge—as opposed to a more nebulous resolution to lose weight—you may also notice an uptick in inspiration to keep going. 

Another important factor helps explain why joining these programs can sometimes lead to a boost in willpower: Many popular challenges are social undertakings, explains Jessica Yu, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and Sr. Director of Patient Experience at Hims & Hers. “There’s that sense of being part of a bigger movement,” she says. “Human beings, by nature, are social creatures, so we love the idea of being part of something that’s bigger than ourselves.”

So does that mean anyone interested in weight loss should rush to pick from the expanding menu of social media-friendly fitness regimens? Are we all doomed to repeat the chaotic, even dangerous missteps of the TidePod challenge era? Not quite. 

We asked Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA, a physician specializing in obesity medicine and Senior Vice President of Weight Loss  at Hims & Hers, to share his thoughts on some of the most viral weight loss challenges and trends circulating online. Here’s his take on seven popular methods, ranked from best to worst according to what’s most effective and sustainable.

    Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

    Cutting out alcohol for an entire month

    “This one’s a bit of a no-brainer for anyone who’s normally a social drinker. Its positive effects extend to many different parts of the body, and it’s hard to argue with as a boost to weight loss: At the most basic level, cutting back on alcohol means cutting out unnecessary calories. That may be especially effective among young people, who are most likely to see their drinking habits contribute to obesity risk. Ditching the booze also means you’re likely to sleep better and have more energy overall, which makes it a lot easier to get consistent exercise. And, best of all, cutting alcohol for a full month might make it easier to realize that you don’t always need it in social situations. Some people who go back to consuming alcohol after an initial Dry January challenge say that they find themselves drinking less or reconsidering their relationship to alcohol.”


    Concentrating your eating in specific hours of the day

    “Intermittent fasting has been obviously huge for about five to eight years now. It’s been shown to work just as well as standard, caloric-restriction dieting. It may even be a little bit better in people with insulin resistance or diabetes. It’s sustainable for some people, but not everyone. Time-restricted eating, the most common kind, is best when it makes sense for people’s lifestyles. For example, you probably aren’t going to succeed if you try to stop eating for the entire day at 2 pm. But it’s often possible—and effective—to structure your day so that you’re not doing much eating after, say, 7 p.m.”


    “There are lots of reasons to love this one—not even for weight loss, per se. Running, or even just walking, one mile a day is good exercise without being overpowering. Most people can do it, and it’s not timed. Exercise is a keystone habit, so when you’re exercising regularly, you’re also likely to sleep better. When you sleep better, you can diet better—and have energy to exercise. So on and so forth.”

    (Related: Ozempic For Weight Loss)


    Setting your treadmill to an incline of 12 and speed of 3 miles per hour, walking for 30 minutes

    “I would say this one’s firmly in the middle, neither good nor bad. I only heard about this recently, in part because there’s no medical science behind it. It was done by an influencer, who saw a noticeable change after she tried it. I don’t doubt that she found it helpful, but the average person who has a medium amount of weight to lose may find it very hard to start out at 12% incline for 30 minutes. If it had a ramp-up in the first two weeks—maybe starting at less of an incline or for fewer than 30 minutes—I would think it’s more sustainable. That said, if you are able to do it, I think it’s a solid one, especially if you’re aiming for four to five days a week rather than every single day.” 


    A nutritional change program that requires eliminating foods such as dairy, grains and added sugar from your diet

    “I think this is going to be one of the challenges that causes people problems because it’s avoidance-based. Avoid, avoid, avoid—and what a long list, too! It seems to encourage all-or-nothing thinking as well, which we know can be very counterproductive. If you take one bite of something with dairy in it, for example, you’d need to start all over again. That feels needlessly punitive to me. Unless you’ve got allergies, one bite of pretty much anything isn’t going to kill you.”

    (Related: Weight Loss Medications: Are They Effective?


    A “mental toughness” program in which you must adhere to a set diet, cut alcohol, drink a gallon of water, work out twice, read 10 pages of a non-fiction book and take a progress photo—every single day for 75 days (or, in the modified version, 30 days)

    “Did you get tired just reading that? I did. And I really don’t like this one. First of all, because the diet portion isn’t set by the program, we actually don’t have any proof that someone sticking to whatever diet they pick for 75 or 30 days will have the desired effects. The exercise portion is outlandish for anyone who’s not already in a consistent fitness routine. Going from zero to 100 here would be close to impossible for most people—how many working people have an hour and a half in our days to start exercising twice and reading non-fiction books? The answer drops even lower if you consider people with kids. And if you fail any one day, you have to start all over again. I know two people who’ve done it and were really excited about the accomplishment, but I can tell you for sure that when their 75 days are over, they’re not sticking to the same regimen. It really doesn’t encourage good long-term habits.” 


    Eating according to hunger and satiety cues

    “I know that this works for many people, and some of my frustration is rooted in my own personal biases on this one. It’s also been around forever. There’s a book called Intuitive Eating that was first published almost 30 years ago. I understand the appeal of the premise—if you’ve been on a ton of diets before, of course it’s refreshing to consider acting like you’re not on one. But the average American who struggles with their weight doesn’t necessarily believe they’re on a strict diet day to day. Without clear guidance for how to shift your relationship to food and really listen to your body’s cues, this strikes me as too wishy-washy to really work. And, crucially, many people with obesity and other diseases don’t have the same food cues that other people do. They either get hungry faster or they stay hungry longer. To me, telling someone with a disease that affects their hunger cues to simply snap out of it feels a little like telling a depressed person to just cheer up.”


    Where does that leave people who are serious about weight loss and looking for the lifestyle-change support that challenges can provide? Well, a number of the challenges above are intriguing, as Dr. Primack notes. But if you want to help setting realistic goals or evaluating new reports about diet trends, try measuring any proposed regimen against the SMART criteria: Is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (or relevant) and timely? That can be an incredibly helpful tool.

    And of course, don’t be afraid to seek out additional help from physicians and dietitians if you’ve been going it alone for a long time already. Losing weight can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

    This article originally appeared on Hers.comand was syndicated by

    JLco – Julia Amaral/istockphoto


    Featured Image Credit: Kamonwan Wankaew/istockphoto.