Minoxidil 10% and 15%: Is High Strength More Effective For Hair Growth?


Written by:

Time changes everything, from what we care about to what we google. As a younger guy, for instance — actually, we’re not going to guess at what you googled on an incognito browser. But over time, let’s just say that adult content categories may have been replaced. 

Now, as an adult, your gradual signs of balding may have you searching for hair loss types and treatment options such as minoxidil. 

If you’re learning about minoxidil for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions. Much like another well-known hair treatment called finasteride, minoxidil is scientifically proven to stimulate hair regrowth and potentially help men with male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, regrow “lost” hair.

But when it comes to your hairline, things are a little fuzzy. There’s some debate online about whether or not minoxidil works on the hairs around the hairline, despite evidence that minoxidil is effective at promoting hair growth on the entire scalp.

Below, we’ve dug into the science behind minoxidil to give you a deeper understanding of how this popular hair loss medication works, why it’s effective and why it’s worth considering if your hairline is starting to thin and recede.

Does Minoxidil Work on a Receding Hairline?

Let’s make this clear: yes, minoxidil works. Or at least it often does — many men report an increase in hair growth and density after using minoxidil for several months.

And that effectiveness isn’t altered by proximity to your hairline, because the hair follicles in your hairline aren’t significantly different from the hair follicles on your scalp or crown. 

In other words, if you’re losing hair at your hairline, you should still experience the full benefits of minoxidil in that area of your scalp. 

Research supports this. One 2019 review looked at several studies that showed minoxidil to be “remarkably” effective in helping patients recover hair that was on the decline before treatment. Most studies showed significant increases in density by the end of respective trials.

In addition to the research mentioned above, there are also countless anecdotal reports of men with receding hairlines or mature hairlines noticing improved growth and thickness after adding minoxidil to their hair growth routines. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the scientific research on minoxidil as a frontal hair loss treatment isn’t as extensive as the research on its effectiveness as a treatment for hair loss around the crown of your scalp.

Given that, it’s best to think of any increased hair growth that happens near your hairline as a nice bonus of using minoxidil, not as its sole intended effect.

(RelatedDo Hair Growth Products Work?)

How to Regrow Your Frontal Hairline Using Minoxidil

On a scale of “ham sandwich” to “rocket science” minoxidil is somewhere around “brushing your teeth,” as far as ease of use goes. If you can’t figure this stuff out, we don’t want to see you try and follow an origami tutorial.

To use minoxidil for a receding hairline, all you have to do is follow the steps below:

  • Apply minoxidil twice a day. Minoxidil is generally used twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed.

  • Check the instructions for your form of minoxidil. Minoxidil is available as an oral medication, a liquid solution and foam. Check the instructions and apply the amount of minoxidil listed on your product’s label.

  • Gently rub minoxidil into your scalp. After applying minoxidil to areas of your scalp with hair loss, use your fingertips to gently massage it into your skin.

  • Wash your hands after applying minoxidil. Make sure to carefully wash your hands using warm water and soap to remove any remaining minoxidil solution or foam. 

How Does Minoxidil Work on Your Hairline? 

Minoxidil is a topical hair loss medication that is also available as an oral medication. It belongs to a class of drugs known as vasodilators, which work by dilating your blood vessels and improving blood flow throughout your body. 

Although minoxidil’s precise mechanism of action isn’t totally known, it’s believed that this medication interacts with a type of enzyme called sulfotransferases and becomes active as minoxidil sulfate.

As minoxidil sulfate, minoxidil shortens your hair’s telogen phase — the resting phase of the hair growth cycle — and moves your hair follicles into an active growth state, referred to as the anagen phase.

Minoxidil may also extend the length of each hair follicle’s growth phase, allowing your hairs to grow longer and increasing your average hair diameter. This can treat types of hair loss like telogen effluvium (sudden hair thinning).

Androgenetic alopecia — the type of hair loss that can cause frontal baldness (also known as female pattern baldness or male pattern hair loss) — occurs as a result of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, attaching to receptors in your scalp and miniaturizing your hair follicles.

Unlike finasteride, a prescription medication for male pattern baldness that works by reducing DHT levels throughout your body, minoxidil doesn’t have any effects on your production of DHT or other hormones.

Instead, minoxidil works solely at the scalp level to increase your hair count and produce an increase in hair growth locally. You can read about the timeline for this in our guide to how long minoxidil takes to work.

It’s best to think of minoxidil as a local solution that can help improve your hair growth at the scalp level, while finasteride is designed to shield your hair follicles from DHT. This differing mechanism of action is one reason why some people believe minoxidil isn’t effective for treating and preventing hair loss that can occur around your hairline, or frontal baldness. 

The History of Minoxidil for Thinning Hair

In its early days, before this topical treatment was developed and promoted as a mainstream hair loss treatment, minoxidil was developed as a treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure).

After identifying that oral minoxidil produced hair growth as a noticeable side effect, researchers developed a topical medication to repurpose as a hair loss treatment for men suffering from androgenic alopecia.

As part of its FDA-approval process, the company that makes minoxidil launched large-scale clinical tests throughout the US in the late 1970s, with testing continuing throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. The efficacy side of this testing primarily focused on minoxidil’s effects on hair growth around the scalp and crown.

For example, one study from 1986 focused on the effects of minoxidil on balding around the crown. In the study, 53 percent of participants experienced significant hair growth.

Because of that, many other studies on minoxidil also specifically focused on balding around the scalp and crown.

Most other studies of minoxidil have assessed hair growth on the scalp, rather than the hairline. One study published in 2002 tested 5% minoxidil solution and 2% minoxidil solution, again by assessing change in hair coverage around the scalp. 

More recently, researchers have started to formally study the efficacy of minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss around the hairline.

One study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2015 assessed the effectiveness of minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss near the vertex scalp, or crown, as well as the frontal scalp, or hairline.

This study, which featured 16 healthy male participants, found that minoxidil was effective as a hair loss treatment and produced improvements in both areas of the scalp. In simple terms, it appears to work just as well around the hairline as it does in other areas affected by hair loss.

(RelatedFinasteride & Minoxidil: The Most Effective Hair Loss Combo?)

Side Effects of Minoxidil for Hairline Regrowth

Minoxidil is generally a safe and effective medication. However, like with all medications, there are a few side effects and risks that you should be aware of before adding this to your hair loss prevention toolkit. And the side effects you experience will depend on whether you take minoxidil orally or use it as a topical solution.

Oral Minoxidil Side Effects

Oral minoxidil has its own side effects for you to worry about. Generally, these may include:

  • Headaches

  • Stomach issues like nausea and vomiting

  • Skin issues like rash, acne, hair shedding and hypertrichosis (excessive body hair growth)

  • Heart issues like tachycardia (fast heart rate) and dizziness

  • Fluid retention

Topical Minoxidil Side Effects

We’ve already covered topical minoxidil’s side effects pretty extensively, but here’s a general rundown of what a small percentage of minoxidil users can expect when it comes to adverse effects of topical minoxidil:

  • Scaling

  • Scalp itching

  • Flaking

  • Dry skin

  • Burning

  • Irritation

These common side effects of minoxidil are typically mild and often get better on their own over the course of several weeks. 

Minoxidil can also cause facial and/or body hair growth if it’s applied to areas of skin other than your scalp, so it’s important to carefully wash your hands after applying this medication and avoid transferring it to other parts of your body.

In rare cases, minoxidil may cause allergic reactions. Contact your healthcare provider for help if you start to feel lightheaded, have any difficulty breathing, develop swelling of your face or limbs or have a rapid heartbeat or chest pain after using minoxidil.

How Does Rogaine Work vs. Minoxidil?

We’ll get right to it: all Rogaine is minoxidil, but not all minoxidil is Rogaine. Rogaine is a popular brand name for minoxidil. When minoxidil first came onto the market in the 1980s, it was sold as Rogaine and wasn’t available as a generic medication.

Take a trip down to your local pharmacy and look at a box of Rogaine. You’ll see “5% minoxidil” (or, in some cases, “2% minoxidil”) on the label. 

These days, minoxidil is available as a generic medication. As with most other medications, generic minoxidil is less expensive than brand name Rogaine. And if you’re looking for oral Rogaine vs. oral minoxidil, well, there’s no comparison — oral Rogaine isn’t a thing. Not yet, anyway.

Not only do you get the same medication for less money, but it also does the exact same thing.

The fact that Rogaine is a name brand doesn’t mean that it’s any more effective at preventing hair loss or safer to use than generic minoxidil — both contain exactly the same active ingredient and come in the same form, meaning you can use either one to treat hair loss and expect the same results. 

Each drug is equally effective at treating hair loss and each is equally worth considering if you’re in the market for a treatment for male pattern baldness. 

The Bottom Line on Minoxidil for Hairline Regrowth

Does minoxidil work on your hairline? Here’s what you should know:

  • YES, minoxidil is also an effective treatment for a receding hairline, although most testing of minoxidil involves hair loss near the crown. 

  • AND topical minoxidil is a popular, effective form of treatment, whether you’re just starting to notice reduced hair around your hairline or have severe hair loss that you’d like to reverse. 

  • BECAUSE minoxidil can stimulate your hair follicles — resulting in improved hair density, normal hair growth and a thicker, more youthful hairline — it’s worth adding to your daily routine in the morning and evening. 

This article originally appeared on Hims.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

More from MediaFeed:

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.



Featured Image Credit: Erstudiostok/istockphoto.