Can Using Rogaine on Face Stimulate Beard Growth?
Growing a beard is a sure sign of rugged manliness, which just also happens to be quite fashionable these days with everyone from hipsters and artists to doctors and CEOs sporting one of the many popular beard styles. For some men, growing a good beard it’s as simple as not shaving a few days and waiting for the thick hairs to fill in. Unfortunately, for many others attaining a thick, full beard is an impossibility, no matter how long they let it grow. The sheer number of online searches for minoxidil beard formula tells you all you need to know about how pronounced this issue is.
Whether it’s bald spots, thin hair or patchy growth, many of us are unsatisfied with our beards for one reason or another. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should just run out and grab a bottle of minoxidil to douse on your face in hopes of instantly growing a fantastic beard, as things just don’t work that way in real life. While there are a number of products that may be able to help you achieve your beard goals, the fact of the matter is growing a beard still takes time and patience for the majority of men.
However, since it seems that so many guys are desperate enough to consider minoxidil, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on what it actually is, how it works and whether or not it can actually help you to grow a better beard.
Basic Facts about Minoxidil
The compound that would eventually become minoxidil was originally created in the 1950s in an attempt to create an anti-ulcer medication. Although it failed to treat ulcers, it did show some promise as a vasodilator, or in layman’s terms, something that causes blood vessels to widen or expand. After extensive testing and experimenting with hundreds of variations of the compound, minoxidil was finally approved by the FDA in 1979 as a treatment for high blood pressure.
During these tests, the scientists noticed that many of the patients experienced sudden hair growth. Although even the earliest tests showed the drug could help bald men successfully regrow their hair, it wasn’t until 1988 that it was actually approved as a hair loss treatment. Since then, it has helped hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men eliminate issues with male pattern baldness and achieve their dreams of having a thick, full head of hair again. When used as directed, the drug can help stop hair loss and even regrow hair in about 40 to 60 percent of cases, with most patients typically beginning to see results within one to three months.
Most studies have shown minoxidil to be entirely safe, with only a small chance of patients’ developing a few minor side effects such as redness, swelling, dryness or itching. Of course, these studies have almost exclusively been focused on using minoxidil on the scalp, as this is was it was originally designed and approved for. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped numerous guys from attempting to use it to grow hair on their faces or other parts of their body with varying degrees of success.
Still, the truth is that Rogaine and generic brand minoxidil products are all designed to treat a specific type of hair loss and are only meant to be applied topically to the scalp. No matter how many of us may wish it were so, the simple fact is there’s no such thing as minoxidil beard formula—at least as of now. In fact, it seems like it may be a long time before such a thing ever exists, as it seems there has only ever been one recorded study done in Thailand on the effects of minoxidil as a beard growth supplement—the results of which have yet to be published as of writing.
However, there was another study done in Thailand that focused on the use of a 2% minoxidil solution to regrow eyebrow hair in patients suffering from certain alopecia conditions. Like the previous studies done in the 70s and 80s on using minoxidil on the scalp, this study also showed that the drug was able to effectively help a majority of patients to regrow their eyebrows to varying degrees. This shows that the drug is not just effective when used on the scalp, but can also help stimulate hair growth on other areas of the body—potentially even your beard.
How Minoxidil Works to Regrow Hair
The funny thing about minoxidil is that scientists still aren’t exactly sure how it helps to combat baldness and regrow hair. What they do know is that the drug helps to widen blood vessels and open up potassium channels within cell membranes, which in turn helps more blood, oxygen and nutrients flow through the vessels and into the skin and hair follicles.
In typical male pattern baldness, the hair loss is caused by the follicles continually shrinking over time until they become too constricted to produce hair. The follicles themselves don’t ever die or become inactive; they simple become too small for the hair to pass through. There are a number of possible causes thought to be responsible for this, including a hormone known as DHT or dihydrotestosterone and also a specific gene that’s thought to trigger the follicles to shrink or become damaged over time (for more info on that, read this article about how they recently discovered ‘the bald gene’).
Still, the actual cause isn’t so important for our purposes, as we’re more interested in exactly how minoxidil works to allow those constricted follicles to open up and begin regrowing hair. Although there is still some debate as to how, what is known is that minoxidil somehow stimulates the follicles to widen and begin growing hair again. The best guess is that this is achieved via the increased flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients into the papilla, the spot at the base of the follicle where it directly contacts the capillaries that deliver the nutrients essential for healthy hair growth.
The Possibilities for Minoxidil Beard Growth
All of the above information again applies only to minoxidil applied topically to the scalp. However, it can give us a few insights into using minoxidil to stimulate beard growth. Still, as there have been no official studies done on using Rogaine on faces, what follows is mostly conjecture mixed in with a bit of sound scientific reasoning.
If we assume that there’s a gene that causes hair follicles to eventually weaken over time and stop producing hair and that minoxidil can help provide the additional nutrients necessary to stimulate the follicles back to health, then this gives us some hopes for the effectiveness of minoxidil as a beard growth supplement. It’s well known that the thickness and fullness of your beard is directly tied into your genes (although there are definitely some physical factors and possibly some environmental factors also in play). Therefore, if minoxidil can overcome one genetic issue to combat baldness, why shouldn’t it be able to overcome another one to help you grow a better beard?
If you look around online, you’ll find numerous blogs telling the story of some man or another who successfully used minoxidil when all other beard growth products failed to help to fill in his patchy beard. This shows that there’s definitely hope—although like all things on the internet, you’d probably be best to take many of the stories with a grain of salt.
Nonetheless, the fact that minoxidil can help to stimulate hair follicles when applied topically to the scalp does suggest that it may have a similar effect when applied to the face. After all, it’s not like the hair follicles aren’t there, as even women’s faces are loaded with thousands of hair follicles. The problem is simply that the follicles are too small to properly produce hair. It also could be that the follicles have not yet fully developed from a vellus hair (peach fuzz) into a terminal hair, which generally happens due to increased levels of testosterone and other “male” hormones (androgens) during puberty.
In both cases, it seems that the minoxidil could help to overcome the problem by allowing more essential nutrients and hormones to reach the follicles and thus stimulating them. Of course, if your body isn’t yet at the stage where it produces sufficient quantities of androgens, then there’s nothing for you to do but wait and let nature take its course as applying Rogaine on the face won’t help you produce more hormones.
Still, for anyone who has reached puberty, there does seem to be some hope with using minoxidil to stimulate beard growth. Of course, it’s important to note that the product still only has a 40 to 60-percent success rate on the scalp, which would likely translate into a similar success rate if in fact it can actually stimulate new beard growth, which is a topic that’s still up for much debate. What does seem apparent though is that the drug should at least help to stimulate the hairs you do have to grow in thicker, fuller and healthier, even if it doesn’t help fully fill in the bald patches.
Unfortunately, there is one major problem with minoxidil that we have yet to address, and that’s the fact that the effects only last as long as you continue using the drug. As soon as you stop taking it, your healthy follicles will again begin to wither and shrink and you’ll eventually go bald again.
However, it’s not so apparent whether or not this effect applies when using minoxidil on your face, as the reasons for balding are not the same as the reason you can’t grow a full beard—even if they are both caused by genetics. As there’s not actually a gene causing the follicles to be damaged as in the case of male pattern baldness, it doesn’t seem that any positive affects your beard gains from the minoxidil would be immediately lost if you stopped taking it.
How Affective is Minoxidil at Stimulating Beard Growth?
The question of whether or not minoxidil will actually help you to grow a better beard is not something anyone can really answer with any certainty. First of all, the drug has already been shown to only be effective in around half of the patients who take it, and secondly, no scientific studies have ever been published to show whether or not it works.
Still, if you were to only look at all of the stories you read on the internet, you might easily come to the conclusion that it definitely does work and you should immediately run out and buy some. Of course, for every guy that publishes a blog about his successes, there is probably another guy who wanted to do the same, only to experience no positive results that he could boast about.
The fact of the matter is that there is, as of yet, no conclusive evidence to show that minoxidil can help improve beard growth. On the other hand, there’s also no conclusive evidence to show that it can’t either. Still, judging by the science of how minoxidil works, it’s quite easy to assume that it could have an effect for some guys.
As well, the fact that the study showed it was able to successfully regrow eyebrow hair definitely holds promise. However, it’s worth noting that this study used a 2% solution, while the as-of-yet unpublished study on minoxidil beard growth used a 3% formula, whereas Rogaine for Men and most other men’s minoxidil products contain a 5% solution. Therefore, just to be safe, if I were using it on my face I’d definitely stick with the lower percentage formulas, such as those found in most women’s minoxidil products designed to combat female pattern baldness.
Therefore, it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth spending the time and money on using it for a few months to see if it helps, as it’s definitely not the cheapest product to buy. This basically puts it into the same category as all of the other beard growth products and supplements out there, as there’s at least an equally good of a chance that it won’t work as there is that you’ll actually see noticeable results.
At the end of the day, it’s really your choice whether or not to try out minoxidil beard growth supplement to see whether it works for you. Although there’s a decent chance it may not work, if you’re desperate for a full beard, it might be well worth a shot.
Other Helpful Articles
Hope you found this article helpful. Be sure to check out our other most popular articles for beard maintenance:
- Ten Best Beard Growth Products: For a Full, Manly Beard
- Best Beard Oils – P&P’s Official List
- Beard balm vs Beard oil – What’s the difference?
- The Definitive Guide to the Best Beard Trimmers
- Finding the Best Safety Razor – P&P’s Ultimate Guide
- Best Shaving Creams for Men: Quality Matters!
Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert and body grooming aficionado. His work has been featured on many other prominent publications including Good Men Project, Addicted to Success, Steven Aitchison, and Sharpologist.