Minoxidil is the active ingredient in many hair growth products like Rogaine and Hims. These days, many men looking for a little boost to their facial hair are turning to topical minoxidil, and the results have been promising. Generally, these ointments and foams require two applications a day, but many beardsmen are wondering whether a third application might help things progress faster.
There is little to no evidence that three daily uses of minoxidil will improve either hair or beard growth. Additionally, because minoxidil is essentially a blood pressure drug, increased usage could lead to harmful side effects. You should stick to two uses per day for these products.
Perhaps, you aren’t convinced? For the skeptics out there, we will go through the ways minoxidil works and explore why additional doses are a bad idea.
How Minoxidil Grows Hair
Let’s begin by stating outright that minoxidil was not developed as a hair growth drug. In fact, it wasn’t even initially a blood pressure medication. It was developed in the 1950s as an ulcer medicine, but it found greater success with blood pressure regulation.
Minoxidil patients soon reported increased hair growth on their bodies, faces, and scalps. For people simply wanting relief from high blood pressure, this side effect wasn’t always welcome. Eventually, minoxidil was re-patented as Rogaine and marketed specifically for hair growth.
Even today, doctors and researchers cannot state categorically how minoxidil promotes hair growth. But it appears that the medication – a vasodilator – improves blood flow around follicle roots. This speeds delivery of nutrients that hair needs to grow. Hence, increased growth!
Minoxidil for Beard Growth
More and more, men are choosing an off-label route for minoxidil. They are applying it to their faces instead of scalps to promote fuller beard growth.
The FDA has only approved the drug for scalp use. Research into its efficacy with facial hair has been mixed. Studies conducted in 2014 and 2016 found moderate advantages for minoxidil over a placebo when applied to the face. That’s hardly revelatory, but it suggests there might be something to this off-label use.
Anecdotally, plenty of beardsmen have seen success with the drug. The web is full of beard grooming influencers hyping its effectiveness in filling in thin and patchy facial hair. Even beard aficionados that normally decry supplements for growth concede that minoxidil has proved more effective than the rest of the field.
Dosage Instructions for Minoxidil
Pretty much all topical minoxidil products call for two applications a day: one in the morning and again at night.
The recommended amount per use is about a quarter of a teaspoon, spread across bare patches of the scalp. You shouldn’t exceed this amount when applying minoxidil to your face. You’re not caking yourself in hair tonic like George Costanza did with his smelly imported baldness cure.
It’s also worth noting that the effects of minoxidil will appear quicker in your beard than they will on your head. This is because the follicle development cycle for your scalp can take years, while the cycle for your face only takes a few weeks.
Increased Usage: Pros and Cons
Let’s get to the heart of the matter: if applying minoxidil twice a day to your face is effective, wouldn’t doing it three times be 50% more effective?
Makers and distributors of minoxidil products advise users not to exceed the recommended dosage. This pertains both to the amount of medicine used per dose and the number of doses per day.
These companies advise that additional minoxidil has proved ineffective in further speeding and increasing hair growth. Essentially, if you have a third daily application, you’re just wasting it.
More concerning, however, is that if you increase your minoxidil uses, you risk intensifying its potential side effects. So, adding that third usage per day is all possible cons, with no likely pros.
Minoxidil Side Effects
If you are still considering an additional minoxidil dose, you should know what side effects may arise.
You could see increased hair growth in other places, including your eyebrows, back, and chest. You also could experience dryness and a face rash. Additionally, the increased application might result in residue build-up around your pores. All of these effects would be counterproductive to a full, healthy beard.
If you increase your facial minoxidil use to three times a day and experience irritation or discoloration, you should discontinue all use until this clears up.
Bear in mind, some more serious side effects could emerge if you increase your usage, such as:
- Chest pains.
- Weight gain.
- Swelling of the extremities.
Obviously, you should discontinue minoxidil use and consult your doctor if these effects emerge.
Other Factors At Play
As a rule, you should be careful introducing new medication to your body if you’re already taking certain drugs. Even over-the-counter products like Rogaine and Hims can have serious, sometimes dangerous, reactions.
For this reason, oral minoxidil, which is ingested rather than applied to the skin, requires a prescription. It affects blood flow, after all. While minoxidil creams, foams, and ointments are less generally invasive than pills, they still enter the bloodstream. As such, you should avoid minoxidil if you’re already on a blood pressure medication. The compounding effects of multiple vasodilating drugs are no joke.
Minoxidil is also incompatible with certain pre-existing medical conditions. If you already have organ damage, a tumor, or a heart condition, you should avoid it.
The golden rule, as with most medications, is to check with your doctor before you start using minoxidil. If they give you the green light to use it, go ahead. But do not exceed two doses per day. That would not merely be ineffective; it could be dangerous.
The Bottom Line
We certainly don’t want to be alarmist about the possible side effects you can experience with minoxidil. However, as at-home remedies for thin facial hair go, this drug is the most invasive. It affects blood circulation on your face and can have unintended consequences.
Just remember: you are using minoxidil on your face for facial hair growth because you value your appearance. You certainly value your health just as much, if not more. There’s virtually no evidence that three daily uses of minoxidil will further strengthen your beard, and there are lots of potential negative consequences. Stick to the recommended dosage.
There are a lot of supplements and medicines on the market that can help your beard grow more fully. We discussed quite a few of these recently. Check out our article to get a fuller picture of what’s out there!