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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Using Minoxidil

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Minoxidil DropperAt Belgravia we are frequently asked a number of questions about the unisex, clinically-proven treatment minoxidil; here we answer ten of the most common queries. You can also click on the blue question titles for further information on each.

If you have alternative concerns or would like advice on another hair loss matter, simply get in touch by clicking the banner above. Or for details about the various high strength minoxidil formulations available from Belgravia, please contact the centre directly.

Anyone using hair loss treatment who has queries regarding any part of their course should contact their provider – in the case of Belgravia this would be the client’s dedicated Treatment Advisor who can be contacted directly by phone or email, or via the centres’ main switchboard – for assistance.

1. How do I apply minoxidil?

Where and how you need to apply it depends on your condition and what form of shedding you are experiencing, but you can find a general guide to applying minoxidil products by clicking on the question title above.

During your initial consultation at Belgravia a hair loss specialist nurse will show you how to apply minoxidil to your scalp. If you would ever like a refresher demonstration, just let your personal treatment advisor know and they can arrange this for you.

2. Do I have to wash my hair each time after I use my minoxidil?

No, although it is advisable to wash your hair if not once per day then once every other day in order to avoid any build-up of minoxidil residue on the scalp. You should leave at least an hour after applying minoxidil before washing your hair.

3. Do you have to use minoxidil continuously to see results?

In terms of whether it is an on-going treatment, this depends on the condition you are using it for. If it is for a permanent hair loss condition such as Male Pattern Baldness or Female Hair Loss then, because the DHT which causes thinning hair in these cases is produced constantly and therefore treatment to counteract this is on-going. In instances where the hairloss is temporary, such as Telogen Effluvium, once the hair has regrown the treatment may be stopped in some cases.

Where the condition may be either temporary or recurring, such as Alopecia Areata, if the hair grows back you can stop treatment and hair growth should remain. Some people have recurring alopecia, where patches may return. In such cases you can continue to use minoxidil on any new patches.

In all of these cases, Belgravia clients will be assisted and advised by their treatment advisor and hair loss specialist nurse in order to closely monitor the situation and ensure the best course of action for the client at all times, throughout.

For any condition it is important to be consistent with your usage and apply every day as instructed.

4. What if I stop then start again?

Depending on how long you stop for before starting again, and the condition you are experiencing, your hair will most likely start to shed again.

5. I’ve just started using minoxidil, why is my hair shedding more than before?

Firstly, we understand this can be disconcerting but it is nothing to worry about – in fact it is a good sign! When Belgravia clients first start using their high strength minoxidil, a small number may find that for a short period their hair starts shedding in slightly larger amounts than before. This can happen in both men and women and is temporary. The hair that sheds will be replaced by new, stronger hair.

6. Will I get better or quicker results if I use more than the normal dose?

Advice on Ways to Stop Hair LossNo. Using more than the dosage specified by your hair loss specialist can be dangerous and it is important that you only use the amount advised by your hair loss specialist. Your minoxidil has been recommended to ensure optimum results for your case so you do not need to use any more than has been prescribed. It can also make you more likely to experience skin irritation and dryness due to excessive use.

7. Can I use minoxidil after a hair transplant?

Yes. Assuming you are medically suitable, it is fine to use minoxidil following a hair transplant. In fact, many hair restoration surgeons recommend following a full male hair loss treatment course for at least six months prior to this type of surgery, and then on an on-going basis after surgery once the scalp has healed, as aftercare. This can help to keep the effects of male pattern baldness at bay in the original, untouched hairs surrounding the restored areas.

8. Can you go swimming or get your hair wet after using minoxidil?

Can You Go Swimming If You Use Minoxidil?Yes. Bear in mind, the longer you wait the better as this will give minoxidil the best chance to fully absorb. However, having a week’s holiday and going for a swim 30 minutes after applying minoxidil won’t be the end of the world. A small study carried out in 1990 determined that 50% of minoxidil was absorbed within 1 hour and 75% within 4 hours. Not much more will be absorbed after this period of time. We don’t feel that going for a swim 30 minutes after applying minoxidil from time to time (or when on holiday) will make too much difference to your overall results, so don’t fret!

In terms of showering and washing your hair, the same rules apply but our advice would be to apply minoxidil after showering and drying your hair, and not before. Make sure your hair and scalp are dry in order to ensure the minoxidil is not diluted on the scalp, or evaporated when drying your hair. An alternative for both swimming or showering would be wear a swim or shower cap.

9 Can you apply haircare or styling products to the scalp after using minoxidil?

We advise hair products such as gel, wax hairspray, leave-in conditioners, serums or thickening concealer fibres to be applied before minoxidil. It will be much more effective to style your hair, wait for the product to dry and then use the syringe to carefully apply minoxidil to the scalp afterwards. Styling your hair after doing this may cause a number of problems including dilution of minoxidil and absorption into the hair.

10 Can you use scalp products or sun cream whilst using minoxidil?

Yes but try to give minoxidil an hour to absorb before applying scalp products, such as oils, or sun cream. As with swimming or washing your hair, the longer the better, but don’t worry too much unless you are doing this every day.

11 What do I do about using minoxidil while trying for a baby or whilst pregnant?

Pregnancy TestWomen: Although it is fine up until conception, women must not use any minoxidil products during their pregnancy. So as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed treatment must be stopped. Due to an increase in hormones throughout the pregnancy, the active phase of the hair growth cycle becomes extended, meaning thicker- looking hair.

This will generally be shed once the baby is born due to the temporary hair loss condition Post-Partum Alopecia, but treatment can be resumed once the baby has been born and any breastfeeding stops, so this can be brought back under control again with the help of your specialist.

It is prudent to seek their advice before resuming your previous treatment course as the components may need tweaking to ensure they are right for your level and pattern of shedding at the time of restarting.

Men: Whilst you and your partner are trying to conceive you may continue to use minoxidil but we advise our male clients to stop taking finasteride 1mg one week beforehand. This is the case throughout your partner’s pregnancy then, once the baby is born and after any breastfeeding has ended, you may restart your full treatment regime.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

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26th February, 2016 at 9:09 pm


Thank you for this very usefull article. I also have learned about the benefit of not washing your hair as often. Does the use of Minoxidil help to keep the health of your hair even if you need to whash it every day or every second day? Keep up the good work! Jay from Playa del Carmen, MX

29th February, 2016 at 1:59 am


Why is Minoxidil 5% not recommended for people over the age of 65 years?

29th February, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Marion, some brands of minoxidil 5% choose not to recommend their product for people over the age of 65, but not all - you can find out more about this here: Why is There an Age Limit of 65 Years Old for Minoxidil Use?

29th February, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jay, thanks for your kind feedback, we're very glad you are enjoying our blog and finding it useful.

With regards to whether minoxidil helps to maintain the health of your hair, it is a topical vasodilator which means it increases blood flow locally, wherever it is applied.

When it is applied directly to the areas of the scalp where it is needed for hair loss, it will increase the amount of nutrients delivered to the scalp. This does help to improve the condition of the hair assuming the relevant vitamins and minerals for hair health are being put into the body - whether through your diet or via a food supplement such as Hair Vitalics.

10th October, 2016 at 6:17 pm


Does using minoxidil affect female fertility? Also, does it increase the chance of birth defects?

13th October, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jessica. We have a full response for you from one of our senior hair loss specialists. We hope this is helpful.

27th July, 2017 at 2:27 pm


Çan I use hair mask or conditioner while using minoxidil? Do I need to shampoo everyday or washing with plain water suffice?Will applying conditioner or hair mask decrease the effectiveness of minoxidil?

28th July, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Indrani, please find a full response to your query here. We hope this is helpful.

8th April, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Rachel Soarez

Is it okay to use flat irons when on minoxidil treatment ?

9th April, 2018 at 10:20 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Rachel, yes! We don't recommend regular use - not because of any potential contraindications related to minoxidil use - simply because heat-styling can cause drying and hair breakage which makes the hair snap and look thinner. If you are using hair straighteners, try to ensure the temperature does not go above the maximum recommended heat of 185 degrees Celsius / 365 degrees Fahrenheit. This should help to minimise hair damage. Some modern flat irons go up to temperatures way beyond this and can actually melt the hair. We hope this helps!

18th April, 2018 at 1:21 pm


is it safe to use hair tonic while using minoxidil? not applied on the same time, but just to rest your hair and scalp for two days and use hair tonic as source of biotin and other nutrients.

18th April, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Noriel, it is not recommended to stop using hair loss treatment as per the accompanying instructions. As you are not a client of Belgravia's we do not know what type of minoxidil you are using but we are unaware of any formulation which does not need to be used at least once per day, every day. You can use hair tonic if you are using minoxidil, all you need to do is apply it at least 30 minutes (ideally longer, around 1-2 hours) after you have applied your minoxidil in order to ensure the medication is properly absorbed into the scalp. If you are not consistent with your treatment, your results are unlikely to be as good as they could be so we certainly would advise you to stick to the usage directions rigidly and, if you wish to use hair tonic, do so in addition to using your treatment.

21st April, 2018 at 3:41 pm


thank you so much for the response. No plans of stopping the use of minoxidil. i am just thinking that using hair tonic might help to get stronger hair while growing it with minoxidil.

29th May, 2018 at 4:29 am


I have been experiencing hair loss extensively since past 5 months and my doctor has prescribed minoxidil. But due to the sticky nature of minoxidil i have to wash my hair everyday which is making it dry and hair falls again due to daily washing. Is it fine if i can use minoxidil on alternate days and wash my hair only on those alternate days. Will minoxidil produce any results if i use it this way. Currently i am using 5% minoxidil 0.5 ml daily. Pls suggest

30th May, 2018 at 11:38 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Saumya, as you are not a Belgravia client and have been prescribed minoxidil by another doctor, you should speak to them about how to use your medication. All we can tell you is that you should always use any medication - including hair loss treatment - as per the instructions you are given if you wish it to work as intended.

20th August, 2018 at 6:17 pm


Why shouldn't a man use minoxidil while his partner is breastfeeding?

21st August, 2018 at 9:45 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Vanessa, a man can use minoxidil but not finasteride

5th September, 2018 at 9:05 pm


i am 28 year old and started loosing my hairs. on researching on Internet, i got answer for many of my doubts but now my questions are 1. is shedding compulsory if i start using minoxidil? 2. is it ok if i dont use minoxidil for 2/3 days (just in case of emergency) 3.what i need to do for not to loose further hairs even though if i dont get my lost hairs. will minoxidil will helps?

6th September, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Kiran, in answer to your first point, it is very likely but in some people it's less than in others - you should read our article on shedding when you first start minoxidil for more information. With regards your second point, it is important that you follow your treatment plan and use your medications exactly as directed. Missing doses makes them less effective. In an emergency, if it happens very occasionally, then skipping two or three days isn't great but it isn't the end of the world either. Try not to, but if you do have to, don't leave it any longer before resuming use as normal. Also, do not over-use your medication before or after skipping those days - it will not make up for you missing regular doses nor make the medication any more effective. We aren't sure what you mean by point three but hopefully the information above can tell you what minoxidil does and answer this for you.

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