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Is It Best to Apply Minoxidil to a Damp or Dry Scalp?

A number of hair loss conditions have responded extremely well to minoxidil, a clinically-proven product which is applied topically, meaning it is applied where it is needed – i.e. on the scalp. While not quite a “chicken and egg” conundrum, questions from users over whether it is better to apply minoxidil to a wet or a dry scalp continue to linger.

To try and find a definitive answer, scientists at the University of Brasilia set out to test the topical medication, which is one of the most popular treatment options for the genetic hair loss condition Male Pattern Baldness as well as Female Pattern Hair Loss, on in-vitro samples of rat and pig skin.

Applying-Minoxidil-Medium-No-Picture-on-WallDrug diffusion versus dilution

Before they began their tests they theorised that the use of minoxidil on a damp scalp may lead to higher drug penetration, because, they say: “the drug diffusion and consequent deposition into the hair follicle may be favoured when follicle cast is humid.” Secondly, penetration may be improved because “humidity may also prevent drug crystallisation and, therefore, maintain a higher thermodynamic activity for longer periods, which leads to increased penetration.”

The doctors say their in-vitro experiments confirmed their theories, and that this could lead to improved treatment effectiveness. Whilst it is an interesting study, there is slightly more to consider to ensure effective application and absorption – such as the obvious fact that having a wet scalp may dilute any minoxidil applied to it. At Belgravia we always recommend that the best way to apply minoxidil is to dot it on to a dry scalp and allow it to sink in for as long as possible – definitely no less than 30 minutes.

Says Belgravia Superintendent Pharmacist, Christina Chikaher: “We usually advise clients to apply minoxidil on a dry or towel dried scalp. I agree with the hypothesis that a damp scalp may lead to better drug penetration, however it may not always be convenient to have a damp scalp. The scalp should be dry or very slightly damp but not dripping wet as this may lead to drug dilution and less efficacy.

Leonora Doclis – senior hair loss specialist at Belgravia’s flagship clinic opposite Victoria Station in Central London – also agrees and has some advice for those unsure about using this part of their treatment: “The best way to apply minoxidil is to just apply it in small drips dotted around the top of the scalp. Apply the minoxidil directly on to a dry scalp ideally. When applying after shampooing, this is fine as long as the hair is well towel dried and the scalp is only minimally damp,” she explains. Adding: “However, if you are blow drying your hair anyway, it is better to blow dry the hair then apply the Minoxidil as advised after doing so. It is being applied to the scalp – not your hair – so should have no impact on your hairstyle and, by applying it this way, you allow it the best possible chance of effective absorption.”

minoxidil-dropper-emptyBackbone of hair loss treatment course

At Belgravia we have found that using appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil can produce significant regrowth results for both men and women. Men often use one or two recommended solutions from the range of minoxidil products available from our in-clinic pharmacies, alongside the clinically-proven oral drug finasteride 1mg which is suitable for men aged 18 and over, only.

Our clients also benefit from a number of other additional options, such as hair growth boosters and specially-formulated, paraben-free shampoos and conditioners that are intended to ensure optimum health and vitality of the hair and scalp. Clinical therapy sessions are also popular, and involve a number of therapeutic treatments including soothing masques, infra-red light therapy and massage. It plays an especially important role when scalp problems are an issue.

What proves to be a particularly helpful aspect of a bespoke treatment course to many is the fact that they do not have to “go it alone”. Facing up to losing your hair from any condition can be difficult, as the self-esteem that takes a knock at the first signs of hair loss can be slow to heal, and it can be hard when using off-the-shelf products to feel properly informed, stay motivated and feel that progress is being accurately monitored. The on-going help of a trained specialist can play a big part in fixing that.

The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe 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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31st July, 2017 at 12:16 pm


Minoxidil applied on dry scalp or damp scalp which better? I don't know about it

31st July, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Gunjan - the answer is in the story above!

31st July, 2017 at 12:41 pm


Yes madam I was read it. But still I am confuse about it. Please madam help me guide me

31st July, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Gunjan, the answer is a dry scalp is best.

31st July, 2017 at 1:54 pm


Thank you madam

1st August, 2017 at 1:37 pm


Hello madam, this is gunjan My question is I applied Minoxidil on dry scalp Bt I don't think my scalp absorb it. What should I do now. I think my hair sink the most of Minoxidil.

1st August, 2017 at 1:38 pm


I m using kirkland minoxidil 5foam

1st August, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Gunjan, you will need to speak to your minoxidil provider with regards to your concerns as you are not a Belgravia client. One thing we would tell you, however, is that foam products do tend to get caught in the hair so this may not be the best formulation for you to use.

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