Mnoxidil has been used for treatment of Androgenic Alopecia since 1987. In the early 1970’s it was studied an used for the treatment of severe refractory hypertension, solely for its vascodialating properties.
It was found out that about 1/5 of the patients under oral treatment developed hypertrichosis, in other words they had an unusual amount of hair growth develop over their body. So that was why they developed a topical form of minoxidil. We all knew that though, right?
There’s many reasons why people are given or suggested to use topical minoxidil.
You are most definetly asking yourself now, yeah that’s great an all but how can it promote beard growth? I need answers!
Well, it’s been proven minoxidil is successful by shortening the telogen phase and causing the hair to enter the anogen phase.
Telogen – Resting phase of a hair follicle.
Anogen – Growth phase of a hair follicle.
In other words, it will turn those small, thin and wispy hairs, which are called vellus hairs, into their longer thicker and more permanent phase called terminal hairs.
Vellus hair will turn to terminal hairs, but in-between those phases there’s a transitional phase called the catagen phase.
How Does Minoxidil Turn Vellus To Terminal?
There’s a few studies that point to how minoxidil can help promote terminal hair growth on the face.
- Minoxidil is thought to intervene on the potassium channels of the vascular smooth muscles and hair follicles.*
- Stimulation of the circulation near the hair follicle by inducing arteriolar vasodialiation. Minoxidil induces the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which increases the vascularization around the hair growth.†
- Activation of the prostagandin endoperoxide synthase 1 which stimulates hair growth.‡
- Minoxidil may also have antifribotic properties since it can affect collagen synthesis by inhibiting it.§
Where’s The Proof It Will Work On Beards?
There’s millions an millions of studies done on how minoxidil can affect hair growth on the scalp. There is unfortunately not many studies to back it as it hasn’t been passed for beard use by the FDA. But there is a few studies that have found it does in fact work on the face.
One example of a randomized controlled trial was done in 2016 published in the Japanese Dermatological Association, The 16-week randomized, double-masked, placebo-con-trolled was approved by Mae Fah Luang University (Clini-calTrial.gov).
48 men who desired to have their beards enhanced were enrolled in the study. It was only using 3% minoxidil and all subjects were to apply it to their jawlines and chin twice a day, they were directed to apply .5mL of minoxidil to the areas listed earlier.
Beard photographs were taken for a global photographic score as the primary efficiency assessment every 4 weeks. For secondary efficiency assessment, doctors also measured the hair count and diameter of from baseline.
It was found that at 16 weeks (4 months) of applying minoxidil twice daily to their face that the photographic scores minoxidil group were significantly higher than the placebo group.
Also, it was found that the hair count of the minoxidil group was significantly higher than the placebo group. Although, the hair diameter did not see much of a difference between the two. (see the table below)
It’s only one study, but it does show you in a group of men that even 3% can see improved results compared to no minoxidil.
Interested in getting started on your minoxidil beard journey? Might as well learn all the basics while you are here, it’s all in layman’s terms an easy to understand.