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Minoxidil & Beard/Hair Growth
Minoxidil 5% has been spread about the internet as a very popular and effective way to increase facial hair growth. This studyeven supported the beard growth effects.
There's been a lot of talk recently about the application and effectiveness of minoxidil at 10% concentration. In this blog post, I’m going to tell you that it is very likely that 10% is more effective than 5%...however, the answer is not that simple.
Disclaimer: By no means am I a medical consultant. Most users experience mild side effects with application of Minoxidil 5%, so increased dosages will undoubtedly increase the chances of side effects and their severity. The information presented should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research before experimentation.
Pharmacology of Minoxidil
Pharmacology...what does that even mean? Basically it means how a specific substance effects the body physiologically or biologically. It's important to note Minoxidil's pharmacological effects on the body to be able to interpret its mechanisms of delivery.
Looking at the pharmacology of Minoxidil, we know that it is not soluble in water. It is only 2.9% soluble in ethanol, and 7.5% in propylene glycol. Minoxidil in foam based/non PPG based formulations work on different solvent systems.
The point is, is that you need to add certain ingredient vehicles to help minoxidil be rendered effectively. Minoxidil in alcohol based solutions reach their saturation point at 5% (saturation point is the limit of how much minoxidil can actually be absorbed). So minoxidil at 10% and 15% solutions would need some other mechanisms of delivery.
Minoxidil 10% and 15%
Now there are no studies about minoxidil 10% or 15%. However this studyhas shown that minoxidil’s effects are dose-dependent. This is why minoxidil at 5% is more effective than 1% or 2%. The 5% and higher solutions have the potential to promote regrowth and thicker hair, but they do not change the genetic properties of the hair follicles.
Because Minoxidil has shown to be dose-dependent, it is logical to presume that 10% is more effective than 5% (however, studies do not confirm this). And of course, increased concentrations equals increased risk (and increased severity) of side effects.
Where to find Minoxidil 10%?
The most popular used source of Minoxidil 10% is Dr. Reddy's formula. It should be available on eBay from foreign Indian sellers (since it's produced there). This brand seems to be the most legitimate and trustworthy.
Since the legal maximum concentration of minoxidil is 5%, it is often a risk to purchase higher dosages. You should avoid buying products don’t list what ingredients are in there. You could get very likely be getting a formulation that has 10% concentration of minoxidil, but if they simply copied the chemical formulation used with 5%, then the whole thing would be useless.
You would be getting minoxidil 10% with it not even being absorbed at all (because the highest saturation point for PPG based formulas is 5%). Also, it’s possible that their manufacturing processes (or GMP) aren’t as regulated like they are here in the US or EU. So it is a risk. On top of the risk of getting fictitious snake oil, you’d be getting the unpleasant side effects more often with stronger severity (plus a very oily feeling on your skin).
This isn't to scare you however, I just want you to know the risks. A good amount of users use trusted brands of Minoxidil 10% (like Dr. Reddys) and experience little to no side effects, and increased hair growth results. So please do your research before you jump the gun.
Minoxidil 10% Foam...if only.
[This is speculative, not objective]
Now, while doing this research, I’ve found something that’s very interesting. After researching the preparation and evaluation of minoxidil foam, a certain system of ingredients can render a higher dose of minoxidil (higher saturation point). The solvent system that CAN effectively render minoxidil at higher concentrations is comprised of glycerin and lactic acid. So if someone were to develop a minoxidil 10% or 15% foam (with glycerin and lactic acid) and patent it, it would probably sell very profitably. That’s my theory. Study on this solvent system: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311290/
Many hair loss focused forums have users reporting positive effects from using Minoxidil 10%. A simple search on Google will bring up these anecdotes. However, there is not method for comparison and no way of tracking independent variables, so it's hard to take these anecdotes very significantly. Here is one forum post you can check out: https://www.hairlosstalk.com/interact/threads/5-minoxidil-vs-10.57978/
Hopefully this article informed you a bit about the saturation point of PPG based Minoxidil formulations, the dose dependent effects from Minoxidil, the risks of purchasing Minoxidil 10% overseas, the heightened chances of side effects, and the scope of anecdotal reports available on this product.
*This article is merely a gathering of several studies' findings/observations. Please do not take this information as a conclusive response in this science, as we still know very little about this field.