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Minoxidil for Beard Growth: Safety & Potential Side Effects

Minoxidil & Beard Growth

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So you've heard about Minoxidil 5%, or "Rogaine", being effective for beard growth. Tens of thousands have embarked into the Minoxidil Beard Growth journey and have had massive success with it. 

How to Grow a Beard with Minoxidil

Indeed, using Minoxidil for beard growth is the most likely method in actually growing facial hair - and a significant amount. BUT, you're worried about the potential side effects from this drug. In this article, we will explore the common, less common, and potentially serious (rare) side effects from Minoxidil usage.

Many of these side effects are gathered from my own experience, as well as studies/publications, and online resources like Youtube, Minox beard spot (Facebook Group), Reddit (/r/beards),,, jeffsbeardboard, etc. It's important to note that everyone's body acts differently. Many use Minoxidil for years with little to no side effects, while some use it for 3 days and experience awful fatigue. It just depends. 

As a disclaimer, the information provided is not to be taken as medical consultation. Use Minoxidil out of your own risk and guidance from a professional. It is widely accepted that Minoxidil 5% is safe and effective for hair regrowth. Affiliate links are offered in this article, which helps support our brand.

Minoxidil Chemical Structure
[Minoxidil 5% chemical structure]

Common Side Effects:

These common side effects are typically temporary or non-serious. 

  • More body hair in general (legs, arms, scalp hair, and possibly unwanted facial hair around the eyes and upper cheeks). These new hairs are vellus hairs, which means they are impermanent and will shed off. You can either ignore it, or if you want it completely removed you may wax them off or closely shave them off with a razor.

    More body hair is a good indicator that your body reacts very strongly to Minoxidil 5%, which can indicate faster and fuller growth compared to others who don't react as strongly.

  • Heart palpitations. Minoxidil was originally created to be used as a vasodilator (the widening of blood vessels) for those diagnosed with hypertension. This is why you may feel your heart rate increase or decrease. This is normal, and in most cases temporary and unserious.

    Substances like nicotine, caffeine, or other activities may intensify heart palpitations as well. If you have any cardiovascular conditions, it is recommended that you avoid Minoxidil usage or consult a doctor. 

    If the experience of heart palpitations do not seem to go away and/or are very unpleasant, you may want to consult your doctor or discontinue application. In many instances, the act of simply decreasing dosage may prevent heart palpitation. 

  • Slight chest pain or headaches. This is likely temporary and will subside as the body gets used to application.

  • Itchiness, dryness, skin irritance or a slight burning sensation. This is likely caused by the high amounts of propylene glycol in Minoxidil. This can be avoided by regular use of moisturizers, beard oils, and time.

  • Beard or scalp hair shedding. This is natural as Minoxidil works to alter the growth cycle of your hair follicles. Simply put, new hairs pushing out the old hairs.
hair beard growth cycle
    • Hair growth cycle:
      1.) Anagen stage: hairs actively growing
      2.) Catagen stage: hairs slowly degenerating in growth
      3.) Telogen stage: inactive, resting hairs which will soon shed
      4)  Exogen stage: the shedding of the hairs. 

      This cycle occurs universally in humans, even without Minoxidil, and continuously repeats itself. You can expect a shedded hair to be replaced with a fresh new hair in the anagen phase. 

  • May interfere with your skin care regime. Minoxidil is applied twice a day, and should be left to absorb for 4 hours before application of any other products.

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Acne. If you are biologically acne prone, then you may want to "test" Minoxidil to see how your skin reacts. Minoxidil tends to dry out the skin, and dry skin may lead to acne.

    Usage of moisturizers, effective acne products, and good diet can strongly prevent acne. It's recommended not to apply Minoxidil on active pimples, as they may become inflammated. 

  • Fatigue.I personally don't know why this side effect occurs, but it does in some cases. A feeling of tiredness, sluggishness, or weakness are all side effects that may occur. I personally think experiencing continuous fatigue is a good reason to discontinue or cut down on application. Perhaps a few times a week will solve this problem. 

  • Continuous or increased severity of heart palpitations. Limit substances and activities that may already induce heart palpitations and decrease usage. 

  • Slight dizziness or light-headedness. You know that feeling when you get up really fast from your seat and all that blood rushes to your head that makes you all dizzy? That's the feeling I'm talking about. It occurs occasionally and is most likely temporary and unserious.

  • Dark spots around the eyes, wrinkling, or duller looking skin. This is due to the collagen inhibiting effects from Minoxidil. Collagen is the protein responsible for sustaining youthful skin, which is why it is widely used in the cosmetics industry.

    Biotin & Collagen Supplements Can Help With These Skin Problems (and may potentially promote better beard growth)

    Biotin may help if you are deficient. You don't need to go overboard with this however, supplementing 5,000mcg a few times a week is adequate.

    Collagen supplements are wonderful, especially if you are using Minoxidil, as Minoxidil has been shown to inhibit collagen production. In case you didn't know, collagen is the skin protein that is responsible for youthful looking, soft, wrinkle-free skin, and healthy, strong hair follicles. 
    If a healthy intake of collagen supplements do not solve this problem, then this may be a good reason to discontinue/adjust your application rate/dosage.  

    Attempt to eliminate too much sun exposure when using Minoxidil, as excess sun exposure may (or may not, studies don't say) result in these side effects being more severe. Use of sun-screen is highly recommended. 

  • Hypertrichosis, or "excessive hair growth". This uncommon side effect is a double edged sword. It indicates that you will grow a desirable beard in a short amount of time, but may also result in unwanted hair growth in other places (like the forehead, around the eyes, body hair, etc.) As mentioned above, you can simply remove them by waxing them off or clean shaving them off. 

Rare Side Effects (Serious, Stop Usage or Consult Doctor)

These side effects are very rare but can occur. If any of these side effects occur, it is recommended to stop usage immediately or consult a doctor. They include but are not limited to:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rapid weight gain, swelling of face, feet, hands, lip.
    That's a good indicator that your body doesn't react well to Minoxidil and could suggest an allergic reaction. 

  • Changes in vision or decreased visual acuity. 
    I'm not sure why, and I don't think studies even talk about this. But that's pretty serious. 

  • Long term cardiovascular effects. The likelihood increases for those that already have cardiovascular conditions, so if you have a history of these conditions, then avoid Minoxidil entirely.

  • Rashes. Very Serious.
    Probable allergic reaction

  • Severe chest pain.

  • Severe dizziness.

Wow, Minoxidil doesn't seem safe at all...

These side effects listed are not meant to scare you or discourage you. The majority of users do not experience any of the "Less Common Side Effects" and "Rare Side Effects" as listed above. A small minority do experience the "Less Common Side Effects", and a very small, unfortunate minority are genetically prone to the "Rare Side Effects".  

Where to order Minoxidil 5%

Minoxidil 5% is so far the most practical and effective way you can speed up your beard growth. If you've been thinking about buying Beard Growth Pills, "Elixers", or any other kind of "Beard Growth Booster XL" product, don't waste your money. These products are basically multivitamin pills or oils, and they don't have significant evidence for hair growth effects.

Starting out with a 3 month's supply is optimal. This will give you enough time to see how your body reacts, and you should see some noticeable gains. Keep in mind, you'll have to use it much longer than 3 month's however. 

Kirkland's brand seems to be the cheapest, while still delivering the same benefits as more expensive brands (like Rogaine). Don't let the prices fool you, Minoxidil 5% is Minoxidil 5% no matter the brand. Just be wary that the bottle doesn't have any other active ingredients.

A healthy beard starts with a healthy body. Before you use Minoxidil, try a regimen of vitamins and supplements. Huskybeard's beard growth vitamins are packed with everything you need to grow a healthy beard naturally, on your own, without harmful chemicals like Minoxidil.

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It's important to mention, serious side effects are rare because very little Minoxidil is absorbed from topical absorption. In one study 2.5mg of oral minox and 2% Minoxidil topical was compared. After measuring blood they only found 32.8 nanograms per ml and 1.7 ng per ml respectively. So essentially, a very small fraction is systemically absorbed and will likely not give you any of the harsh side effects. But of course there are other variables not discussed in this article. 

If you have any medical conditions, it's best to consult your doctor.

For the majority of us, we can continue to use Minoxidil for 1-3 years and experience no "bad" side effects. Many of the above common and less common side effects can be avoided by limiting application or dosage, and intaking supplements and other products.

I hope this helped! Good luck, and beard on.