High-Strength Minoxidil: Ultimate Guide – 48 Week Results!

  • Medically reviewed by: Dr. Anil Simhadri
  • Written by: William Hartfield
  • Last updated: 01/12/2023

Does high strength minoxidil increase the rate of hair regrowth and by how much? Or will it just increase your chances of negative side-effects without being anymore effective? In this article, you’ll find the answers to those questions and more!

When beginning a hair loss treatment, it’s common to be impatient with results. Many users of 2% of 5% minoxidil are so impatient that they switch to higher doses without much thought.

However, such an action is not recommended for several reasons. Not only will the use of high-strength minoxidil increase your risk of side effects, but it can also backfire when you’re ready to cease use or go down to a lower-dose formula.

In this post, I’ll discuss how minoxidil works to fight balding. I’ll also compare the two most common strengths (2% and 5%), and explain why a higher dose of minoxidil does not always mean improved results.

Let’s jump in!

What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a drug – originally used in the treatment of high blood pressure – that acts as the active ingredient in the popular hair loss treatment Rogaine.

The exact mechanism through which minoxidil works to treat alopecia is debated. However, the most popular belief is that minoxidil works effectively by improving circulation to the hair follicles.

In men and women with Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), hair thinning and balding occur as a result of sensitivity to DHT.

As DHT attaches to the follicles, the follicle experiences inflammation. Eventually, this results in hair miniaturization which causes thinning and, if left untreated, permanent baldness.

As hair miniaturization occurs, blood flow to the follicle decreases.

While minoxidil doesn’t inhibit the production of DHT or remove it from the scalp, it does make it possible for your hair follicles to thrive in a hostile environment. This is because as hair miniaturization occurs, the blood flow to the follicles decreases.

With minoxidil, blood flow can be reestablished, and the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients and continue.

What Is the Recommended Minoxidil Strength?

For use as a hair loss treatment, two different strengths of minoxidil were approved by the FDA: 2% and 5%.

These strengths are available in both the liquid and foam formulations, though women are recommended to only use 2% liquid (however, they can use 5% foam).

(Liquid vs. foam – Which minoxidil formulation should you choose?)

But what’s the difference between these two strengths?

According to a 2002 study performed by Olsen et al., quite a bit.

Of course, both strengths work to increase hair count and improve scalp coverage. As expected, however, the 5% strength performed better on both counts when compared to 2% minoxidil:

The results of a study on 5% minoxidil vs 2% minoxidil

So, why would a user choose 2% over 5% if the latter is proven to work more effectively?

As the strength of minoxidil increases, so too does the risk of side effects. For men who are sensitive to such things, then, a lower-dose hair loss treatment can still provide positive results without (or with fewer) ill effects.

Find out about one popular brand of minoxidil called Kirkland here.

Is the Use of High-Strength Minoxidil Recommended?

While only 2% and 5% minoxidil are FDA-approved for treating hair loss, some users have ventured onto higher-strength formulations.

It can cause itchiness on the scalp
Increased concentrations of minoxidil will also increase your chances of side effects such as itchy and dry scalp without necessarily increasing the effectiveness.

And, while many have seen positive hair growth results, is the use of increased concentration minoxidil recommended? No.

Where to Buy Higher Strength Minoxidil

While you can’t buy minoxidil that’s higher in strength than 5% over-the-counter, you may be able to get a prescription from your physician.

Of course, this will depend on the strength you’re looking for, and how familiar your physician is with minoxidil as a hair loss treatment.

In your search, you may also stumble upon online pharmacies and stores that claim to sell 10%+ minoxidil over the internet.

I strongly recommend you steer clear of such sites, as the products aren’t regulated. Simply put, you’re paying for a product that may or may not be minoxidil, and it may or may not be the strength you want.

What If the Results of Regular Strength Minoxidil Aren’t Enough?

If 2% (for women) or 5% (for men) isn’t providing the results you’re looking for, what can you do?

First, it’s important to remember that results vary for everyone. It’s easy to look at the results of minoxidil users online and think those results will be yours, too.

However, the results you see will depend upon several factors, including how much hair loss you’ve experienced and how long you’ve been undergoing treatment.

Second, there are treatments other than Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride). The treatments I’m talking about are all-natural, but their results rival those produced by both popular over-the-counter treatments.

Even better, they do more than treat the hair loss; they also treat the cause.


When you don’t see the hair growth results you’d like, it’s common to consider a higher-dose method. This is true, even for minoxidil users. However, it’s not a route I would encourage you to take.

Minoxidil – whether in its FDA-approved percentage or a higher dosage – doesn’t treat the cause of your hair loss; instead, all it does is mask the symptoms. This is why I urge my readers to give the natural method outlined above a try.

I’ve had success with such an intervention, and it’s possible for you as well.

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