If you are taking a course of minoxidil 5%, you may eager to see results. In fact, many people switch to higher doses (such as 15% minoxidil) for this very reason. While you may notice improved results with this course of action, you will also be at an increased risk of side effects.
This article will discuss the various concentrations of minoxidil, including minoxidil 15%. It will introduce you to the data surrounding higher doses of minoxidil and what this can mean for you.
What is Minoxidil?
Originally developed as an oral medication for the treatment of hypertension, minoxidil is a vasodilator. As such, it widens the walls of the blood vessels and allows blood to circulate more freely throughout the body.
A side effect noticed by scientists, however, was that minoxidil also promoted hair growth, leading those taking it to have thicker heads of hair. And thus, minoxidil as a hair loss treatment was born!
The most common brand name of minoxidil is Rogaine, and many stores (including Costco and Walmart) now have their own brands of the product, too.
Minoxidil Solutions: 2% vs. 5% vs. 10% vs. 15%
Minoxidil is a product that comes in various solutions, though only 2% and 5% are FDA approved for use in hair growth.
While 10% and 15% minoxidil have never been compared to the lower solutions (or to each other, for that matter), there have been studies performed which compare 2% minoxidil to 5% minoxidil. These studies give us a bit of insight into how minoxidil works, and whether higher solutions mean better results.
A 2002 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology compared the results of 2% and 5% solutions on men with varying degrees of hair loss.
The study lasted for 48 weeks, and the 393 men were split into three groups (2%, 5%, and placebo).
At the beginning of the study, baseline measurements were taken. As the study progressed, measurements were then taken every four weeks up until week 32, and then every eight weeks thereafter. These were the results:
Throughout the duration of the study, 5% minoxidil performed better than 2% minoxidil for each measurement taken, including the total change in hair count from baseline:
As no studies have been performed on either 10% or 15% minoxidil, there is no way to definitively state that either solution would be more effective than 5%. However, it is possible to look at the results of the study outlined above and make assumptions.
Some cream versions have become popular because they are believed to penetrate deeper into the skin whilst still being at low concentrations.
Is the Use of Minoxidil 15% Recommended?
As mentioned above, only minoxidil 2% and 5% solutions are FDA approved for use as a hair loss treatment. This means you will be unable to find such products over the counter, and a prescription will need to be obtained from a physician.
As stated by Dr. Jae Pak, “more is not always better.”
Is it possible to see increased results? Sure, but such results usually come at a price.
Is There Increased Risk of Side Effects?
As with any medication, minoxidil is not risk-free. And, preliminary studies show that as dosage increases, so too does the risk of side effects.
A 2004 study that consisted of 381 women compared the side effects associated with 2% minoxidil use and 5% minoxidil use.
While the results of the study showed that 5% minoxidil use was more effective, it also showed that side effects were more common.
A total of 13.7% of participants in the 5% group experienced side effects, while 10.3% in the 2% group experienced side effects.
Now, while no studies have been performed specifically on 15% minoxidil, it is safe to assume that an increase in dosage means an increase in side effects.
Some of these side effects (including itching, burning, and flaking) may not seem that bothersome. However, as minoxidil is a vasodilator, you can also experience more dangerous side effects. These include dizziness, headaches, a drop in blood pressure, and heart palpitations.
(Learn more about the side effects most commonly associated with minoxidil here.)
Where to Buy Minoxidil 15%
If you are interested in giving minoxidil 15% a try, it is possible to get a prescription from a physician. However, many may be wary of prescribing such a high strength.
And, while you may see advertisements for minoxidil 10% and 15% online, it is best to steer clear of such products. These products are n ot regulated, meaning there is no guarantee that you will even be getting minoxidil. This is a waste of money, but it can also be dangerous.
What If the Results of Minoxidil 5% Are Not Enough?
If you are looking into a 15% minoxidil solution, you may have had poor results with the commonly available over-the-counter dosage of 5%. So, if 15% minoxidil is not recommended, what can you do?
Keep in mind that minoxidil only masks the symptoms of hair loss. Once you stop taking it – no matter what solution you used – your symptoms will return.
This is why you should focus on finding out the true cause of your hair loss so you can address it directly.
The first step is to visit a doctor. A doctor who specializes in hair loss, known as a trichologist, can examine your scalp, take blood work, and even perform a scalp biopsy. They can then present you with a course of action that is most likely to target the true cause.
You may also find that minoxidil or finasteride, the other FDA-approved drug for hair loss, are great temporary solutions. After all, you do not want to continue to lose hair while you try to determine the exact cause.
Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment used by thousands of men worldwide. However, sometimes the results from using minoxidil 2% or 5% do not come as quickly as you would like, and this may lead you to consider higher dosage options.
Before beginning a higher dose treatment, you should give the natural method outlined above a try.