Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil: Pick The Best For Your Hair Loss

Medically reviewedby Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

If you're dealing with androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness, you've probably spent countless hours researching potential solutions to increase your hair mass and growth.

And there's a good chance you've come across two names again and again—nanoxidil vs minoxidil.

But what exactly are these ingredients, and how do they stack up against each other?

This quick guide tells you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

What is Nanoxidil?

nanoxidil clinical study for female pattern hair loss

Nanoxidil is a topical solution that has been shown to promote hair growth in both men and women with fewer side effects.

DS Laboratories Spectral DNC N contains 5% nanoxidil, azelaic acid and caffeine, among others.

One study (partly done by the people who sell nanoxidil) found that subjects who used nanoxidil experienced greater hair density and thickness than those who used minoxidil. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. In the picture below, you can see the progression of the study.

If you're interested in trying nanoxidil, talk to your doctor to see if it's right for you.

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How does Nanoxidil work?

Nanoxidil treatment is thought to work by increasing blood flow and nutrient delivery to the hair follicle, which may help to stimulate hair growth. In addition, nanoxidil may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to hair loss.

What is minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a medication that is used as a treatment for male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.

It's one of the two FDA-approved treatments for male hair loss.

Minoxidil is available in 2 concentrations: 2% and 5% minoxidil.

Minoxidil also comes in a variety of forms: topical minoxidil solution, minoxidil foam, oral minoxidil, minoxidil lotion etc.

When used correctly, minoxidil can be an effective treatment for receding hairline and hair loss.

How does minoxidil work?

Minoxidil works by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the scalp.

This helps supply nutrients to the hair follicles, promoting new hair growth.

In addition, minoxidil can help to preserve existing hair density and prevent further hair loss.

Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil: A quick comparison

The major difference is nanoxidil has a structure similar to minoxidil but with one less carbon chain, possibly enhancing scalp absorption for hair growth.

Feature Nanoxidil Minoxidil Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine
Active Ingredient Nanoxidil Minoxidil Bio-Pilixin® Formula
FDA Approval No Yes No (Not required)
Side Effects Inconclusive Some (e.g., dryness) Minimal to None
Application Method Topical Solution Topical Solution 3-step Routine (Serum, Shampoo, Conditioner)
DHT Blocking Yes No Yes
Scalp Health & Hair Nourishment Moderate Moderate High
Clinical Results Limited Studies Extensive Studies Clinically tested
Suitable for Sensitive Scalps Yes Varies Yes
Recommended Usage Frequency Twice Daily Twice Daily Daily Routine
Vegan & Cruelty-Free Varies by Brand Varies by Brand Yes
Money-Back Guarantee Varies by Brand Varies by Brand 150-day Money-Back Guarantee

 

While Minoxidil is FDA-approved to treat male pattern baldness, Nanoxidil's effectiveness is still under study.

Mechanism of Action

Both work by binding to adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels to prolong the growth phase or anagen phase of the hair follicles.

However, nanoxidil's smaller molecular structure allows for deeper penetration into the dermal papilla than minoxidil. This targeted action may make it more effective for certain types of androgenetic alopecia.

Effectiveness

Clinical studies show minoxidil is effective for androgenetic alopecia across various Norwood-Hamilton scales when used as directed.

Nanoxidil shows promise in studies for female pattern hair loss and those unresponsive to minoxidil.

Both generally work best on receding hairlines and thinning crowns but individual response varies.

Application

Nanoxidil is applied once daily as a topical spray while minoxidil is applied twice daily as liquid, foam, or oral minoxidil.

Proper administration is important for both to achieve results.

Side Effects

Minoxidil does come with some side effects, ranging from mild ones to severe ones.

One minoxidil's potential side effect is scalp irritation, often due to its propylene glycol carrier.

Nanoxidil lacks research, so for now, we can say that it might have fewer side effects. Without propylene glycol, nanoxidil could help those sensitive to minoxidil.

However, minoxidil is better studied overall for side effects and is the safer choice.

Cost

Nanoxidil tends to be more expensive.

At the time of writing, only DS Laboratories Spectral DNC N contains 5% nanoxidil. DS Lab priced this nanoxidil at $40 or 43€.

Minoxidil is widely available with many options.

Is there a third option?

No, we're not talking about hair transplant.

Let's talk about a natural alternative to help your thinning hair: Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Activation Routine.

This cruelty-free, three-step system is where nature meets hair science.

Nature spent years trying to perfect the active ingredient for our hair growth routine, we're just borrowing it.

Free from synthetic drugs, it nurtures your scalp and fosters hair growth with potent botanical extracts and nutrients.

Why worry about the side effects of drugs when you can go the natural route?

And it's not like it's not science-backed.

Just look at our clinical study results!

hair loss treatment study results

What really sets us apart? Our commitment to nature ensuring you avoid drug-related side effects.

Plus, with our 150-day money-back guarantee, it's all gain, no pain.

No drugs, no drama, just nature working its magic on your hair!

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Conclusion

These hair loss treatment options - Spectral DNC with 5% nanoxidil or 5% topical minoxidil are both potential ways to treat your hair loss and encourage hair regrowth.

The primary differences are higher absorption rates, fewer side effects, and higher prices.

For those who seek a natural, multifaceted approach to healthier hair, Scandinavian Biolabs contains Capilia Longa, an active ingredient with plant hair growth promoters that's shown in studies to help improve hair density and reduce hair loss.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.