Stopping Minoxidil Safely: Must-Know Tips From A Dermatologist

Medically reviewedby Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated
Considering stopping minoxidil but worried about the consequences? You're not alone.
Many people start using minoxidil to combat hair loss but eventually find themselves wondering if and when they should stop.
This article will guide you through the essential steps to take when stopping minoxidil, ensuring a smooth transition and helping you maintain your hair health without unwanted side effects.

Why you might stop minoxidil

While minoxidil is an effective hair loss treatment, there are several reasons why someone might decide to stop using it:
  • Unexpected results – not achieving the desired hair growth
  • Side effects – skin irritation, leg swelling, weight gain, chest palpitations
  • Cost of use – daily use can become expensive over time
  • No longer required – achieving desired results may prompt discontinuation
However, before you decide to stop taking minoxidil, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of doing so.
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What happens when you stop minoxidil?

When you stop using Minoxidil, you may experience increased hair shedding and a return to your previous pattern of hair loss because it only temporarily prolongs the hair growth phase and shortens the shedding phase.

After discontinuing Minoxidil, your natural hair growth cycle resumes. Since Minoxidil works by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase and shortening the telogen (shedding) phase, stopping its use can gradually reverse the positive effects you’ve experienced.

While side effects from Minoxidil usually subside within a few days, the hair shedding process might start three to six months later.

Therefore, managing expectations is crucial, as the effects of Minoxidil are not permanent.

Why should you stop using minoxidil?

man stopping minoxidil

You should stop using minoxidil if you experience severe side effects, such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or facial swelling.

Additionally, if you have allergies to minoxidil or if a healthcare professional advises against its use due to medical conditions or medication interactions, it's essential to discontinue use.

When should you stop using minoxidil?

time minoxidil starts working

You're thinking about stopping because minoxidil is not working for hair loss.

In that case, it's important to remember that minoxidil results can take time.

Minoxidil takes 3-6 months to work since the start the hair loss treatment.

If you've been using minoxidil for less than three months, it's possible that you simply haven't been using it long enough to see results.

On the other hand, if you've been using minoxidil for more than six months and you do not see any results, it's unlikely that continuing treatment will be beneficial.

What other alternatives to minoxidil are there?

You've stopped minoxidil.

But your androgenic alopecia is still there, and you want other alternatives.

Here's our list of the best alternatives to minoxidil!

minoxidil alternative ecklonia cava

They help to regrow hair in bald patches fast or end androgenetic alopecia.

What should you do after stopping minoxidil?

After you've decided to stop using minoxidil, you should do a few things to ensure that your scalp and hair are healthy:

  1. Wash your scalp with a gentle shampoo to remove any residue from the minoxidil.
  2. Massage your scalp for a few minutes to stimulate blood flow. You can also apply a light moisturizer to help keep your scalp hydrated.
  3. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to support the health of your hair and scalp.

Following these simple steps can help minimize any potential side effects from minoxidil discontinuation and avoid hair thinning.

What is minoxidil?


Minoxidil is a peripheral vasodilator agent that was initially developed as oral minoxidil for the medical treatment of a form of hypertension.

The users, however, reported growth in the form of hypertrichosis as a side effect of minoxidil intake.

This led to the development of a topical formulation that can help treat a variety of hair loss from:

Topical minoxidil can be applied directly to the scalp and is available in two forms - minoxidil foam and liquid.

As opposed to minoxidil solution which takes time to dry and is associated with scalp irritation, minoxidil foam dries up quickly and does not cause irritation of the scalp.

Minoxidil is effective on male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss.

How does minoxidil work?

how minoxidil works

While the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, minoxidil is thought to work by dilating blood vessels and enhancing blood flow to the scalp.

This increased blood flow is believed to nourish the hair follicle and combat thinning hair. The effects of minoxidil on hair growth are attributed to its active form known as minoxidil sulfate.

Minoxidil sulfate is synthesized from minoxidil and this reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme found in the scalp, sulfotransferase.

In addition to promoting blood flow toward the scalp, minoxidil also acts on the different stages of the hair growth cycle.

Minoxidil shortens the duration of the telogen phase while increasing the duration of the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.

It also promotes new hair growth directly by serving as an epidermal growth factor.

Minoxidil is available in both topical and oral forms.

It is typically used twice daily, but there are cases where you should use minoxidil once a day, too.

While minoxidil is generally safe and effective, there are mild and severe minoxidil side effects sexually, physically, and mentally. Therefore, getting medical advice from a health care professional is crucial.

What are the side effects of minoxidil?

headache minoxidil side effects

Here's a list of minoxidil side effects:

  • Minoxidil shedding
  • Continuous irritation
  • Reddened skin
  • Face swelling
  • Vision blurring
  • Sharp pain in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Flushing
  • Acne
  • Burning at scalp
  • Lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Body swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Facial hair growth
  • Increased hair loss
  • Hair root inflammation
  • Headache

How to boost minoxidil effectiveness?


If minoxidil is slow to work, you might try these two to boost its effectiveness:

These have been shown to work for male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.


Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Design, Development and TherapyVolume 13, 2777-2786.

‌ Badri T, Nessel TA, Kumar D D. Minoxidil. [Updated 2021 Dec 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:

    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.