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November 12, 2021

Got a patchy or thin beard? Want it to be thicker and fuller?

No doubt you’ve heard of Rogaine, the over-the-counter treatment touted for hair growth and reversing hair loss. Commercials promoting a “miracle” turnaround for balding have been around for decades. 

Right off the bat, know that Rogaine is a brand name. The real name of its key active ingredient is minoxidil, which is supposed to stimulate hair follicles into growing thicker hair – even some follicles that have shut down.

Many dudes out there have had the thought, “If it helps grow hair on the head, wouldn’t minoxidil make my beard grow thicker and faster?”

Here are some of the crucial things to think about if you’re in any way considering using minoxidil for a beard.

Use at your own risk

Here at The Rugged Bros, we’re gonna give you some information about minoxidil and beards, but we’ll stop short of endorsing or nixing the product outright. 

Info out there is confusing. Some sites you go to will say never to use Rogaine on a beard, while others will say it’s fine and works great. 

For you, it could be an amazing godsend. Or it could be a disaster. Or it could be a bit of a nothing result for a lot of effort and expense.

Should you choose to try minoxidil for beard growth, we accept no responsibility, no credit and no blame. Know the facts and choose wisely.

It’s FDA approved – for HEAD hair only

The Food & Drug Administration has the authority to approve or ban products used by consumers, but there’s a slightly gray area with minoxidil.

Since the ‘80s and ‘90s, many fraudulent “cures” for baldness have been deservedly banned by the FDA – and man, there were a LOT of them. Back in the day, there was a shyster every minute on TV airwaves spruiking truly outrageous and, let’s be honest, BS treatments for baldness and thinning hair.

Minoxidil (Rogaine) was approved by the FDA in 1996 for treating male pattern hair loss and also female pattern hair loss. “Pattern hair loss” refers to hair on the scalp, not the face. So the key factor is that the FDA approval dealt with scalp hair only. It never delved into beard hair.

But because it’s an over-the-counter product, nothing is stopping somebody from trying Rogaine on their beard. 

What about studies that say it’s good?

Surprisingly, there haven’t been many studies in this area. We’d love to see more.

A crucial peer-reviewed study from 2012 showed some increase in beard growth and thickness after using minoxidil. But it was a study of only 40 men comparing topical minoxidil against an oral product called finasteride. The finasteride performed better for facial hair growth, but this product is prescription only.

Other studies have had a group of men use minoxidil while the same sized group has used a placebo product, with no participants knowing which product they got. Again the minoxidil showed better baseline beard hair growth.

There are some claims out there that say minoxidil increases the thickness of whiskers. The truth is that no research has shown that.

Be wary of “self-reporting”

If you see a bro online posting photos of his beard growth from using minoxidil, please take it with a grain of salt. It’s not scientific in any way and doesn’t show any reliable, repeatable patterns. Meanwhile, pretty much nobody will post that the product failed, so there’s inevitably going to be some bias (or financial incentive) towards saying how great it is.

How does minoxidil work?

In a nutshell, minoxidil applied to the skin opens blood vessels next to hair follicles to nourish and stimulate them. From there, hairs can grow better and stronger.

Is hair growth from minoxidil permanent

Nope. Its effects wear off quickly, so you have to keep applying it. If you stop, hair follicles reverse back to the way they were.

Are there any side-effects?

If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your physician. If you have heart problems, minoxidil could be risky and/or cause chest pain.

A common side-effect is that the color and texture of your beard can change.

Other side-effects are less common but do happen:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Skin redness
  • Acne
  • Soreness under the skin
  • Hair growing where the product wasn’t applied.

Some bros even experience worse hair loss after using minoxidil.

Much rarer effects may come from overusing the product, including blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, heartbeat changes, weight gain, and tingling in hands or feet.

Microneedling

Please beware of this. Some bros have sung the praises of microneedling in combo with minoxidil for beards. They claim the micro-punctures in the skin enhance the product’s absorption into the skin.

Dude, we love beards and want every bro to achieve his bearded best, but perforating your face many times over just to apply Rogaine seems a tad on the extreme side. That goes double when you consider that, if it seemed to work, you’d have to get such treatment many, many times over. Once won’t do the job.

Be a proud bro the way you are

There’s a beard style for every bro, no matter how thick or thin their beard hairs grow. Even those who can’t grow much more than chin hairs have found their rugged calling by developing amazing goatees, Van Dykes, chinstraps or a Balbo.

If you have a thin-growing or patchy beard, whatever you choose to do, we recommend:

  1. Work with what you’ve got to make the best beard you can with it.
  2. Always – ALWAYS – groom your beard with regular shampooing, oiling, brushing, etc.

Proper grooming and maintenance are the most important things you can do for your beard’s health and appearance. Clean and moisturized skin is vital for healthy hair follicle functioning and healthy beard growth. Plus oiling and brushing can stimulate follicles while taming and shaping hairs to provide a thicker, more luxurious appearance.

So look after your face and beard as your first priority. After that, trying minoxidil for your beard is entirely your call.