How does minoxidil work?

Today we’ll be answering the question, “minoxidil how it works.


minoxidil how it works

To briefly summarize, minoxidil works due to:

  • Increases blood flow
  • Speeds up hair growth, quicker hair growth phase
  • Increases size and thickness of hair follicles

Its mechanism of action is not well-established. Scalp sulfotransferase changes minoxidil into minoxidil sulfate, the active form of the molecule. Variations between individuals in sulfotransferase activity may be the cause of the discrepancy in minoxidil efficiency.”[1] 

How does minoxidil work?

Mental representation of Kirkland minoxidil liquid.

Minoxidil works by improving the blood flow to the topical are where the minoxidil is applied. Thus, minoxidil and a multitude of other factors affect beard growth.

Since minoxidil is a vasodilator, it widens the blood vessels. This in turn leads to delivering more oxygen rich blood to the hair follicles where the minoxidil is applied.

Not only that, it also helps to increase the size and thickness of the hair follicles.

Topical minoxidil helps to speed up the phases of hair growth. It accomplishes this due to shortening the resting stage of hair growth (telogen stage) and helps to stay in the hair growth stage (anagen stage) longer. Many people, myself included, report that minoxidil has even allowed them to grow facial hair. Personally, I have never had any issues or negative side effects.

Minoxidil appears to act on the potassium channels of vascular smooth muscles and hair follicles, which may induce the following effects:

  • Stimulation of the microcirculation near the hair follicles by inducing arteriolar vasodilation, which may cause hair growth
  • Induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression increases vascularization around the hair follicles, thus contributing to hair growth.
  • Activation of the prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase one which stimulates hair growth   
  • Inhibition of androgen effects on the androgen-sensitive hair follicles
  • Direct stimulation of the hair follicles: Minoxidil may act as an ‘epidermal growth factor’ on matrix cells delaying their aging, thus prolonging the duration of the anagen phase via the activation of the beta-catenin pathway  

Minoxidil has been demonstrated to possess anti-fibrotic properties secondary to its effect on collagen synthesis.[2]



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