Minoxidil beard shedding

People who are using minoxidil for male/female pattern baldness or men who use it in an attempt to grow a beard often report an increase in hair shedding.

Is there any validity to minoxidil beard shedding? Or is it just a misperception that people have?

Let’s explore the topic at hand in order to find out.




Does minoxidil cause shedding?

Image of a comb with hair in between it indicating hair shedding.

Yes, minoxidil causes increased shedding.

Even though minoxidil beard gains are permanent if, and only if the vellus hairs have transitioned into terminal hairs, one can still experience slight minoxidil beard shedding. Vellus hairs will not be permanent and fall out if topical minoxidil use is discontinued.

Beard shedding, or hair shedding on every body part that has hair for that matter, is a natural occurring process.

Why does minoxidil cause shedding

Minoxidil’s works by affecting the hair growth cycle. In particular, affecting the anagen (growth) phase. Since minoxidil speeds up the hair growth process, it means that hair shedding happens faster as well.

The hair growth cycle goes as followed:

  • Anagen phase
  • Catagen phase
  • Telogen phase
  • Exogen phase

When minoxidil beard hair shedding occurs, it means that those particular hairs are going through the natural hair growth cycle. Which includes the exogen phase, causing beard shedding to happen.

The hairs that have been shed will be replaced by either vellus or terminal hairs, depending on whether the hairs were vellus or terminal hairs before the shedding occurred.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/


How long does minoxidil beard shedding last?

Picture of an adult man with a patchy beard.

Minoxidil beard shedding typically lasts about 4–6 months, and starts occurring after 2–8 weeks after starting minoxidil treatment.

The reason is that after a few months, the amount of new, healthy grown hairs in the anagen phase will outnumber the older, cast off hairs from the telogen phase.

This means that minoxidil shedding is actually a good sign, and is an indicator that the minoxidil is doing its job.


Final note

To summarize, minoxidil beard hair shedding is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

This phenomenon usually becomes less visible with time since the amount of new, healthy hairs start outnumbering the number of older, less vigorous hairs that are being cast off.



1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/