What is minoxidil shedding and is shedding beard hair normal

A lot of people note that minoxidil causes an increased amount of hair shedding.

Since some people use topical minoxidil for facial hair growth, this naturally raises the question if it can also lead to shedding beard hair.

Let me answer why shedding facial hair and hair in general is normal, especially when using minoxidil.


What is minoxidil hair shedding?

Minoxidil specifically works on the telogen phase of hair growth, meaning your hair stays less long in the resting phase which will thus lead the hair entering the exogen phase at a faster pace.

The exogen phase is where the shedding occurs. This also means that it is normal to experience increased and faster hair shedding and beard shedding than normal.


Is minoxidil shedding normal?

Minoxidil shedding is completely normal and can even be a sign that your minoxidil usage is working as intended.

Oral minoxidil can lead to more minoxidil hair shedding than topical minoxidil since more of the solution is absorbed in the body instead of just in the skin. In other words, there’s much more systematic absorption with oral minoxidil.

Minoxidil accelerates the different stages of hair growth which means you can return to the anagen phase, which is the growth phase, faster than without the usage of minoxidil.




Does minoxidil cause second shedding?

Experiencing hair shedding after initializing minoxidil is normal, and even expected.

A second shedding is not normal, and is probably an indication that there’s something else going on. Think of another underlying cause, such as:

  • Another disease has come into play
  • The hair loss is progressing despite using minoxidil
  • The minoxidil does not work
  • The minoxidil is applied incorrectly

While minoxidil typically halts, or slows down hair loss, this doesn’t mean that your hair loss is not progressive, despite using minoxidil.

Sometimes the minoxidil treatment doesn’t work. Everyone’s different. And that’s also why some people don’t respond well, or at all, to minoxidil. But if the minoxidil did its job at first, then there’s probably another reason why you’re experiencing hair shedding again.

The most probably cause is that another disease came on the scene. Think of diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, eating disorders, lupus, iron deficiency anemia, diabetes, and thyroid disease.

Oh, and don’t underestimate the effects of stress, especially chronic stressors. Many people have experienced sudden hair loss and shedding from stress.




Is beard hair shedding normal?

Picture of an adult man with a patchy beard.

Is beard hair shedding normal?

Shedding beard hair is also a common occurrence since facial hair constitutes as hair. Thus, this too is normal. Especially when using minoxidil.

However, there are other, more inconvenient, albeit often insignificant possible side effects to minoxidil usage such as an itchy beard.




Stages of hair growth

There are 4 stages of a hair growth cycle. These are:

  1. Anagen phase
  2. Catagen phase
  3. Telogen phase
  4. Exogen phase

Illustration describing the different stages of hair growth.

To understand hair and the minoxidil shedding phase more clearly, let me explain what the four stages of hair growth are:

  • Anagen phase

    The anagen phase of hair growth is the growth phase of the hair. Since it is the first stage of hair growth, this also implies that it is the start of facial hair growth.

    It is the longest phase, taking up between 3 and 5 years, even for the hair up your scalp. Although, this stage may last even longer for some people, as everyone’s biological makeup is different.

    Obviously, it would be a weird and ugly sight to behold if your eyebrows and, god forbid, your pubic hair would continue growing for that long. Thus, the length of the anagen phase depends on the place of your body where the hair is growing.

    Since your hairs are growing in the anagen stage, your hair follicles will continue to push the hair out of your skin until they reach the end of their lifecycle and fall out or until they’re cut off by shaving or cutting the hair.

  • Catagen phase

    The catagen phase of hair growth can be considered the transition phase.

    The catagen stage starts after the anagen phase has ended.

    It doesn’t last nearly as long as the anagen phase does, only lasting for about ten days before entering the next stage.

    The hair comes loose from the bottom of the hair follicle, but remains there for the last and final days of hair growth.

    A small percentage of the hairs on your head are alternately present in the catagen phase. Thus, it is also true that new hairs are continuously sprouting and growing out, starting the different hair growth phases all over again.

  • Telogen phase

    The telogen phase of hair growth is the resting phase of the hair.

    Again, a small percentage of your hairs are currently in this stage of hair growth and will continue to do so alternately for the rest of your life.

    In the telogen phase, new hairs don’t start to grow, but they don’t fall out either. New hairs start to form in the hair follicles that have recently been cut off in the catagen phase. But this is unnoticeable to the bare eye.

    It is the precursor to the shedding phase.

  • Exogen phase

    The exogen phase of hair growth is the shedding stage. Unlike the telogen phase, the exogen stage and consequently the hair shedding can be visible to our bare eyes. It can be considered an extension of the telogen phase.

    During this phase, hair is actually and actively shed from the scalp and other body areas. Washing ourselves and brushing our hair can help to get rid of the cast off hair at an increased rate.

    This phase can last between two and five months. But, again, this can take longer and shorter for some individuals. New hairs will start growing in the hair follicles when the old hair has reached its terminal phase and therefore, falls out.



Minoxidil causes our hair to go through the life cycle of hair much faster than normal.

As such, beard hair shedding and rogaine shedding is perfectly normal and even desirable since it shows the minoxidil is working as intended.

Normally, the hair shedding isn’t noticeable on our scalp since we’ve got on average 100 000 hairs on our scalp. If you have patchy facial hair, however, the beard shedding can be more noticeable.

The main takeaway is that minoxidil shedding is normal, and that taking the product simply means we go to the hair growth phases at an accelerated rate than we normally would.