Beard Growth from Minoxidil

On January 21, 2003, a 20 year old man with the online name “Curi0usGeorge” started a US based beard forum thread about growing his sparse beard via applying extra strength Minoxidil (5% Rogaine) onto his face rather onto his scalp. In early March of that same year, he stopped his experiment, largely because he started getting excess body hair as a side effect. While he also got more facial hair from the Minoxidil, it was not in a pattern and density that truly satisfied him.

Tremendous Interest from men Wishing to Grow Beards

Little did “Curio0usGeorge” realize what he had started in 2003. His forum thread grew to 615 pages in length with 20 comments per page. Finally, towards the end of 2016, it was unfortunately closed by the moderators after 15 years of postings 🙁 Prior to 2003, while many others on the web had discussed (or experimented) with the phenomenon of Minoxidil growing facial hair, it was this mega-thread that became the go to place on the internet for men trying to grow denser beards using medication.

While myself (and numerous other men losing hair) have the opposite problem and would prefer a much less noticeable beard and slower facial hair growth, I still thoroughly enjoyed going through 100 or so pages of the above thread some years ago. I was amazed at some of the before and after photos and transformations.

I never forgot those visuals, and after I started this blog, I have posted about the above thread at least briefly in passing several times. It clearly shows that Minoxidil can grow new hair where there were none before and not just make existing hair stronger. Or, to be more precise, it can convert vellus invisible-to-the-eye unpigmented hair into terminal pigmented hair. I have never enjoyed using Rogaine on my scalp, but the numerous before and after photos in the above mentioned thread (as well as via the testimonials in here) have convinced me to keep using Rogaine to this day (albeit just several times a week in order to minimize side effects).

Note that while writing this post, I did not go through the above 615 page thread in much detail beyond a few initial pages this time around and am assuming all the photos are still in there. If any of you readers have some spare time, please post your favorite before and after Minoxidil facial hair transformation photos from that thread in the comments on here along with a page number from 1-615 for our reference.

Growing Beards with Minoxidil in Indonesia

The reason I wrote this post and remembered the above mentioned mega-thread is because earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published a very interesting related article on the front page.

Minoxidil Beard WSJ Article

If you cannot access the WSJ online edition, I have pasted an image on the left side of the first half of the story. Apparently, an entrepreneur in Indonesia by the name of Fariz Gamal has started a business to help men grow beards via just using Minoxidil. Like most Asian men, Indonesian men on average have much less facial hair in comparison the average caucasian men, and it is now becoming fashionable and trendy to grow at least modestly thick beards (especially in a Muslim majority country such as Indonesia).

When I did more research on Mr. Gamal, I came across this interesting article from April of this year from a local Indonesian magazine. He mentions that he orders the Kirkland brand of Minoxidil from the US. He claims that “he grew the full beard of his dreams after four months of regularly applying minoxidil to his face”. For social media fans, here is his Instagram page and here is his Youtube channel.

It should be noted that there are numerous very popular Youtube videos of men growing much thicker beards after using Minoxidil on their faces. However, I find some to be sketchy so did not select any favorites to embed on here.

There are now also numerous online forum testimonials with photos from men who have had success with this type of experiment. If I had the time, I would try to tally all the success and failure testimonials from these various beard and related forums (or at least from the 615 page thread that I mentioned at the start of this post) and calculate what percent of men who use Minoxidil on their face see significant new hair growth based on forum anecdotal reports (ideally, with photos as evidence).

Luckily, I do not have that kind of time on my hands, or else I would really do it as I think it is an important data collection venture.

Brief Items of Interest, June 2017

Hair loss news first:

— Apparently, there is a small subgroup of people who suffer from hair loss due to a condition called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED), which also adversely impacts nails, teeth and sweat glands. While studying this condition, the well known Dr. Sarah Millar and her team at the University of Pennsylvania recently found that “lower levels of Wnt10A may contribute to male pattern baldness in some individuals”. Later, they go on to state that “small molecule drugs that activate the beta-catenin pathway downstream of Wnt10A could potentially be used to treat hair thinning and palm and sole skin defects” in some patients suffering from male pattern hair loss. I have covered Wnt signaling and various associated proteins and genes (especially Wnt10b) a number of time on this blog in the past when relevant to hair growth, but it seems like this is the first post that has covered Wnt10a.

— Someone from the Netherlands emailed me yesterday with an interesting new story on a well known Dutch news site about an American guy named Darren Moore who is testing FOXO4-DR to regrow his hair. This self-experimenter’s website with frequent updates is here and he also has his before and after scalp photos on there. For more about the FOXO4 peptide and its killing of senescent cells, see my recent post on that subject. The Netherlands based researcher (Dr. Peter de Keizer) who did that groundbreaking work has warned people about the above experiment and its possible dangers in the Dutch newspaper article that I linked to at the beginning of this paragraph.

Besides the health ramifications, I am obviously very skeptical of one-off anecdotal reports, even though I do mention them if interesting. Note that Mr. Moore’s site has two links from where to purchase FOX-O4 from, but I would not recommend getting the product. It is extremely expensive and potentially highly dangerous as elaborated by Dr. Keizer (and worth repeating again). I would also like to first make sure that Mr. Moore is in no way affiliated with the websites that sell this product before taking him more seriously. Having said all that, I am now probably going to eagerly anticipate his diary updates over the next several months:-) I like that he posted a photo of himself with Liz Parrish, another self-experimenter that I have covered on this blog several times before.

Samumed continues to garner great publicity. They must surely be the most successful hair loss cure focused company of all time when it comes to getting media attention? Their big coup came last year via a cover page on Forbes magazine with some great photos such as the below inside:

— Like last year, Aclaris Therapeutics is presenting at various investor conferences and lets all of us see their slides and listen to their audio after registration. This time I have not listened to any live or recorded audio as yet (I waited for 30 mins on one day, but it never started at the announced time). For those who are patient, it is always worth hearing the audio out till the end, when attendees often get to ask questions. In their latest slides, Aclaris still maintains that are doing pre-clinical work related to topical JAK inhibitors for androgenetic alopecia. No announcements on when they will start phase 1 trials as yet.

— Wasabi found to benefit hair growth.

Baldness, how close are we to a cure? Not a bad effort, since most such articles are highly inaccurate and badly researched. Nevertheless, the author does not even mention the leading prospects for a cure or treatment such as Follica, Histogen, Replicel/Shiseido, Samumed and Tsuji.

New ADSC and hair growth study from Japan.

And now on to medical items of interest:

— Limitless lab-grown blood tantalizingly close.

— A drug that creates a real sun-tan (and subsequently, protects against skin cancer, rates of which have been rising rapidly).

— 3-person babies for older women having trouble getting pregnant.

— Progress in the cure for multiple sclerosis, a very debilitating auto-immune condition.

Defibrillator carrying drones.

A Hair Loss Blog