Extra Strength Minoxidil: 10% or 15%?

Most people do not try high strength Minoxidil. Hair growth from extra strength Minoxidil will be higher than from regular 5% Rogaine.

2% and 5% Strength Minoxidil

When Minoxidil was first approved by the US FDA to treat hair loss in 1988, it came in a 2% topical solution format under the brand name Rogaine. The product had already been used for many years prior to approval as an off-label hair loss treatment. In 1997, the FDA approved a higher strength version of Minoxidil in the form of a 5% topical solution that could only be obtained via a prescription, although that requirement was soon thereafter waived in 1998.

After Rogaine’s patent ran out, newer generic versions of Minoxidil have come onto the market. More importantly, the topical version (thought still available) has been superseded by a drastically superior foam version that does not run down onto one’s face (sometimes leading to tiny hair growth on the forehead!) or cause major itching.

I hated using topical Minoxidil, but love using the foam version as it acts like a mild gel and is not messy like the topical version. Minoxidil 5% foam has definitely helped my hair. Moreover, within an hour of  foam application, I find that my hair feels significantly thicker and fuller. I am certain that this is not a placebo effect. While you are supposed to use Minoxidil twice a day, many people just use it once a day.

Note that Minoxidil is also used by females and women’s 5% Rogaine foam was launched in 2014. Also of significance, Minoxidil still remains one of only two ingredients (the other being Finasteride) that have ever been FDA approved to treat hair loss.

15% Extra Strength Minoxidil

While 5% Minoxidil was initially considered to be a high strength version of the product, this is no longer true. A number of companies sell 15% (and in some cases, 10% Minoxidil) versions of the product, but I have never tried those. I assume most of these companies will require a prescription before they can sell it to you (and maybe it might even be illegal for them to sell in some countries such as the US).

High Strength Minoxidil.
Extra Strength Minoxidil 15%.

Minoxidil was originally used as a blood pressure medication, so if you ever use such a high strength product, buyer beware and make sure you measure your blood pressure regularly since the topical product does get absorbed systemically. When on Minoxidil 5% to treat hair loss, some people have complained about various side effects such as skin problems, an increase in body hair, water retention and more. Such side effects will probably be exacerbated when on 15% Minoxidil.

Two of the better known companies that currently sell Minoxidil 15% are Xandrox (based in Canada) and MinoxidilMax (brand name Dualgen-15). While the latter has some bad quality pages on its site with missing information, their 10 most popular questions section at the bottom of the home page is worth a read.

Dr. Richard Lee — Minoxidil 15% plus Azelaic Acid

The original high strength Minoxidil guru was a US-based doctor by the name of Richard Lee. I heard about his name on a regular basis on hair loss forums throughout the 2000-2010 period. He compounded an extremely popular high-strength 15% version of Minoxidil in the 1990s and added azelaic acid to it due to the latter’s anti-DHT (dihydrotestosterone) properties. Since he got an online presence very early on in the internet’s infancy, Dr. Lee’s business took off with a flourish and he had zero competition. However, in 2011, the at-the-time 72-year-old Dr. Lee started having problems with the US FDA and had to close his Regrowth LLC company. Case details here.

An interesting old Discovery Channel video with Dr. Richard Lee in there:

Dr. Oscar Klein — Minoxidil 15% plus Tretinoin (Retin-A)

Another US-based doctor by the name of Dr. Oscar Klein also became extremely popular for selling a reputable 15% Minoxidil based product that also contained Tretinoin (more widely known in the hair loss world by its trade name Retin-A). While Dr. Klein unfortunately passed away in 2014, his Hair Growth MD company still sells his Remox brand products.

A video of Oscar Klein from a 2003 NBC interview:

Even Higher Strength Minoxidil

Polaris Research Labs’ NR-10 product contains 16% Minoxidil. However, the company’s website does not mention where it is headquartered, but does say that the product is not available for sale in the US. I would try to learn more about this company before considering them.

The Medical Wellness Center online pharmacy supposedly offers up to 30% Minoxidil content lotions and creams. Belgravia Centre in the UK offers “high strength” Minoxidil. Please check with a physician before ordering such products to ensure legality and safety.

You can also go to local compounding pharmacies and they might be able to compound 20% or higher Minoxidil for you. However, this may not be particularly safe for long-term use, and there is a good chance that 20% will not be any more effective than 15%.

Minoxidil in the News Recently

One of the reasons I chose to write this post is because Minoxidil has been in the news recently, with companies either experimenting using it in their main product offering (Follica) or actually using it (RiverTown Therapeutics). Moreover, oral Minoxidil is also back in the news.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the combined effects of Finasteride and Minoxidil (see before and after photos) have essentially been a cure for hair loss for numerous people, especially when used in the earlier stages of hair loss.


72 thoughts on “Extra Strength Minoxidil: 10% or 15%?”

  1. I didn’t know there was anything above 5% available! I haven’t seen anyone saying they have used the 15 or 16% versions of it.

    Lately I’ve been doing some research about the side effects of Minox. I’ve been using it for nearly 10 years and I have never noticed any side effects but I’ve always complained about having an increased heart rate and I had no idea this can be a side effect of Minox until recently.
    Everytime I get my heart checked everything looks fine but when I do ANY physical exertion I feel like I’m about to puke my heart out. I get a lot of shortness of breath as well. And only after 10 years of using the product I found out these are listed side effects lol
    Anyways, I am not sure if that’s my case since I’m ALWAYS under constant anxiety (and that’s actually the reason why I’ve lost so much hair), so maybe I just need to learn how to manage my stress.
    Another thing that really really worried me was finding out Minoxidil can cause face wrinkles and dark circles cause it destroys your collagen. I don’t feel like my skin is bad (I’m only 24) but this made me sad as well :( Do I really have to choose between good hair or good skin?

    I was gonna say I would like to try a higher dose of Minox but both of these issues scared the hell out of me.

    Has anyone out there tried anything above 5%?

    1. Yes, I use the generic 5% minoxidil once every two days and have seen great results, but it took me one year

  2. Dont forget about belgravias minox formulations and medical wellness centers as well. Although i agree that minox and finasterides synergistic effect is great, while i was on both, my hair receded very rapidly and developed a type of pain that i havent ever felt. Sort of like nerve damage. Very odd, but point being that it is not the answer still.

  3. I have been to India years ago, It’s available over there in the local pharmacies, it would cost about $20-$25.
    I have used it like a month , when I apply it I get a sudden dizziness ,shortness breath, and a headache, I never thought it was the minoxidil since I apply it topically.
    I thought it might not work for me so I dropped it.

  4. I did try the 15%, the dermatologist said I should use it every other day.
    I had dizziness for a couple of min but that was it. The results were pretty good, I had no shedding and my hair looked much better. Unfortunately after 6 weeks, I had a major contact dermatitis, itching, burning sensation, so I had to stop.
    For nearly 3 years I couldn’t use any kind of facial cream, make up, etc.
    Now after 4 years I can use somethings again, but minoxidil is over, even the 2% or 5% version.

  5. I used minoxidil I start shedding like a crazy. One year later my density disappeared and the shedding continued in low rates.

  6. This is a relevant post due to it being only 1 of 2 FDA approved. It’s sad though that it is still even discussed and hasn’t been superseded by some better treatments.
    I gave up using it a few years ago due to side effects. It wasn’t so effective for me anyway.

    1. Yea, exactly! It’s practically 2017 and we’re still discussing minox. That’s such a shame and honestly it’s depressing :(

  7. Started losing my hair at 20, turned 54 on Sunday. Used 2% off label before Upjohn released Rogain. I’ve tried EVERY Minox formula mentioned (after Dr. Lee was shut down) in the article with the exception on Belgravia. While I still have a decent head of hair my hair took a major hit with the demise of Dr. Lee/Xandrox. I can say that the other two you mentioned are certainly not affiliated with Dr. Lee. While some are better than others, in my opinion nothing can compare to Dr. Lee’s formulas. I switched to Avodart from finasteride a year and a half ago, have had PRP 4 times and still not back to where I was with Dr. Lee. Possibly just bad timing, age and androgens are catching up with me. Come on new treatments, this old dude still wants to look young! :-)

    1. Lol thanks for the comment. Love hearing from people who have been at this longer than myself.

      Regarding the two sites, they both mention Dr. Lee on their pages, and if you google Xandrox and Dr. Lee, you will see many links. I just assumed that the owners of those two sites (at least of Xandrox) might have previously been affiliated with Dr. Lee. In that link I have about his problems with the FDA, they list the names of two younger guys and I wonder if one or both own Xandrox?

    2. Hey Stu,

      I thought I had it bad that I’ve been fighting this for 6 years! Good on you for keeping at least some hair in all of this time… You really deserve to have a cure :) Best of luck in the future.


  8. Xandrox is just some fluke minox company in Canada the Xandrox name. The ingredients are different and someone had it tested, it’s not actually 15%. Here’s the YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe6jiMbSAnA
    My guess is that it was Dr. Lee who was an honorable guy, protecting what was left of his legacy. Minoxidil Max is ok, they also make for others like Lipogaine, Minoxidil Labs (also out of Canada). I’ve tried em all, these and more young admin, I’m the Yoda of hairloss treatments!

  9. Xandrox is just some fluke minox company in Canada now able to use the Xandrox name. The ingredients are different and someone had it tested, it’s not actually 15%. Here’s the YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe6jiMbSAnA
    My guess is that it was Dr. Lee who was an honorable guy, protecting what was left of his legacy. Minoxidil Max is ok, they also make for others like Lipogaine, Minoxidil Labs (also out of Canada). I’ve tried em all, these and more young admin, I’m the Yoda of hairloss treatments!

  10. Admin

    “hair feels thicker and fuller” yes but is this happens is because you are making the wrong way. Minoxidil only works in scapl not direct in the hair.

    1 more thing. You know anything about laminins-511? Thks

  11. Re: once vs twice per day: Once a day topical use of Rogaine (topical minoxidil 2% and 5%) seems to be almost as effective as using it twice a day. The reason is, that although minoxidil has a relatively short half-life of several hours when given orally, when topically applied, it has a half-life of 22 hours in the skin. This suggests that once a day dosing is a reasonable option. https://www.bernsteinmedical.com/medical-treatment/medications/rogaine-minoxidil/

  12. Ever since puberty I´v had a slight acne on my upper back (I´m 28 now). But after I used minox my acne seemed to explode. It was ridiculous. After I stopped minox after 6 weeks , the acne vanished after a while.

    I just hope, that the Brotzu lotion won´t have this side effect for me in case it works…

  13. I’ve been considering Minoxidil for a while, but I really don’t want to mess around with my hormones with Fin. Is it worth hopping on Min and Nizoral alone while I await Brotzu et al? Will I lose any Minox gains after starting other treatments if I stop Minox?

  14. @Egg. Wait…Wait until the Brotzu lotion and other treatments (SM04554 and Histogen between some of the other) come to market without a doubt in 2017.

  15. Anyone else stop min years ago because itade their head look extremely greasy and rub off on things like pillows? I value my cleanliness over having a few greasy velus hair popping out of my head…

    1. I was living in Australia and using a brand of Minox that didn’t make my hair greasy but very chalky (?) and hard somehow. I don’t know how.. But I kinda liked it cause it made my hair look fuller.

      Now I’m back to my home country (Brazil) and I have to ask a compounding pharmacy to make it for me since Rogaine and other brands you can buy at normal pharmacies are EXTREMELY expensive here.
      And yeah, this one I’m using now is terrible, makes my hair very very greasy and I feel like I have to wash it everyday. Now I’m not sure if it’s only the Minox itself or if my scalp has been more oily because I’ve been way more stressed lately.

      Not sure what brand you used but maybe do a test and try a different one? I can’t wait to go back to Australia and get that other Minox again lol
      Btw, the one I was using there was called “Hair A Gain”, something like that. Not sure if it can be found in other countries.

      Good luck xx

  16. Hi Admin,

    There is real excitement on a thread in the Hair Loss Talk Forum regarding Fidia and the Brotzu Lotion.

    Any updated thoughts since you mentioned it in September?

    1. Hi Willi I have not thought much about the subject, but did notice that thread and read a few comments in there. May write a post on it if there are more concrete developments, especially from Fidia.

      1. The thread is ridiculously cluttered but the general consensus from commenters is that the trial is about to be concluded and a potential press release in January/February.

        Hopefully good news, cheers.

  17. I’m 47 and used dr Lee’s xandrox for many years. I was in my 20’s and had lost my temples and was getting comments that my crown was thinning and .25 mg per day finasteride plus 5% xandrox night and day formula grew it all back. I have no picture proof but his products were the best, amazing results.
    The night minox had the retin-a and the morning didn’t but they both had azelaic acid. The theory was that the retin-a would peel some skin over night and morning dose would have better absorption. It was a sad day when he was shut down, those were my best hair days ever.

  18. I thought there was japanese studies proving that ketoconazole also worked for blocking dht. I guess thats not fda approved though.

    Also i should mention there is 6 different types of retin a (tretinoin being the first created) its also the cheapest form. There is micro retin a and a whole bunch others i cant remember the names.. my minoxidil is 5%minox 0.5% retinol(which turns into retin a within the skin) and 0.8% keto. I use about 3ml on the temples in the morning and add 7ml of kirkland t9 the rest 0f my scalp and then 1ml of minox/retinol/keto at night.

    Never tried azaelic. Im n0t sure why my minox supplier doesnt use it

  19. God damn, those a… at the Cali. Board of Medicine yanked Dr. Lee’s license, that he’s had since the 60s, b/c he was selling a more intense dose of minoxidl?

    Shouldn’t you mention that Lipogaine consists of minoxidl and azelaic acid? It looks like Amazon yanked the product from its site, however the company’s still selling it.

  20. Replicel is a dead end company with a sht solution. The only hope they have is with sisheido. I wish sisheido had the original concept instead of replicel because they are the ones who have a chance to make it to market. Replicel just sat there for years. This crap should have been released back in 2014 along with histogen. I’m starting to really doubt them as well. I mean what is the hold up? You are doing trials in mexico, I’m sure the laws there are free to do what you want compared to here. Unless they plan to bring it to market this year since Obama passed the new 21 century law. Fingers crossed.
    As for compounded minox, I agree it works much better than standard versions. I have seen more people are forums with better success using compounded versions.

    Brontzu is a complete scam in my opinion. The people in that other forum have gone dilutional speculating the crap out of it. If it actually works, and restored tons of hair I highly doubt it would be sold as a cosmetic. If it gets sold over the counter with prescription then you can bet your ass top pharmaceutical companies that are working on hairless aka SM, Replicel, Merk, HT docs will block that from ever hitting the shelves or they will buy the solution from fidia and shelve that for life.

    It’s been over 20yrs since a new treatment….it’s just sad and pathetic..

    1. @mjones. Block that? I don’t think that. There are millions of people (men and women) who can not use current treatments. No one is going to block anything. Do not be naive please. Think.
      Brotzu lotion will give more money to HT industry. That’s for sure…

        1. Yes, because a combination of minoxidil and finasteride without any of its side effects would be sooo terrible right?

          I think people often forget the vast majority of AGA are not completely slick baldies yet and many of them just want some regrowth + maintenenance.

          My hair is thinning. I can’t use fin. Something like this would be good for me.

  21. I honestly believe that Brotzu will be a game changer.. perhaps not the ideal treatment to regain loads of hair but at least for AA it will work.. that’s a base for al the other alopecias and the industry will probably start to speed up the products they have in the pipeline.

    I cardiologist stepping in in the hair industry seems odd….but at least is putting is product out there…all the other s are in trial stage for ages….. are they sitting on a chair see if a hair come s out of the head?


  22. Admin, why are you considering uping the percentage? Does 5% effect starts to weaken? If so for how long do you use minox already?

    Just asking cause I don’t start using minox myself cause studies show it begins loosing effect after about one year of usage.. Are there people who managed to use minox long term – 10 years or so without changing dosage or adding other treatments?

    1. Hi Contemplator,

      I am not considering increasing the percentage for my own use at the moment. However, reading some of the favorable comments, I would definitely have been willing to try the Dr. Lee product if it were still sold by him:-(

      I have used Minox on and off for at least 10-15 years, but I used to get lazy with using the liquid product, and in the past several years have become lazy with the foam product even though I know it helps my hair for sure, albeit not drastically. Maybe use it 2-3 times a week at the moment.

    2. Hey mate, I’ve been using Minox for 6 years. I started to lose my hair again after 5 years on Minoxidil so I switched to Minox 10% (with glycerin) but it doesn’t seem to help — still shedding badly. But I assume the problem is that after 5 years I became allergic to propylen glycole. I’m using 5% PG solution in the morning and 10% no PG in the evening but I’m considering to switch to foam (no PG) in the morning.

  23. @isa what is you problem with me? A say somthing wrong? I just say nothing! Nothing new….. If you want to live with false hopes o ok!

  24. Guys help I used nizoral shampoo 2 times a week; after the 2nd time I saw 2 red patches on my scalp what does that mean; I have a kid 1 year I am afraid of using minoxidil because he can touch my hair and absorbs the minoxidil!!!

  25. Hello author! Since you mentioned that you prefer Minoxidil foam instead of liquid I would like to ask you the following question: do you think that foam is equal to liquid solution? As for me, I was always afraid to use the foam because I believed that it’s less powerful than liquid due to the fact that it doesn’t contain PG and absorbs too fast. However, after 5 years of using Minoxidil liquid I became an allergic to the solution containing PG so I’ve been using minoxidil with glycerin for the last 6 months. However, it’s greasy and dries too slow so I want to try the foam in the morning. What is your opinion on the topic “foam vs liquid”?

    1. Hi Gregory, I make sure to rub in or press in most of the foam that I apply to ensure that it gets absorbed into the scalp. I find the foam to be better than the liquid in every possible way, including results. And it never ever slathers onto my forehead like the liquid.

      1. First of all, let me thank you for you reply… :-) What do you mean by “including results”? Did you make any research on this topic or it’s about your personal experience? Some sources say foam is equal to the liquid while other say liquid gives better results. Do you agree? And what do you think about “glycerin vs PG” topic? Especially, when it comes to 10% solution. I’m asking it because I use 10% minoxidil with glycerin and azelaic acid from minoxidilmax but I’m unsure if glycerin can hold the higher percentage of minoxidil. Minoxidilmax claims that Azelaic acid helps glycerin in this case but I didn’t find any proves. All in all, do you think it’s possible to have 10-15% solution based on glycerin? Thanks in advance!

        1. Hi Gregory it was based on my personal experience. With foam, I got thicker hair than with topical.

          I have not done any research on glycerin versus PG unfortunately. I do know that the PG in the topical caused a lot of people to itch and there is no PG in the foam. I definitely had itching with the topical at times, but not with the foam.

          1. Well, I got my hair thicker with foam too but I believe it’s an effect of alcohol which gives a volume to hair. So in the short term foam rules but what about long term results? After all, we want to make follicles healthier, not hair. Adding volume to hair is a cosmetic result which I can accomplish with a keratin, for example. Do you consider to make a post on PG vs glycerin?

  26. Admin do you prefer using minoxidil in combination to other ingredients that increase its absorption what are such ingredients? ; and in combination to other ingredients that help in stopping hairloss and maybe regrowth what about these ingredients?

  27. I tried 10% Minox from MinoxidilMax and then 15%. I can’t honestly say if it made much of a difference at all over 5%. Perhaps I’m not a Minox responder, I started Minox and fin at the same time so don’t know what to attribute my results to. Back to fin and 5% Minox now. Noticed no difference. Also added DUT 3x per week 8 months ago with no noticeable change!

  28. Hi Admin, I saw you mentioned Minoxidil cream by polaris research labs and wanted to clarify who they as I have been using them for the past 8-9 months, They are now called Follics and there sub-brand is called Regrowth Labs they are based in Miami USA under the compounding firm called sapphire health USA I doubt you will get much information from them especially if you are in the USA as for legal reason they are not allowed to promote or sell there products to U.S market, I usually by 2 of there products the Topical Finastetide FIN25 and there Follics FR16 the only online place I can get hold of these are from — they are mainly marketed outside of USA and in many private clinics so far after using it for approx 8-9 months I have finally seeing results albeit slow tiny follicles one of the reasons am using these is because it has real address and manufactured under USA GMP.

    1. Hello there, Did you buy them from this place minoxidil express if so are they any good products look the part and need some serious treatment as my scalp is almost like Gobi desert completely lifeless.

  29. I’ve been using min for about 9 years. I started with 5% min but after 4 years of using effect disappeared. Now I use 15% illegal min for 5 years. In Russia we can easy buy 15% min. But I have skin destroying and problems with heart. But I endure for the sake of the hair. Appearance is very important.

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