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Have you noticed a lot of hair on your brush or pillow lately? Or maybe your hairline is starting to recede? If so, you might be experiencing hair loss. Although often associated with men, hair loss is a common issue for all genders. A treatment for hair loss is minoxidil (oral and topical) but it’s not without its problems. Minoxidil side effects can be serious but more so for certain folks, so it’s important to know where you fall.

Also known as alopecia, hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, stress, certain medications, and even improper hair care practices. Products with minoxidil work well to stimulate hair growth and even to slow balding. But not everyone should take the oral OR use the topical treatment. “Someone should not take oral minoxidil for hair loss are if they have a history of a rare adrenal gland tumor called pheochromocytoma, or if they are allergic to minoxidil,” says Dr. Toyin Falola, dermatologist at Ro. (A US-licensed healthcare provider at Ro can get you minoxidil if you are a good candidate.) “People with certain medical conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure or stroke should also speak with a provider as minoxidil may not be right for them,” she adds.

Both oral and topical minoxidil are also not recommended if you are pregnant, trying to conceive or are currently breastfeeding. This especially cuts out a lot of people. Otherwise, minoxidil is generally well-tolerated, Dr. Falola says. “The most common side effect of taking minoxidil is growing hair not only on your scalp but also in areas like the temples or sideburns,” she explains. “Known as hypertrichosis, this hair growth is usually mild and doesn’t mean you need to stop treatment. Other side effects seen in a small group of people include feeling lightheaded, retaining extra fluid, headaches or having a faster heart rate.”

Dr. Falola recommends chatting with your doctor about minoxidil alternatives, which can include “prescription oral medications, in-office procedural interventions, supplements, and light devices, like red light therapy.”

You can also try some of these scalp products below, each of which has a loyal following who say it really works. And there’s no minoxidil in any of ’em.



vegamour gro hair serum for thinning hair Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


Vegamour Gro Hair Serum

Vegamour uses phyto-actives (the power of plants) so you don’t need a prescription for this
one and it’s a safe first step towards reducing hair loss. Vegamour’s loyal community swears by the results.

nutrofol serum Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


Nutrafol Hair Growth Activator

This scalp and hair serum
is made with with the brand’s “Ashwagandha Exosomes.” These work to boost cell renewal and naturally activate thickness and hair strength.

Necessaire serum


Nécessaire The Scalp Serum

This fragrance-free serum uses a 5 percent biomimetic peptide for fuller, thicker healthier hair. It also contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and support a healthy skin barrier.


 Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives

Dr. Barbara Sturm.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Hair Fall Scalp Serum

This luxe brand’s scalp serum contains extracts of camellia and larch to nourish the hair follicle, strengthen the hair and reduce how much hair is falling out. Pro-vitamin B5 also nourishes the stands.



Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

Mielle Organics.

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

This scalp oil
went viral after TikToker Alix Earle said it helps make her hair grow. But she’s not the first to discover it. Though experts say there isn’t any data to back up rosemary as a hair growth ingredient, its millions of fans promise it works.

 Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


Augustinus Bader The Scalp Treatment

Chances are, you already know and love The Rich Cream. Now, give the luxe brand’s scalp oil a try. It reduces shedding and loss, supports natural hair growth and rejuvenates the skin of your scalp.

 Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


Philip B Scalp Booster

This pre-shampoo oil boosts the hair follicles while nurturing the scalp with vitamin E and lavender oil. It even heats up on your scalp! Expect more volume and shine right away and soon, hair growth.

collective laboratories

Image: Collective Laboratories.

Collective Laboratories Activating Serum

This science-backed brand has an entire system to help with your hair loss. Start with the detoxifying shampoo containing DHT-blocking saw palmetto and strengthen strands with the conditioner. Apply the non-greasy Activating Serum
daily to stimulate hair growth.

 Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


Briogeo Destined for Density Peptide Hair Serum for Thicker, Fuller Hair

The non-greasy formula contains what the brand calls the “Briogeo NOVA Complex” to help stimulate the scalp and strengthen hair for greater density for all types and textures. Caffeine and biotin round out the all-star ingredients.

 Minoxidil Side Effects Are No Joke—Here Are 11 Alternatives


dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Daily Scalp Serum

Apple cider vinegar helps keep the pH of the scalp balanced while this it exfoliates and unclogs hair follicles for healthy hair growth. Apple stem cells help stimulate
dormant hair follicles and biomimetic signal peptides combined with red clover extract help reduce shedding.

Act+Acre Cold Processed Apple Stem Cell Serum


Act+Acre Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum

Like skincare for your scalp, this serum
contains Swiss Apple stem cells to support hair growth and aloe vera to sooth an itchy scalp. There’s also bamboo and pea extract to hydrate the scalp and support collagen production.

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