The use of minoxidil in the treatment of male and female androgenetic alopecia: a story of more than 30 years

G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Feb;153(1):102-106. doi: 10.23736/S0392-0488.17.05781-9.


Even if minoxidil has been known for over 30 years as "hair growth stimulator" the precise mechanism of its action is not completely elucitated. Minoxidil shortens telogen, accelerates telogen-exogen phase and causes the premature entry of resting hair follicles into anagen phase. Moreover, minoxidil increases hair follicle size. A large part of hair treatment scientific literature confirms the efficacy of topically applied minoxidil in humans. In particular, patients treated with minoxidil showed a significant increase in "non vellus" hair count starting from baseline. Preparation of minoxidil requires molecule stability and solubility. Today are available on the market minoxidil-based formulations having low-concentration of propylene glycol to obtain preparations with a better cosmetical acceptance and dermatological safety. The body of evidences indicates that minoxidil still represent a milestone in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and that its story is going on.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Female
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage*
  • Minoxidil / chemistry
  • Minoxidil / pharmacology
  • Propylene Glycol / chemistry
  • Solubility


  • Minoxidil
  • Propylene Glycol