This article was first published on October 14, 2022.
Psychiatric medications can cause hair loss much more often than is commonly realized. One of the strategies to manage hair loss due to psychiatric medications is to use topical minoxidil (Mckinney et al., 1996).
In my patients, if I recommend topical minoxidil, I recommend using it:
– In the form of foam, because it does not flow and is easier to apply
– In higher strength—5%—to try to maximize the effectiveness of topical minoxidil.
On this page, we’ll explain exactly how to use topical minoxidil foam. For giving to my patients, I adapted the instructions below from the Minoxidil 5% for women product label and Minoxidil 5% for men product label.
For other articles on this website about medication-induced hair loss, please see Related Pages below.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided as general education for medical professionals. Before using this product, it is important to make sure to carefully read the full product label that is inside the medication packaging and is available online at the links above.
What to expect
Any treatment for hair loss takes time to work. Typically, topical minoxidil foam takes 3 to 6 months to work.
How to apply topical minoxidil foam
– To prepare, rinse your hands in cold water. This is because the foam will melt when it comes in contact with a warm surface.
– Open the child-resistant cap by matching the arrow on the can with the arrow on the cap and then pulling off the cap
– Part the hair into rows as needed so that you can see the scalp with the thinning hair
– Hold the can of minoxidil foam upside down. Pointing the can straight down is recommended for releasing the foam effectively.
– Press the nozzle with one hand to squeeze foam onto the fingers of the other hand
– With your fingers, spread the minoxidil foam over the parts of the scalp where there has been hair loss
– Gently massage the foam into the scalp in those areas. Important! Apply the foam to the scalp and not to the hair.
– When you are done, immediately wash your hands thoroughly
Note: Hair products like hair color, etc, can be used. But the scalp should be washed before applying these products. Don’t use topical minoxidil foam 24 hours before or after the hair treatment.
How much to use
– The typical dose for adults is to apply half a capful of topical minoxidil foam at a time.
– Apply topical minoxidil foam twice a day.
Warnings and Precautions
Do NOT use topical minoxidil foam:
– In greater quantities than is recommended or more often. This could lead to minoxidil being absorbed through the skin and into the blood, which could lead to significant side effects.
– If your scalp is irritated, abraded, or sunburned.
– On any part of the body other than the scalp.
– During pregnancy or breastfeeding
McKinney PA, Finkenbine RD, DeVane CL. Alopecia and mood stabilizer therapy. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;8(3):183-5. doi: 10.3109/10401239609147756. PMID: 8899137.
Minoxidil 5% for women (product label). Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=b307bcb7-4659-4dd7-86aa-00b3735f5844. Accessed on October 14, 2022.
Minoxidil 5% for men (product label). Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=52210e2d-d87c-4b53-9b58-95c65c9d11fa. Accessed on October 14, 2022.
Alopecia / chemically induced
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Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided as general education for medical professionals. It is not intended or recommended for patients or other laypersons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified healthcare professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare professionals should always check this website for the most recently updated information.