Minoxidil is a topical ointment used to treat/slow hair loss and aid in potential new hair growth. Over the counter, it comes in 2 strengths: 2% and 5%.
Both strengths are applied to a dry scalp twice a day. Some doctors carry higher strengths available by prescription only, which are usually applied once a day.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying minoxidil.
Unfortunately, minoxidil is not a permanent solution to hair loss, and generally within 4 – 6 weeks after stopping usage, your symptoms will return.
Minoxidil was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. For many years, minoxidil, in pill form (brand name Loniten), was widely used to treat high blood pressure. Just like finasteride, researchers discovered a very interesting side effect of the drug. People taking the medication were growing hair in unexpected places, such as on their cheeks and the back of their hands. Some people grew hair on their foreheads.
Some enterprising researchers had the notion that applying minoxidil topically, directly on the head, might grow hair on balding areas. It did, to varying degrees depending on the extent of the hair loss, but at the time it was revolutionary – Web MD