Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil: What’s the Difference?

Nanoxidil vs Minoxidil: What’s the Difference?
Nanoxidil Vs Minoxidil: What’s The Difference?

If you have been looking into hair loss treatments, then you’ve probably heard about Minoxidil and Nanoxidil. Both can be used to treat hair loss, and both are easy to get. However, while they’re somewhat similar, there are a few differences that you should be aware of.

DS Labs for hair loss
DS Labs for hair loss

Spectral.DNC-N (with Nanoxidil)
  • Treatment for vertex and hairline
  • Contains Key compounds promote hair growth
  • An alternative to Minoxidil

What Is Minoxidil?

Between the two, Minoxidil has been around longer. It was developed all the way back in the ‘50s. Its main purpose was as an antihypertensive agent. While being tested, one of the side effects was increased hair growth.

When this side effect was seen, Minoxidil refined the product after much testing. They branded this new version 1988 as Rogaine. This was the first proven hair growth product, and grew to be quite popular. Nowadays, there are generic versions that you can choose. Some work just as well as the name brand.

Minoxidil is available in different strengths for those who have sensitive skin. For example, a 2% solution would be gentler on your skin than a 5% solution. However, the stronger the solution, the more likely it is to grow back your hair.

As a treatment for hair loss, Minoxidil works by using potassium channel openers (PCO’s). They open the channels to your hair, improve circulation to your scalp, and stimulate hair growth. This happens naturally, without affecting your hormones.

This means no unbalanced hormones, and it’s more likely to work for you no matter what’s causing your hair loss.

Kirkland Minoxidil

Pros And Cons Of Minoxidil

As mentioned, Minoxidil is great to use no matter why you are losing your hair. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why this treatment is still so popular today. However, this also contributes to the fact that it has a high success rate.

That being said, there are still a few people that Minoxidil will not work for, and there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone. Also, even when it does work it may not work to the extent that you want it to.

On the plus side, it can be used by both men and women. On the downside, however, any hair that is grown will possibly be lost if you ever stop taking this treatment. This means that if you do not keep taking it you will lose all of your progress.

Since it does not affect your hormones, it does not block DHT from attaching itself to your follicles. This means that eventually the Minoxidil may not be enough and you may eventually lose your hair anyway. Nevertheless, this fact also means that there is much less in terms of side effects for this treatment.

The few side effects that you might have a mostly mild such as headaches, dry skin, dizziness, itchiness, redness, and hair growth in other places. It is also perfectly safe to use with other treatments. Combining Minoxidil with a DHT often has even better effects than either treatment alone.

Finally, Minoxidil is also available in different forms so that you can choose which one is best for you. You can get these options over the counter without having to go to your doctor for a prescription too since it is recommended by the FDA.

What Is Nanoxidil?

Nanoxidil is in a way simply a more advanced form of Minoxidil. For years Minoxidil was studied and those studies were used to make Nanoxidil with the goal of making it more effective, easier to be absorbed, and have fewer side effects.

One of the most common ways to use Nanoxidil is in a lotion called Spectral DNC-N. This product features not only Nanoxidil but it also has other ingredients that boost the effects of it. In fact, most things that have Nanoxidil also have other things in it. This is one of the things that helps this treatment to be so effective.

While it does work the same way as Minoxidil by opening up the channels that your hair uses and needs, the molecules of it are bigger. This means that these molecules force the channels to be more open which is what plays a large part in the better results.

Nanoxidil was first released in 2011 and is advertised as a hair treatment for not only the crown of a person’s head but also for the edges and sides where Minoxidil has less success. This means that it is often used as a preventative as well as a treatment.

Pros And Cons Of Nanoxidil

As mentioned, Nanoxidil was made specifically to be like Minoxidil but with fewer side effects and better results. So, while there are still side effects that you should watch for, this is still a safer and more effective option if you are looking at hair loss treatments.

However, since it is so new it is not yet approved by the FDA. This means that you are going to have to go to your doctor and have them prescribe it for you. This also means that it is still unknown if there are any long-term effects of using it since it has not been around long enough to find out what these might be.


All in all, the differences between these two can be summed up by saying that Minoxidil is the old, tried, and true treatment for hair loss while Nanoxidil is the new and better treatment that may still have a few kinks that need to be worked out of it.

There is any number of tests and studies that have been done on Minoxidil that show how it works and all about it. Nanoxidil, on the other hand, is new on the scene and there have been comparatively few studies on it.

DS Labs for hair loss
DS Labs for hair loss

Spectral.DNC-N (with Nanoxidil)
  • Treatment for vertex and hairline
  • Contains Key compounds promote hair growth
  • An alternative to Minoxidil

With either option, you should give it plenty of time to work. If you experience some of the side effects from Minoxidil then you should at least consider trying Nanoxidil. Generally, women are more likely to experience these side effects.

Tired of chasing down hair growth solutions without the results you’re after? Make sure you’re using the 3 hair loss products known to work before experimenting with alternative solutions. You may be surprised with how effective these 3 alone can be.

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Christopher is the founder of Hair Loss Geeks, which launched back in 2011. At the time there wasn't any credible information on the internet about hair loss. As someone suffering from hair loss himself, Christopher began his extensive research journey. After launching the site, he later graduated from Boston University in 2012 with his PhD in Biochemistry. What started off as a hobby project quickly became a bigger focus as it grew. Christopher hopes everyone can learn from both his experience and research.

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