Image by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Vin Diesel Uploaded by Dudek1337), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hair loss treatment is a world full of psuedo-science, conspiracy, and fear mongering. It’s a stressful thing for a guy to go bald, and the toxicity of the web can sometimes accelerate the process. So, with that in mind, here is a no nonsense, rational approach to a pretty common question. The two most popular treatments of male pattern baldness are minoxidil and finasteride. Finasteride is a topic of much debate, and we’re not going to get into that in this post. This post is to address two simple questions: Does minoxidil cause wrinkles, dark eye circles, or facial bloating? If so, how can one treat or mitigate minoxidils potential side effects?
Put simply, yes, for some people, minoxidil can have side effects. After going through it myself and reading hundreds of cases online, I’m convinced that minoxidil can cause wrinkles, droopy eyes, and facial bloating for some people. Minoxidil works. Chances are, minoxidil side effects won’t happen to you – but even if they do, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a deal breaker.
In my own anecdotal experience, I had very visible dark eye circles and new wrinkles on my forehead within 3 months. With that said though, I didn’t quit minoxidil. I simply made a few adjustments to account for the potential damage minoxidil was causing, and was able to continue treatment.
It isn’t just me to experienced this, browse forums like hairlosstalk.com, reddit.com/tressless, and even a few google searches of “minoxidil wrinkles, minoxidil dark eye circles, etc.” will give you more than enough anecdotes of people facing similar side effects.
Disclaimer: If you feel any of the listed minoxidil side effects, you should follow the labeled warning instructions. Immediately. Do it now.
Why does minoxidil cause wrinkles, dark eye circles, or facial bloating?
There are no studies looking into this, and with good reason. The product works, people buy minoxidil, the market is good. Why would the businesses producing minoxidil (the active ingredient in products like Rogaine), spend money on a study that could potentially validate a new side effect that would make people more hesitant to buy their product? They wouldn’t. Because of this, it’s really up to anecdotal evidence and people reporting their own stories on the internet.
The general consensus on the cause of wrinkles and eye circles is simple: minoxidil slows down collagen production in the skin.
The general consensus on the cause of facial bloating, though less prevalent, is that minoxidil may cause water retention in the face.
Collagen keeps skin taught, bright, and plush. As you age, collagen production slows, and it results in wrinkles, dark eye circles, and so on. Using minoxidil products like Rogaine can potentially speed this process up, by contributing to the slowing down of collagen production. You can speed collagen production up using a retinol product like this.
The first side effect to typically show is the darkening eye circles. This is because the skin under your eyes is the most thin.
Fear Not – You Can Mitigate These Minoxidil Side Effects and Keep Using It
I continued use of minoxidil long after I initially noticed the dark circles under my eye and wrinkles on my forehead. You can treat the side effects of minoxidil and still use the product with success. With that said though, you should always speak to your doctor when making this consideration. This worked for me, but everybody is different.
Consider lowering your absorption rate
If minoxidil is affecting your eyes and face, it usually means that too much minoxidil is being absorbed into your body. There are a few things to consider here:
- Are you putting minoxidil on right after a hot shower? After a hot shower, your pores are opened. If you apply minoxidil to a scalp full of open pores, a lot more minoxidil will be absorbed than necessary.
- Are you applying minoxidil more than you need?
- Consider using minoxidil once a day. This study showed that using minoxidil once daily fared similar results to the recommend 2x a day application.
- Consider switching to a foam product
- Liquid minoxidil absorbs significantly more than foam products
- Stick with something like Rogaine Foam. If you use it once a day, that will last you about 6 months.
Make sure your pillow isn’t covered in minoxidil
If you sleep with minoxidil applied to your hair, it’s completely possible that your pillow is covered in minoxidil. If you have a pillow covered in minoxidil, it’s likely your face is absorbing minoxidil on a nightly basis which is totally unnecessary and definitely not helping your cause. Shower before you go to bed, don’t apply it before you go to bed, and wash your pillow case often. Crisis averted.
Drink a lot of water
You should be doing this anyway, but if you’re experiencing skin aging it’s doubly important. Water will keep your skin flush of toxins. Plus – when you are hydrated internally, the external benefits are visible as well (hydrated skin ages slower).
Get enough sleep
Yep – even people that don’t use minoxidil get the occasional baggy, dark eye circles. What is the tell-tale cause? Lack of sleep.
“Why are your eyes baggy?”
“Ah, well – I didn’t really get much sleep last night. I’m so tired.”
Sleep is huge for all aspects of your health, you need to be getting enough of it. For adults, 7-9 hours seems to be the general recommendation, though different people work with varying amounts of sleep.
Get on an anti-aging skincare routine
Chances are, if you are like 99% of the male population, you probably aren’t really taking care of your skin in the first place. This needs to change. Below is a routine that I use on a daily basis, and with great effect. This is the routine I have been using for a few years now, and I look younger than I did when I started Minoxidil. This is the holy grail of fighting aging from Minoxidil.
All You Need to Fight Minoxidil Aging
If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck – all you need is an eye circle cream and retinol. Retinol is the single most effective topical anti aging treatment science has today, and I believe it is the prime factor for the youthful appearance of my skin. It’s almost unbelievable, but I really do look younger than when I started.
Under my eyes, I use the eye circle cream in combination with the retinol, and there are no circles anymore. Even if I barely sleep, there are no dark circles. I’ve tried a LOT of different dark eye creams and nothing worked, even in combination with the retinol. I wasted so much money on other brands, don’t repeat my mistake, just get the Brickell Mens Organic Restoring Eye Cream.
This is what I use every day
- Use these two things every night, after you shower
- Brickell Mens Organic Restoring Eye Cream (Hydrates the skin under the eye)
- Amara Organics Retinol Cream for Face (Retinol boosts collagen production in the skin)
I know, this post might seem like a lot. The reality is though that everything above is basically effortless. All you have to do is sleep more, not apply minoxidil after a shower, drink water, clean your pillowcase, and rub lotion on your face every night. Do that, and you’ll see that you can successfully fight the aging side effects of minoxidil to your skin.
Follow through for a few months, and before you know it your skin will look great! Additionally, you’ll probably start to feel pretty good about how you look. You know what they say, “look good, feel good.”
Since you’re using minoxidil already, have you considered derma rolling? It’s an effective treatment method that works well in unison with minoxidil, we wrote about it here.
Update March 2019
This post was initially written for bald guys that use minoxidil. Since it was written 2 years ago, a new wave of readers has come to this page – the reddit minoxbeards crowd. The general ideas of the article remain the same whether you are a bald guy or a guy trying to grow a minoxidil beard. My recommendation is this: if you are experiencing facial side effects, decide what’s more important to you: a beard or nice skin. You can have both if you’re lucky, but you may have to decide between the two.
We also recommend you check out some of our other pages, like:
- Dating as a bald guy
- Alternatives to Finasteride (That Actually Work)
- Bald Style: How to Dress When You’re Bald