15% minoxidil  ||  All you need to know

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1. What is minoxidil?

Simply speaking, minoxidil is the No. 1 hair regrowth product not only in the US but around the world.  It is the only FDA approved product for hair regrowth.  It has been approved for hair regrowth since 1988. Most popular hair regrowth products such as Lipogaine, Rogaine, Keranique, Procerin, Provillus all have minoxidil. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people who are treating their hair loss are using minoxidil. Want to know more about minoxidil?  you can read the article --minoxidil all you need know (click here to access the article).


 

2. What is 15% minoxidil?

It is not quite clear if Dr. Richard Lee, a Los Angeles based dermatologist, was the first person who compounded 15% minoxidil hair loss growth product. He was for sure the one who made this formulation popular. It is the highest concentration of minoxidil solution that has ever been made. There was 20% or 30% minoxidil cream mentioned somewhere, but I haven’t seen such high concentration in solution yet, although technically 20% and 30% minoxidil in solution can be compounded.  In the 15% minoxidil solution, 15% weight of the solution is minoxidil. In another word, if you have one milliliter of the solution and dry it out, you should get roughly 150 milligram of minoxidil. In comparison, if you do the same with 1 milliliter 5% Kirkland minoxidil, you will get roughly 50 milligram minoxidil.

2. Two main reasons why azelaic acid is added to 15% minoxidil solution?

There are two main reasons why azelaic acid is added 15% minoxidil solution: 1). It has shown in vitro study that azelaic acid is a strong a DHT blocker. It reduces the DHT concentration in scalp to reverse genetic hair loss (male pattern baldness) that is currently believed to be caused by the excessive DHT in scalp. 2). the other reason that is not well known to general public is that it actually helps the solubility of minoxidil. Without azelaic acid and other additives, you can only get up to 6 to 7% minoxidil in a solution consisting of propylene glycol, water and alcohol. Can you get minoxidil up to 15% minoxidil by using 5% azelaic acid? The answer is no. See question 4 below.

 

3. Three main reasons why big companies are not interested in offering 15% minoxidil?

A lot of people ask why big companies don't offer 15% minoxidil if it really works better than 5%. There are three main reasons why big companies are not interested in offering 15% minoxidil. (1). They need to go through FDA approval process to allow them to market the solution. The approval process can easily cost hundreds of million dollars, let alone it takes many years to complete the clinical trials.

(2). They don't have a patent for the use of higher than 5% minoxidil solutions to treat male pattern baldness, which means any company can make and sell it. For something to be patentable, one of the requirements is that it has to be something new that was never disclosed to public (meaning no prior art). So even if a big pharmaceutical company decides to invest in 15% minoxidil and successfully get FDA approval, it won't be able to patent it since this formula has long been used. Yes, if they can make a 15% minoxidil foam, they could patent the 15% minoxidil foam because no one has ever made such a product to our best knowledge. Without a patent, a big company won’t invest in it to get FDA approval because its profits cannot be guaranteed. Keep in mind when big companies make decisions on investment, the first thing they consider is how much profit it can make not how good a product is. If selling sugar water or junk food can bring them big profit, they will not hesitate to do so.

(3). The last but not least reason is due to manufacturing and logistic consideration. For this formula to be absorbed in a reasonable timeframe, you will need use a lot of alcohol, higher than 50%, which is much more flammable than 30% alcohol. As a result, it completely changes the scope of requirement for manufacturing process and shipping, resulting in much higher cost.

A lot of people ask why there is no a big company that is smart enough to come with a fast dry 5% liquid minoxidil similar to EssenGen-5 Fast Dry. Why would they stick with a formula like Rogaine or Kirkland 5% liquid minoxidil that has only 30% alcohol and 50% propylene glycol which takes ages to dry, not switching to a 50% alcohol and 30% propylene glycol formula? We believe this is part of the reason.


4. How to compound 15% minoxidil?

One of the reasons why 15% minoxidil is offered by only a few suppliers is that it is technically challenging to compound 15% minoxidil. With minoxidil and 5% azelaic acid, you can get up to ~10% minoxidil. How to make 15% minoxidil is a trade secret. So don’t expect any supplier to disclose that information to you. It is certain not all the suppliers are using the same method to get up to 15%. Furthermore, different suppliers use different solvent, such as glycerin versus propylene glycol, or use different amount of propylene glycol, water, and ethanol. All of these contribute to the difference in stability, stickiness, greasiness, and effectiveness among different brands.

5. Are all 15% minoxidil the same?

No. Part of the reason is mentioned in question 4. In addition, different brands of 15% minoxidil add different auxiliary effective ingredients such as azelaic acid, retinol, and/or caffeine to the solution, which further differentiates one from another. Some people think the addition of retinol is just a sales gimmick, because retinol is useless and only retin-A works. That is not true. Although most studies were done with retin-A and demonstrated that it enhanced minoxidil penetration and therefore its effectiveness. There are reputable studies published in peer reviewed journals that have showed retinol enhanced minoxidil effectiveness as well. One advantage of using retinol instead of retin-A is that it is a much milder ingredient than retin-A and does not cause skin irritation as the latter does.

6. Why are people interested in buying 15% minoxidil?

The simple answer is: it works. As far as we know no single 15% minoxidil supplier has ever made any unrealistic false promises as what other hair loss products (literally hundreds of them on the market) typically do. Nonetheless, more and more people are turning to 15% minoxidil despite its much higher price than generic 5% minoxidil. Based on the feedbacks from people who have used it, there is no doubt that 15% minoxidil works and works better than 5%. You can Google "15% minoxidil review" to see what people say about 15% minoxidil if you are not convinced.


7. Is 15% minoxidil stable?

The stability of 15% minoxidil varies depending on how it is compounded. If properly compounded, it has pretty descent stability. According to the completed accelerated stability study, it shows that minoxidil and azelaic acid are stable for at least 2 years in a typical 15% minoxidil plus 5% azelaic acid formula.

8. Should a 15% minoxidil with 5% azelaic acid formula be yellowish?

Experienced users would very confidently tell you it should be yellowish. That is actually only partially correct. When you have very pure minoxidil and azelaic acid and compound them together, it is almost colorless when it is just compounded. Even with retinol at 0.1% concentration, there is tiny bit yellow color barely noticeable when the solution is just compounded. The yellow color slowly develops when the solution ages. The yellow color will be very noticeable when it is 1 to 2 months old if the solution has both azelaic acid and retinol, particularly if the solution is in a natural color plastic bottle or transparent glass bottle.

9. Glycerin or Propylene glycol, which one is a better vehicle for compounding 15% minoxidil?

When Dr. Lee compounded his 15% minoxidil (namely Xandrox-15) for almost 10 years, he always used glycerin. Later on when a few other suppliers offered 15% minoxidil, propylene glycol was introduced. So which is a better vehicle for compounding 15% minoxidil solution? Here is our experience. The glycerin based 15% minoxidil is milder than propylene glycol based one. It eliminates any scalp irritation caused by propylene glycol. Therefore, if you are known to be allergic to propylene glycol, a glycerin based version (or minoxidil without propylene glycol) is recommended. The down side of the glycerin based 15% minoxidil is that it takes slightly longer than the propylene glycol based version to dry. Is the glycerin one stickier than the other one? The answer is no. Actually, the opposite is true. Glycerin based one is somewhat greasier than propylene glycol based one. Nonetheless, the former is less sticky than the latter after it is dry. When the two types of solutions are properly compounded and used properly, they should be equally effective.

10. Is 15% minoxidil safe?

Because of minoxidil used in this formula, 15% minoxidil solution is expected to have the same potential side effects as generic 5% minoxidil, which are listed below. People are strongly recommended to be vigilant on all the listed side effects when using 15% minoxidil. I haven’t seen any customer who developed side effects with the use of azelaic acid in this formula yet.

 

11. Where to buy 15% minoxidil?

Unfortunately, if you are in USA, there is no easy way to get 15% minoxidil. You can not find anything with >5% minoxidil on Amazon.com; you can't find it from Ebay either. We have done very extensive search and couldn't find legitimate US online site that offers any product with greater than 5% minoxidil, let alone 15% minoxidil.   If you are outside USA, you should be able to find a few sites that offer authentic 15% minoxidil. You can find these sites by a simple Google search.

So, if you are in USA, one way to get 15% minoxidil is to have your local pharmacy to compound it for you. If your pharmacist has any technical difficulty in compounding the solution, please let me know and I may help.
 

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Hair Loss Products of Different Brands

 

 

Promox 15% minoxidil Lotion

 

DSlaboratories DNC-L

Dualgen

Proxiphen by Dr. Proctor

HLCC complete

 Provillus

 

Revivogen

Procerin

 

Minoxidil

Rogaine

Kirkland Minoxidil

Equate Minoxidil

 

Other Hair loss treatment products

Pura D'or

Regenepure

Lipogaine big 3

Visiscal

DSLab Revia

Shen Min

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