Minoxidil vs Nanoxidil: Which One’s Better for Hair Loss Recovery?

Whether you are a man or woman, you are likely to experience a bit of hair loss especially as you age. While this is normal, losing a lot of hair can be a cause for alarm. A balding head or thinning hair can take a toll on your self-esteem.

It is only natural then, that you would want to find a solution for your problem. In your quest for hair loss products, you may have come across Minoxidil and Nanoxidil and you are probably wondering which one of them would be the best option for restoring your lost crown.

Well, in this review, we are going to compare the two so that you are in a better position to decide which one is best for you. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Head to Head Comparison Between Minoxidil and Nioxin

Here’s a summed up table comparing these two relatively popular hair regimens. Keep scrolling for a detailed comparison.

Minoxidil (Rogaine) vs Nanoxidil comparison table

What are They?

Why don’t we start by finding out exactly what these are?


Originally created in the 50s to manage hypertension, Minoxidil has been around longer in the market. It has evolved into a hair loss solution because as it was being tested, it was discovered that it increased hair growth as a side effect.

Seeing this as an opportunity, the manufacturer refined the product and branded it Rogaine. It was quite popular then and it still is now. Anyway, Minoxidil comes in different strengths which are 2% and 5%. You can go for the former if you have sensitive skin and the latter for bigger results.

Minoxidil comes in the form of a lotion that you are supposed to apply topically to your hair and scalp.

Also Related

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In a way, Nanoxidil is a Minoxidil derivative. Why do we say this? You see, Minoxidil has been a subject of study for years and this was supposed to give birth to a newer version that had fewer side effects and was easy to absorb.

Most people use Nanoxidil in lotion form and you will be pleased to learn that the product contains other ingredients that make it more effective. 

Nanoxidil was launched in 2011 and marketed as a treatment for crown hair loss as well as sides and edges where Minoxidil did not deliver positive results. That tells you that the product can be used as a treatment for hair loss and as a hair loss prevention product as well.

How they Work

When it comes to hair loss, Minoxidil functions by making the most out of potassium channel openers (PCO’s). These enhance blood circulation to your scalp, open your hair channels, and ultimately promote hair growth. The best part is that this happens without interfering with your hormones.

That also means that you will not be dealing with fluctuating hormonal levels and a higher likelihood of the product working regardless of the cause of your hair loss.

On the other hand, Nanoxidil or spectral DNC-N works by opening up your hair channels just like Minoxidil. The only difference is that it has bigger molecules. That translates to bigger hair channels and hence potentially better results (in theory) mainly because it is better absorbed by the skin.

Our conclusion here is that Minoxidil partly fulfilled its promise and Nanoxidil was created to fulfill that promise fully.

The Differences Between Rogaine vs Spectral DNC-N

Let us look at some of the major differences between these products. That should help you be more decisive.

The Smell

As far as this goes, perhaps it will interest you to learn that Nanoxidil does smell better than Minoxidil. According to many users, Nanoxidil has a fresh smell, unlike Minoxidil which has an alcohol-like scent. Not that this is a deal-breaker, but some people would rather not walk around smelling like alcohol.


Nanoxidil is a water-based product. That means it is not as greasy as Minoxidil. Because of that, you can also apply Nanoxidil twice a day and even go to sleep with it because it will not stain your clothes or beddings.

Another thing about the consistency of Nanoxidil and the fact that it is water-based is that it is easier and faster absorbed into the scalp to deliver faster results.

Scientific Backing

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved product. That means that it is backed by tons of studies that prove its efficacy. Nanoxidil cannot boast of the same, because the studies conducted on it are not as many. However, it does have many positive reviews.

DHT Blocking

Nanoxidil is a DHT blocker. That means that it is ideal for treating hair loss that affects the scalp especially in men but a poor option for those looking to grow a thicker beard. On the other hand, Minoxidil is not a DHT blocker so it’s perfect for growing beards.


As far as active ingredients Rogaine has only one, which is Minoxidil. Conversely, Nanoxidil contains several ingredients including Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17, Azelaic acid, Retinol, and Copper peptide-1 that work to support hair regrowth. 

Besides, Nanoxidil does contain nanosomes that facilitate its absorption into the hair follicles and scalp for faster and effective hair growth.

Side Effects

When it comes to side effects, Minoxidil has quite a few. We are talking about fatigue, burning, back pain, eczema, redness, and the like. As for Nanoxidil, it seems to have little to no side effects, which is understandable, because it was created to make up for where Minoxidil failed.

Another thing you may want to note is that Minoxidil is toxic for pets which is quite unfortunate. Fortunately, Nanoxidil isn’t.

Where to Buy

Minoxidil can be bought over the counter, you do not need a doctor’s prescription. It can be accessed on sites like Amazon and Walmart but you want to keep in mind that there are many fake products in the market.

To avoid getting fake products, you would want to purchase the product directly from the manufacturer – e.g. on Rogaine.com.

The same does not apply to Nanoxidil. It is available on different platforms because unlike Minoxidil which is considered a medicinal product, this one can be categorized as a cosmetic product. That said, it would be advisable to buy from the official website to avoid counterfeit products – on DSL Laboratories site.


Our observation here is that Minoxidil is the good old tried and tested hair loss solution, while Nanoxidil is an improved version of it. Minoxidil is backed up by years of study, while Nanoxidil only has fewer studies on it, mostly because it is new in the market.

There’s no definitive answer on which one between Nanoxidil and Minoxidil is better. There are people who swear by either of them (equally, there are those who have serious issues with either).

That said, if you have been trying Minoxidil with little to no success, you might want to give Nanoxidil a shot – and vice versa.

James Kerry

Hi, my name is James Kerry. My friends call me Hairy Jimbo. I'm a research assistant with an interest in hair-related topics. Facebook

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