I’ve liked hair growth serums ever since I used Vegamour for postpartum hair loss. It brought back white fuzz in what had been barren bald patches – and it helped grow my eyebrow back, too!
While this was a natural serum, I’ve used more chemical-heavy, leave-in treatments in the past. Including topical minoxidil – originally formulated as a blood pressure medication, which had unexpected hair growth as a side effect, it’s now one of the most popular hair loss treatments out there.
Maybe it’s just my sensitive skin but I had terrible reactions to minoxidil. It gave me awful headaches, dizzy spells and an itchy, irritated and super-thin scalp. Plus, it didn’t even stimulate hair growth as I’d hoped!
So I was wary when I first heard of Nanoxidil – dubbed “the new and improved topical minoxidil” and a hair loss treatment that’s gaining popularily, fast. But then I did more research – and realized who makes it – and I felt hopeful, after all.
Maybe some of us need something stronger than an all-natural formula. Still, it would be nice to have fewer side effects than minoxidil – so a serum that can reduce hair thinning and promote hair growth in a gentler way sounds promising to me! But does it work? And is it safe? All that and more, in this Nanoxidil review!
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Nanoxidil is a relatively new topical treatment, released in 2011, designed for both men and women with thinning hair.
The leave-in serum, called Spectral DNC-N, contains 5% nanoxidil and was introduced to the market to fight hair loss by Divine Skin Inc. They wanted to create a product with “greater efficacy and tolerability” – so even patients with sensitive scalps could use it.
(Psst…DS Laboratories – a subsidiary of Divine Skin Inc – are the team behind Revita shampoo: my top natural, sulfate-free shampoo for hair loss).
DS Labs created this proprietary formula as a hair growth alternative to minoxidil. It’s a molecular compound built to improve the appearance of thinning hair, boost hair density, target the different forms of hair loss and even increase chances of regrowth, thanks to some great hair growth promoters in its ingredient list.
It also uses an advanced Nanosome delivery system and bears a low molecular weight for increased absorption and maximum efficacy.
Sounds good, right? But what’s the difference between nanoxidil solution and minoxidil? And why is nanoxidil a safer choice in terms of hair loss treatments?
Sure, minoxidil is a clinically proven treatment for helping various forms of hair loss over the past 40 years: particularly androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. Minoxidil works for many people – but it’s certainly not perfect.
Nanoxidil hasn’t been around that long, so more research is needed. But early studies indicate it could be just as effective as minoxidil and is easier to tolerate, with fewer side effects. It also has a molecular size advantage over minoxidil so it’s even more effective in terms of absorption – keep reading for more on how that works.
Developed and recommended by top dermatologists, the lightweight serum is fast gaining approval throughout the medical and science community.
Although I’ve yet to try Nanoxidil serum, I’m already prone to like it – because it’s the brainchild of one of my favorite hair care brands, DS Laboratories.
DS Healthcare Group Inc make my favorite sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, called Revita (read my full review here). Although the Revita product line involves more natural treatments for hair loss, they managed to stop my hair shedding, greatly improve the texture and condition of my hair and, over time, help my existing hair grow, too.
I didn’t notice any regrowth in my bald patches – but maybe if I’d used Nanoxidil in conjunction with these products, it would’ve made a difference!
The serum – spectral DNC-N® – is the first clinically tested topical solution to employ 5% Nanoxidil® complex. It comes highly recommended by dermatologists and is said to surpass many of the harsh minoxidil side effects I mentioned earlier.
Perhaps Nanoxidil serum is kinder to the scalp than minoxidil because it contains these extra ingredients – and it doesn’t use parabens or phthalates. Ingredients like retinol and caffeine are proven hair growth promoters and alongside some of the other ingredients, have been shown to improve the efficacy of minoxidil.
Thanks to this relatively short, but extremely potent ingredients list, Spectral.DNC-N offers the following benefits for fighting hair loss:
The topical solution includes key compounds like adenosine and azelaic acid acid, which have anti inflammatory properties to reduce scalp irritation and skin irritation. This kind of scalp build-up could be blocking hair follicles and can contribute to both male and female pattern hair loss.
The lightweight serum plumps up and gives the appearance of thicker hair – so if you have a thinning hairline or bald spots, they’ll be less visible while you wait for the real exciting results to kick in! (It doesn’t take too long, thanks to an impressive nanosome technology delivery system…more on that in a bit).
Early studies have shown that this hair loss treatment actually grows new hair, too: over 28% within 3 months in those with androgenetic alopecia. That’s thanks to the proven hair growth ingredients it contains, like Pyrrolidinyl Diaminopyrimidine Oxide: an active ingredient that’s a “potassium channel opener”.
PDPO improves blood flow and nutrition to the follicle, just like minoxidil. Combined with Nanoxidil’s more effective nutrient delivery system, it can actually enlarge the hair follicle for longer – meaning its several hair growth promoters can do an even better job!
It’s not just what’s inside that counts. Spectral.DNC-N® uses a proprietary Nanosome Delivery System®, which, alongside the scientifically proven ingredients, works to minimize hair shedding while increasing hair density, thickness and volume.
The hair loss treatment has a lower molecular weight than many other treatments (including minoxidil). While the two are molecularily almost identical, nanoxidil has one less carbon atom and two fewer hydrogen atoms.
This means it can reach the deep dermal layers of the skin, rather than resting on the upper layer of the epidermis. So it absorbs into the skin slightly faster, giving it more penetration before evaporating.
But does the treatment actually work? Well, although there aren’t that many clinical trials – yet – this study showed some promising results in terms of hair mass index. After 3 months of using Spectral DNC–N from DS Laboratories, the men and women who had male and female pattern hair loss saw the following:
The treatment was also reported to be “safe and well-tolerated by both men and women”, with overall satisfaction all round.
In a 2011 perceived efficacy clinical study on the company’s website, with some promising before and after photos:
I’m definitely getting good vibes, here!
The reviews I’ve read so far, mainly from men, claim a significant improvement in hair health, plus a lot less hair shedding. Patients rated it highly, although noted it does take time to work.
Still early in the process but the product looks to be working slowly but surely. I will wait another few months to confirm.
– Devin L
I’ve been using minoxidil for 3 years now to keep my hair follicles alive but needed something to work on a receding hairline. I saw how this product uses nanoxidil and works on a receding hairline and decided to try it! After about 2 to 3 weeks, I saw a thicker patch of hair towards the front by my hairline. I was impressed by my results but it says to give it 90 days before you see results. I have 3 bottles and am going to continue to use it for 3 month’s to give it a real chance.
– Wallace I.
Very easy to use and I can notice a difference after only 4 weeks. I’m not losing as much hair as I did. Hopefully this will continue to improve.
– Simon D
I love this product. I’ve previously used minoxidil. Spectra doesn’t leave a greasy residue on my hair and application is much easier. I have new hair growth and am very pleased with the results.
– Emily A.
DS Labs now make a range of products with Nanoxidil 5% – including a treatment specifically for women, a serum for reducing the appearance of grey on new hair growth and another with CBD oil. All of which get great reviews, too!
Apply your chosen nanoxidil treatment to the affected area. (This might mean your entire scalp but Nanoxidl is apparently even more effective on the crown, edges and sides, where minoxidil has limited success.)
Nanoxidil may take a few months to see tangible results – as its molecules bind to receptors within the hair shaft, encouraging it to enter the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. You’ll see thicker hair and improved quality after 2–3 months but for peak results, it may take up to 6.
DS Labs say you may seem some initial shedding between Weeks 1–3 but that this is normal: it’s just the follicles ridding themselves of ‘dead hair’ so new hair can grow.
I couldn’t really find negative comments around the side effects of using Nanoxidil (just one guy mentioned he’d had some headaches). Perhaps those with sensitive scalps might see some initial redness and irritation – and it’s common to experience some shedding in the first couple of weeks.
You don’t need to worry about any toxicity levels with the copper peptides in Spectral.DNC-N, as it only uses in a tiny amount.
My recommendation? Keep your blood pressure down, save yourself some stress – and choose something that’s more gentle than minoxidil, with greater effectiveness and fewer side effects.
If you don’t notice a significant decrease in hair shedding, or an improvement in hair thickness and quality after using Nanoxidil solution for 6 months, maybe it’s time to try some thing else.
In which case, I’d recommend one of the following alternatives…
While Vegamour’s Gro+ serum didn’t bring me a head of thick, healthy hair, I did see white vellus fuzz come back, for the first time in several months. I also saw fantastic results after using its eyebrow serum consistently.
However, Vegamour serums are VERY expensive – and inclue potential side effects for those with a biotin sensitivity, or for those who are pregnant (as extra Vitamin A isn’t recommended).
A natural serum that targets the root cause of hair loss in a safe and simple way. With great hair-boosting ingredients like peppermint oil, arginine HCL and biotin, the serum works to revive dormant hair follicles through increased blood flow to the scalp and kickstart the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle.
Note though, some people might have a biotin sensitivity – so if you know you do, best to choose a serum without the biotin-related side effects, like Nanoxidil.
Still with me? Great! If you’re still unsure about using Nanoxidil serum to treat your receding hairline or other forms of hair loss, here’s a quick recap to help you make that decision.
Although Minoxidil is approved by the FDA, Nanoxidil isn’t…yet. It’s still relatively new in terms of medications but hopefully it will get that stamp of approval soon!
It did in my case! Vegamour serum helped my eyebrow grow back and brough white vellus hair back to my scalp. From studies of Nanoxidil, the results sound pretty promising, too.
Spectral.DNC-N promises fuller-looking hair in 90 days, with peak results after 180 days.
A bottle of the serum (one month’s supply) costs $40 on DS Laboratories’ website. Pretty good value already, but you can get further discounts if you buy 3 bottles (it works out as $32 per bottle). DS Labs isn’t just the best place to buy Nanoxidil – right now, it’s the only place to buy Nanoxidil!
I’ve seen firsthand how the right serum can clear up scalp conditions, reduce hair shedding, revive hair follicles and even promote hair regrowth. Because while hair loss can be triggered by plenty of things – like hormones, diet, stress and environment – fostering a healthy scalp is a great way to nurture each follicle, treat hair loss over time and kickstart new hair growth.
And it seems that this particular serum is even more promising than the ones I’ve used in the past – it’s much more affordable, too! Although it hasn’t been around all that long, Spectral.DNC-N is already a proven hair growth product that could be seen as a more advanced version of minoxidil, but without the negative side effects.
So when it comes down to nanoxidil vs minoxidil, for me it’s a no-brainer. Especially if you have a sensitive scalp or you’ve suffered the bad side effects of using minoxidil before. Give Nanoxidil a try – while you’re at it, snap up some Revita too! – and feel free to share your experience in the comments!
Love & hugs,
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!