Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 12/26/2021
Monistat® is an over-the-counter antifungal topical cream that is commonly used to treat yeast infections.
But there’s another use for this medication that is growing in popularity. It may sound weird, but some people say that it may also work for hair growth — yes, really.
In fact, a quick Google search for the words “Monistat” and “hair growth” returns nearly 70,000 results.
Wondering if a cream intended for vaginal yeast infections can really give you long, luscious locks? Let’s investigate.
As mentioned above, Monistat (also known as miconazole) is a medication used to treat yeast infections.
There are actually two types of Monistat sold. Monistat 1 is a single-use vaginal suppository. Monistat 7 is a topical cream intended to be used twice a day for up to a week. It’s the latter that some believe may aid in hair growth.
Miconazole does not require a prescription and can be purchased over-the-counter.
In some instances, potential side effects may be itching or burning — in which case, you should stop using it immediately and consult a healthcare professional.
So, why do some out there believe this topical yeast infection cream may help solve some hair loss woes?
Well, we’ll give it to you straight… We kinda don’t know, either. Currently, there are no studies that have found that Monistat 7 aids in hair growth.
However, there is some evidence out there that suggests similar medications may help with hair growth.
The active ingredient in Monistat 7 is miconazole nitrate, which is an antifungal agent. Ketoconazole is a similar medication that is also used to treat fungal infections. Both miconazole and ketoconazole are in a class of medications called imidazoles.
Ketoconazole comes in a shampoo form that can be used to control dandruff.
A 2014 study done on rats found that ketoconazole may promote hair growth. However, the same study found that minoxidil (a common hair growth medication) was more effective.
It’s important to remember that this study was done on rats and didn’t look at Monistat, which means there’s no real telling whether these results could be replicated in humans, or even on rats using Monistat.
Scalp health is important to hair growth. With that, if you have a fungal infection on your scalp, hair growth could be affected, and with that, an antifungal medication can help deal with the fungal infection.
However, that doesn’t mean Monistat should be your go-to. A medical professional will be the best person to guide you on what to use.
Whether you’re longing for growth because you’re dealing with hair loss or just want to boost your strand length, there are a number of things you can try — all of which have a bit more science backing them than Monistat.
You may be more familiar with the brand name of this medication — Rogaine®. It’s available in both a 2% solution and a 5% foam.
While minoxidil’s direct mechanism of action is still unknown, researchers believe that when applied to the scalp, minoxidil blood vessels receive a signal to open so more nutrients get to your hair.
On top of this, minoxidil is believed to sort of stretch out the growth phase. This means that more follicles enter the anagen phase to replace the hair you lose.
Yes, you read that right. This acne medication is sometimes prescribed to address hair loss — specifically if testosterone is the culprit behind your hair loss.
Testosterone can attach to androgen receptors located in your hair bulb, along with the dermal papilla — which regulates hair growth. When all of this happens, your hair follicles can shrink and stop growing hair.
Testosterone will also be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can also attach to androgen receptors and cause hair loss.
Spironolactone stops testosterone in your body from being converted into DHT and slows the production of androgens. All of this can help prevent or slow the effects of hair loss.
Healthy, nourished hair is more likely to grow. Dry, fried hair? Not so much. In fact, it’s more likely to break.
Everything from using hot tools to relaxing your hair or living in a dry environment can dry out your tresses.
Letting your hair air dry whenever possible, embracing your natural hair texture or adding more time between when you relax or color your hair can help.
While there may be some anecdotal evidence that using topical Monistat 7 on your scalp can lead to hair growth, there’s actually no scientific evidence to support this claim.
There is a small amount of research that suggests another type of antifungal cream may help, but that research was done on rats, so even that is not something to fully rely on.
If you are looking for things that can help your strands grow, you are better off with methods that have been proven to work.
Minoxidil is a medication often prescribed to treat hair loss and encourage new growth. Spironolactone is another option that has proven to be an effective treatment.
To help determine what may work for you, schedule a consultation with a healthcare professional.