Rogaine: A Comprehensive Review
More than half of men over the age of 50 experience hair loss. But hair loss is not exclusively a challenge for older males. Even teens and young men in their 20s may experience hair loss due to male pattern baldness. Whether due to genes, hormones, or other factors, thinning hair and hair loss affect a staggering percentage of the population. It’s no wonder that hair growth solutions like Rogaine are so popular. Yet you may also be wondering if Rogaine is worth the hype. Is this drug a cure-all for thinning hair, or is it yet another product with big promises that fail to deliver?
How Does Rogaine Work?
Originally meant to treat hypertension, Minoxidil—Rogaine’s most significant chemical component—produced an unexpected side effect: it increased hair growth all over the body when ingested orally. In 1971, doctor Guinter Khan encountered a female patient exhibiting extreme facial hair growth. Suffering from terrible hypertension, the patient had been prescribed an experimental drug called Minoxidil. Her blood pressure decreased dramatically. Yet her hair growth increased exponentially all over her body.
Doctor Khan wondered what would happen if Minoxidil were applied to the head rather than taken orally and immediately began tests. Though results were not immediate, they were apparent. Khan and his colleagues successfully created an ointment that could grow hair. Amusingly, Khan was allergic to his own invention. But others benefited from his ingenuity. Men and women alike have been using Rogaine to re-grow or thicken their locks ever since.
There’s not a 100 percent scientific consensus on exactly how Minoxidil works, but there are several theories. It’s believed that the compound widens the hair follicle, causing the formation of a thicker strand of hair. Using Rogaine results in longer hair as well as more hair strands than before.
Minoxidil is also a potassium channel opener. It stimulates blood circulation in the hair follicles, reviving and awakening hair follicles impacted by hereditary hair loss. As a result, more hormones and nutrients are able to naturally make their way to the roots and hair grows thicker and faster than before. Because it’s not a hormone, Minoxidil has no negative impact on other hormones like testosterone.
Rogaine is a liquid solution containing 2-5% Minoxidil and propylene glycol, a carrier agent. It’s safe, effective, and has no long-term side effects. Still, Rogaine is not a permanent hair loss solution. It must be applied consistently to maintain hair re-growth. If treatment stops, hair loss will continue.
Minoxidil was originally developed by the Upjohn Company in the 1950s to treat ulcers. It didn’t cure ulcers, but it was found to be a great vasodilator, meaning it caused the widening or opening of blood vessels. The company synthesized and experimented with over 200 variations and came up with Minoxidil in 1963. The FDA approved Minoxidil tablets in 1979 as a treatment for high blood pressure.
The drug’s hair-growth properties opened new doors. Rogaine—a Minoxidil treatment for male baldness—was approved by the FDA in 1988. In 1991, the product was made available for females too. Today, it’s readily available over the counter and without a prescription.
What Are The Rogaine Products
According to Rogaine’s website, their products are the #1 brand recommended by dermatologists for re-growth of thinning hair. Available either as a 5% Minoxidil foam or solution for men, or 5% Minoxidil foam or 2% Minoxidil solution for women, Rogaine promises to help users grow fuller, thicker hair with regular and consistent usage.
Rogaine foam should be applied sparingly (half of a capful) twice daily over an extended period of time. In order to see results, one must apply the product consistently. The more frequent application does not quicken hair growth. Rogaine foam penetrates the scalp, reviving follicles, increasing protein production, and optimizing hair growth. Rogaine’s website states that 9 out of 10 men notice results after using the product.
Rogaine’s 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol is used to re-grow hair on the top of the scalp only; it is not meant for receding hairlines or frontal baldness. The Rogaine website explicitly states that this version of the product is not for women. In order to apply, men should start with damp hair parted in several rows for maximum scalp exposure. Then, hold the dispenser upside down and release half a cupful of foam onto clean, dry fingers and massage it into the scalp where hair is thinning.
The foam should be allowed to absorb and completely air dry before blow-drying or styling. The application should continue twice daily for good results.
Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Topical Solution for Men offers the same great benefits as the foam, though the application is slightly different. Users start with dry or towel-dried, damp hair and part hair in several rows. Then, users fill the dropper to the 1 ml line, hold it over the area to be treated, release the solution onto the scalp, massage into the balding area, and then let air dry completely before styling or blow-drying. As with the foam version, Rogaine Solution is recommended only for the top of the scalp.
Is There a Rogaine Beard Treatment?
While there isn’t a Rogaine-specific product for beards, Beard Resource recommends using Rogaine or any other Minoxidil-containing product for beard growth. Minoxidil stimulates hair follicles where applied. Applied to the face, men have reported new facial hair growth and thickening of existing facial hair over the course of 1-6 months. It takes consistent use over many months to see results. While dry skin may occur, it appears to be safe to use Rogaine to improve beard growth.
According to Tools of Men, men experience “major milestones in growth” after using Minoxidil for 6-9 months. The solution should be applied twice daily, starting with the roots and working towards the tips of the beard. The beard will not fall out when Rogaine treatment stops, though growth may slow. If you’ve always dreamed of a full beard but were not born with the natural ability to grow one, Rogaine may help you achieve your goal.
A word of warning: Drugs.com warns users not to use Rogaine on any other part of the body than the scalp, saying that applies to other parts of the body may be dangerous. Rogaine’s website also warns against using the product anywhere other than the top of the scalp. Do your research, consult a doctor, and practice caution if you choose to use Rogaine for any other purpose.
Does Rogaine Work for Treating Hair Loss?
Rogaine works well for treating hair loss, though it depends on where the thinning hair is located. Rogaine’s website specifically states that their product is to be used on the top of the scalp only. The product is not intended for receding hairlines or frontal baldness.
In order to see results, it’s recommended that one start treatment as soon as hair loss becomes apparent. Early intervention is key. WebMD states that Minoxidil solutions are most effective in men under 40 who have just started losing hair. Results take time and Rogaine does not cure baldness. The product must be apple twice daily over a long period of time and if you stop using it, hair loss will continue.
The Rogaine Side Effects
Most people who use Rogaine do not experience adverse reactions. Yet, there are potential side effects. Redness, burning, flaking, stinging, itching, dryness, and scalp irritation may occur. In some cases, hair may fall out faster than before if a user stops applying Rogaine.
Some users experience severe reactions when Rogaine is absorbed through the skin: dizziness, fast or irregular heartbeat, unwanted facial or body hair, chest pain, swelling of the hands or feet, fainting, tiredness, difficulty breathing, or unusual weight gain. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue usage immediately and contact your doctor.
While rare, serious allergic reactions can occur. Symptoms may include trouble breathing, severe dizziness, rash, itching, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat.
If you have scalp issues (eczema, cuts, sunburn, damage, irritation, etc), heart problems, or kidney or liver disease, talk to your doctor before starting Rogaine. Do not use Rogaine if you’re under the age of 18 or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, as it’s unknown whether or not the drug impacts baby or passes through breast milk.
Rogaine Reviews: What Are The Users Saying
Rogaine is highly recommended and claims to work well for the majority of users. The Internet is full of user reviews and they are surprisingly mixed. If you plan to use Rogaine to combat hair loss, a Google search will bring up hundreds of consumer experiences. Here are a few to get you started:
This user experienced initial success and noticed thicker hair and less hair loss than normal. However, they developed a nasty reaction to Rogaine after 4 weeks of use. Itchiness, redness, and dry skin persisted for weeks after they stopped using the product. Rather than treat hair loss with Rogaine and risk another reaction, they now use pills from their dermatologist. This two-star review came from Walmart’s website.
This user, an Amazon customer, experienced significant hair growth in 11 weeks. First, they noticed less shedding. After 6-8 weeks of twice-daily application, they noticed less hair on the shower floor as well as less visible scalp. After that, thinning areas began filling in. Although he experienced some chest discomfort, this user gives Rogaine 5 stars and highly recommends the product to other men.
This Amazon user gives Rogaine just 2 stars, warning that the foam product will dry out your hair. They used the product for just a few days and planned to try the topical version to see if drying decreased.
This Walmart reviewer gives Rogaine 5 stars. Despite not being recommended for receding hairlines, the user decided to give it a shot anyway. After 6 months of use, their hair loss stopped. He started treatment as soon as he noticed his hair beginning to thin and had great results. This user highly recommends Rogaine to other men suffering from thinning hair.
Where to Buy Rogaine
Rogaine is widely available without a prescription. Walmart and Target carry it, as do pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. Rogaine is also available on Amazon.com or directly from the Rogaine website.
Are There Rogaine Coupons Available?
Users can sign up for Rogaine Rewards through the Rogaine website and receive coupons and other offers. One might also find coupons in the Sunday paper, or via a quick web search. There are occasionally Rogaine coupons listed on Coupons.com. It’s worth checking out. Groupon is another excellent place to look for current deals.
Final Thoughts on Rogaine
Rogaine is not a miracle cure for baldness, but for those just beginning to experience thinning it’s a chance to keep a full head of hair. Discovered by accident, Rogaine has been around for decades and is readily available without a prescription. Prepare to commit to twice-daily applications for the foreseeable future. If you’re willing to put in the work, you may enjoy a full head of hair much longer than you otherwise would have. Rogaine may not be perfect, but it is a great solution for men—and women—everywhere.