What is Rogaine?

Rogaine is the commercial name for minoxidil in North America. It is commonly prescribed for hair loss in a topical solution or as a foam, available in 2% and 5% concentrations.

Rogaine and Baldness

Minoxidil has been clinically proven to stimulate hair growth and help prevent additional hair loss in androgenic alopecia, otherwise known as male pattern hair loss (MPH). In 2002, 393 men with androgenic alopecia were followed for about eleven months after being given three forms of treatment. 157 men were given Rogaine 5%, 158 were given minoxidil 5%, and 78 were given a placebo solution as a control group. Although both forms of minoxidil caused hair to regrow, the group that was given minoxidil 5% experienced 45% more hair growth than those who were given the 2% concentration.

Other Uses for Rogaine

This medication is a vasodilator, meaning that it can widen blood vessels and improve blood flow. For this reason, it was originally introduced in the 1970s as a treatment for high blood pressure (often in combination with a diuretic and beta blocker to stabilize pulse). It is no longer offered due to its numerous side effects, as noted in this 2004 report. Most prominently, heart problems.

How do I Use Rogaine as a Topical Solution or Foam?

First, you must thoroughly wash the scalp. The product may be applied to either damp or dry hair. Using the applicator, take the appropriate amount of Rogaine (usually one milliliter, but be sure to check instructions). Use your fingers to move any hair out of the way so that the solution can directly hit the scalp. Rub the solution into the scalp and allow it to dry before applying any other products. Be sure the solution has been fully absorbed into the scalp before going to bed as well. If you are using the foam, follow the same procedures as just described. Always be sure to follow the instructions exactly as they appear on the label, or as your doctor otherwise tells you. Never exceed the prescribed amount of Rogaine. Doing so may cause unwanted and potentially harmful side effects. Be sure to wash any medicine off your hands after you are finished.

What are some of the Side Effects of Rogaine?

Rogaine has a numerous amount of side effects. Be sure to discuss the potential side effects with your doctor, and be sure to report any of the following symptoms occur over the course of your prescribed medical routine:

  • Persistent itching
  • Any skin rashes
  • Acne lesions
  • Any burning sensations on the scalp
  • An increase in alopecia
  • Unwanted facial hair
  • Inflamed or reddened skin
  • Soreness at the base off the hair
  • Facial swelling
  • Visual disturbances such as blurry vision
  • Pain in the chest
  • Vertigo or faintness
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • A rapid increase in weight

What kind of Hair Loss is Rogaine not designed for?

This type of medication is not meant to treat sudden hair trauma (such as telogen effluvium), acute hair loss with no medical explanation, or hair loss that may occur in women after birthing.

Return to the Hair Transplant and Hair Loss Glossary