Minoxidil (Rogaine) for Hair Loss

People suffering from hair loss turn to an over-the-counter solution like minoxidil, known for its brand name, Rogaine.

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What Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a medication applied to the scalp for hair growth. It’s an FDA-approved treatment that is more effective than a placebo in reversing and preventing male pattern baldness. In both men and women, it can also help reverse or prevent hair loss from alopecia areata.

Minoxidil is available in two forms:

  • Topical minoxidil foam (trade-name Rogaine) comes with a metered pump sprayer.
  • Minoxidil tablets (trade-name Loniten).

Both of these formulations are FDA-approved. However, only the minoxidil trade-name Loniten comes with a prescription from your doctor.

How Is Minoxidil Developed?

For quite some time, minoxidil has been on the market. First, Loniten was developed to treat hypertension. During the trial, participants reported that they experienced additional hair growth while taking the pill.

Moreover, it has helped people with hair loss by widening blood vessels, which increases the amount of oxygen in the scalp cells and promotes the healthy growth of new hairs. Minoxidil stimulates hair growth, but this time, the hair growth is in strange places like:

  • Cheeks.
  • Back of the hands.
  • Forehead.

Of course, these reported cases lead to questioning whether or not minoxidil would be an effective hair growth stimulant when used intentionally. For instance, would a minoxidil-based cream show improvement when directly applied to a balding scalp?

Pharmaceutical company Upjohn (now part of Pfizer) overflowed with volunteers during the topical minoxidil clinical trials. That is why it took a while to get the product to market.

A Brief History of Minoxidil

In 1988, Rogaine became available in the market....

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Although Rogaine is the most known brand.....

How To Use Minoxidil for Hair Loss

Before you apply minoxidil, make sure that.....

When Will You See the Results From Minoxidil?

Usually, it takes about four to six months.....

Does Rogaine (Minoxidil) Work for Hair Loss?

When it comes to slowing down hair loss, minoxidil.....

A Brief History of Minoxidil

In 1988, Rogaine became available in the market. However, you needed a prescription to buy this topical medication for men’s use. In 1991, it expanded for women’s use. It wasn’t until 1996 that the FDA made it available for over-the-counter use. Since then, countless people suffering from hair loss around the globe have tried minoxidil.

However, is it as effective as finasteride? What makes it different from Propecia?

What are the approved dosage and known side effects of this over-the-counter treatment?

Let’s dig into the details of how minoxidil works.

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Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Although Rogaine is the most known brand name, minoxidil is the generic name for this hair regrowth medication. You can also find unique brand names like:

  • Equate (privately-owned by Walmart).
  • Kirkland (Costco).
  • Well.
  • Walgreens.

Today, many different products on the market contain minoxidil with varying concentrations of this medication. This includes topical solutions like:

  • Rogaine® Foam.
  • Rogaine® Extra-Strength Solution.
  • And other non-prescription items such as shampoo or conditioner.

Class of Drug

At first, this drug was classified as an antihypertensive, or a vasodilator. This means that its main purpose is to dilate the blood vessels. Thus, its original intention was to treat high blood pressure. Even now, minoxidil is widely used for this purpose. Nevertheless, this drug is commonly associated with hair regrowth treatment.

Mechanism of Action

As a vasodilator, the drug works by opening up the blood vessels. It essentially relaxes the muscles in the veins and arteries so they don’t constrict and become narrow. Furthermore, this process allows blood to flow more freely across the body. It should also decrease your blood pressure, as your heart wouldn’t have to work so hard pumping blood.

Approved Uses

Topical minoxidil is also used to treat hair loss caused by androgenic alopecia for adults 18 years and older. Hence, oral minoxidil is primarily used to treat high blood pressure.


Typically, minoxidil comes in two forms: 2% and 5%, in both liquid solution and foam.

With the liquid solution, you should apply 1mL of minoxidil to the scalp twice a day. However, it should not be more than 2mL per day.

With the foam, you can apply a half-capful onto your scalp twice a day.

  • Minoxidil (Rogaine).
  • Class of drug.
  • Mechanism of action.
  • Approved uses.
  • Dosage.

How To Use Minoxidil for Hair Loss

Before you apply minoxidil, make sure that your scalp is dry. When you intend to use this product after showering, it’s best to wait for a few minutes. Yet, you don’t have to wait for your hair to be completely dry. The only matter is that your scalp must be dry.

For liquid solution:

  1. First, you must fill the eyedropper with 1mL of minoxidil.
  2. Then, apply the solution directly to the thinning areas of the scalp.
  3. Also, ensure that you part your hair to expose the scalp as much as possible.
  4. After that, gently rub the liquid solution into your scalp.

*Make sure that your scalp completely absorbs the liquid solution. Moreover, ensure that your scalp has completely dried from the application before lying down for bed or applying other hair products.

For Foam:

Except for the dosage, the application instructions are pretty much the same.

  1. You need a half-capful of foam.
  2. Next, gently rub it into your scalp.
  3. Again, your hair doesn’t have to be dry, but your scalp should be before applying the product.

Whether you’re using the liquid solution or foam, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after applying the medication.

If you stop using minoxidil, all the effects that you’ve noticed will also disappear. Like finasteride, the efficacy of minoxidil depends on the usage consistency. So, you must apply this medication twice a day.

Keep in mind not to apply minoxidil to damaged skin. It could cause too much absorption of minoxidil and increase the likelihood of more severe side effects. Make it a priority to allow your scalp to heal before applying minoxidil treatments.

When Will You See the Results From Minoxidil?

Usually, it takes about four to six months to see any kind of positive results. For any questions about minoxidil or its effects, speak to your doctor. If you don’t see any results for a year, your doctor may recommend finasteride or hair restoration surgery.

Side Effects

Like finasteride, taking minoxidil is well-accepted by most people who use it. This means that they suffer minor and temporary side effects. Typically, the side effects disappear on their own without needing further medical intervention. Still, there is an exception to this rule with any medication.

Common Side Effects of Minoxidil

A patient may experience stinging, burning, and redness at the application sites of the scalp. Typically, these side effects quickly disappear. However, if symptoms persist or if they become worse, you should stop using the medication and immediately consult your doctor.

Also, when you experience any of the following rare side effects, you should stop using minoxidil and call your doctor immediately:

  • Inflammation at the hair roots.
  • Increased hair loss.
  • Additional facial hair growth.
  • Swelling in face or scalp.
  • Changes in vision, such as blurriness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Heart racing.
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Persistent headache.

Does Rogaine (Minoxidil) Work for Hair Loss?

When it comes to slowing down hair loss, minoxidil has been proven effective. It also stimulates hair regrowth. Although it may be the most widely available product to treat hair loss, it’s not effective in all cases.

Minoxidil is commonly recommended as the first treatment option since it’s over-the-counter. When you consult doctors about your problem, they typically suggest minoxidil. They recommend this product when using finasteride doesn’t give positive results. Some people get lucky using minoxidil. Yet, for the most part, finasteride is seen as a more effective non-surgical solution for men.

Minoxidil and hair transplants are the general options for women who suffer from hair loss problems since finasteride is not approved to be used by women.

However, before you take any over-the-counter medicine, be sure to speak to your doctor. It is better to know whether your personal or family medical history may change the likelihood of the side effects.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

Does minoxidil not work for you, or are you sick of using it? If you are looking for a more permanent solution for your hair loss, call us for a consultation.

Would you like to learn more about FUE hair transplants?

Do you want to know how it differs from the outdated strip procedure?

Here at The Hair Transplant Center – New Jersey, we have a wealth of information on our website. You can also check out our before and after photos and watch our educational videos. While you’re learning what’s entailed in the procedure, don’t forget to read reviews from our satisfied clients.

When you’re ready, give us a call at 201-716-1903.

We’d love to discuss your hair loss treatment options with you!