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Does Rogaine work? Pharmacist answers

In short, the answer is YES! Rogaine has been proven to work. But how does it work? and is it guaranteed to work for you? Before we discuss how well Rogaine…

Rogaine for men

In short, the answer is YES! Rogaine has been proven to work.

But how does it work? and is it guaranteed to work for you?

Before we discuss how well Rogaine works, let us briefly highlight the main cause of hair loss.


And before we begin let me mention that the hair loss we are discussing in this article is genetic hair loss, and not hair loss due to illness or medical conditions.


The hair growth phases


When your hair grows, it grows in phases and each of these phases has a defined period.


So there is a growth phase, there is a static phase and there is a shedding face. They actually have scientific names but for the sake of this article, I will refer to them as such.




 The genetic link to hair loss


So in some people,   from a certain point in their life, the growth phase of the hair starts to shorten and the shedding phase starts to lengthen.   so this means that a bigger proportion of the hairs on their scalp are in the shedding phase at any given time.   And each new hair is shorter and thinner than the previous one from the same follicle.


So the overall result is thinner looking hair.


The reason this process happens is it due to the impact of hormones on the hair follicles.


The role of Hormones in hair loss


The hormones testosterone and DHT  are the two key hormones responsible for the starting off this hair thinning process.


Both of these hormones are related.   DHT is a more Potent form of testosterone.   and as you may know, testosterone is the main male sex hormone.   it is responsible for developing men into sexual maturity,  the growth of beards,  and the production of sperm.   But unfortunately for some men and indeed women, it is also responsible for starting off the hair loss process.


 Androgenic alopecia


This is simply the scientific name for what we know as male pattern baldness.


Male pattern baldness is the thinning of the hair in specific areas of the scalp.   it is a pattern well known to most of us,  where the man loses hair on the Vertex and on the crown.

it is also known as horse shoe shaped pattern.


We actually have a way to measure the extent of hair loss in men, it is called the Norwood scale.



When will you start to lose your hair?


This is entirely unique to the individual, and it is almost impossible to predict accurately.


But you may find some clues by looking at your family.


There is a strong genetic element to male pattern baldness, and therefore it runs in families – this is especially relevant to men.


So if you notice that your dad or your brother, or your   grandfather, went bald at a young age; then you better brace yourself for a similar fate.   However this is not a hard and fast rule because there are men who keep their hair even though they have a very strong family history of genetic hair loss.


Having said that, typically, male pattern baldness starts from mid 30s and gradually worsens with every passing decade.


 rogaine for male pattern baldness



How quickly will you go bald?


Again, this is very difficult to predict.   There are some men who start to recede in their 30s but the recession is very slow, and even by the 70s, they manage to keep most of their hair.


Other men can have a full head of hair well into their 50s and then suddenly go completely bald in the space of a few years.




What is the scientific evidence Rogaine works?



Scientific evidence supporting Rogaine is strong.


The company who make Rogaine published their scientific evidence on their website.


A trial which involved 352 men Showed An increase in Target hair count by a median  off 13.4%.


rogaine clinical trials


What does this mean?


In this particular trial, they used a system for counting hair on the patient’s scalp known as target hair counting.   An area on the scalp is chosen, and you simply count the hair in that area before and after the experiment to compare.


in this trial they focused on the hair on the Vertex of the scalp.


and what they found was that half of the men in the trial increased their count by more than 13%,  and the other half increased their head count by less than 13%.


13% may not sound significant, but this was achieved in only 4 months.  So we can extrapolate to imaging what the results could be at 8 and 12 months.  And also take into account that a 13% increase can significantly improve the appearance of hair, especially in people who have thick and curly hair.


How does Rogaine work?


No one knows this with any certainty.   But there are various theories.


The most popular Theory is that Rogaine increases the blood flow and nutrition to the hair follicles.   But since hair loss has a genetic element as we explained earlier, it is likely that Rogaine also plays a role in terms of blocking the hormones responsible for triggering hair loss- but we do not know this for sure yet.


It is quite interesting to note that the company who make regain, use this explanation on how Rogaine works on the official website.   But the truth is that this is one theory of many.




How WELL will Rogaine works for you?


This depends on several factors:


1) it depends on how soon you start to use Rogaine.   if you start to use it when you have a small amount of thinning then you have an excellent chance of getting exceptional results.   However if you wait until you are completely bald then your results will probably be minimal.

The reason is that we think Rogaine is better at strengthening existing hair rather    than   re-growing new hair.


2)  How consistent you are.   Most people will give up if they do not see amazing results after a month or maybe two months.   But time and time again research has shown that you need to be using Rogaine for a minimum of 6 months, and ideally for 12 months, before seeing your best results.


3)  How lucky you are!


Some people, whether due to genetics or other factors, just respond better to Rogaine than others.   So if you are one of the lucky ones who responds very well then your results will be truly exceptional.   But that doesn’t mean other people who are perhaps not as lucky cannot get SOME decent results.  It is relative.


Possible side effects

Rogaine is generally a well-tolerated drug.   The main side effect appears to be itching and sensitivity in the scalp.   And this usually subsides after a few days of use.


Best form to use


There are two formulations of Rogaine.   a liquid formulation and a foam formulation.

From the feedback I had, it seems the foam formulation might be easier to apply but the liquid delivers better coverage.   So it depends on personal preference,  but as a beginner I would advise you to start with the liquid And then move on to the foam if you need to.


The reason is that the vast majority of the clinical trial on Rogaine were conducted with the Liquid formulation, so It makes we go with the formulation that has been tried and tested the most.


How should you use Rogaine?


Rogaine should be used twice a day and applied directly to the scalp.


For best result i advise that your hair is washed first and then dried, but this is not a must.   The logic behind this is that by washing the hair you remove all the excess dirt and oils which may prevent the absorption of the Rogaine.


After spraying the Rogan to the scalp,   try and Dap the Rogaine a few time is into the scalp to prevent it trickling away, especially on the front of the hair.   Avoid massaging the scalp because by doing that you take away some of the Rogaine with your fingers.   Just press it gently into the scalp for a few moments and then move your fingers away.


Do not wash your hair immediately after applying Rogaine.


Which strength of Rogaine should you use?


The 5% strength of Rogaine is recommended for men and the 3% the strength is recommended for women.   And this is what I would advise you follow.


Some specialist clinics offer strength of Minoxidil up to 12%, and some even offer strengths of up to 15%.   But from my understanding strengths of 12% and higher are very difficult to achieve because the active ingredient in Rogaine, which is called Minoxidil,  tends to Crystallize at those higher strengths.

Should you use Rogaine to grow beard hair?

This is an interesting one.   bear in mind we still do not know how exactly Rogaine works. Also bear in mind that beard hair is different than scalp hair.   it tends to be shorter and more curly.


Also beard hair is less sensitive to the hormonal effects of testosterone.   so generally you do not get the type of male pattern baldness you get on your scalp,  on your beard.


Using Rogaine on your beard is not licensed.   Rogaine is only licensed for use on the scalp. so if  something happens after using Rogaine on your beard, and you experience side effects;  the manufacturers are not liable at all. so you are taking a risk when you use Rogaine on your beard.


But from the results I have seen,  there is some evidence Rogaine can help regrow beards.   The most likely scenario is that it does this in a similar way to the way it regrows hair on the scalp.


so in summary if you insist on trying Rogaine on your beard,  there is a fair chance it will help; but you must realise you are doing this at your own risk.



Rogaine has been shown scientifically to regrow hair; there is no doubt about this.


But if Rogain will work for you and how well it works for you, will depend on when you start to use Rogaine and how you use Rogaine.   it will also depend on your own unique genetic characteristics.


If you decide to try it, I recommend an absolute minimum period of 4 months before deciding if it is working for you.  And off course to maintain your results, you have to continue with using Rogaine.


I hope you found this article useful.


Please share and comment with any questions or suggestions.


I published another article on this subject which you may find useful

hair loss treatments for women- that work

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