Rogaine, branded as Regaine in the UK is a hair loss treatment product that contains various concentrations of minoxidil available as a solution or in foam form. Minoxidil is the only drug recommended by the FDA to treat hair loss and is often given out by hair transplant clinics to patients as an after treatment. These licensed clinics often have access to 10% concentration solutions, typically not available over the counter.
The 5% concentration of Rogaine (or Regaine) can easily be bought over the counter in health stores without a prescription. Although originally made for women, the weaker 2% solutions have been found to be ineffective in the treatment of hair loss. The 2% concentration products for men have been discontinued.
Rogaine has been found to be effective in the treatment of traction alopecia – a condition where the hair loss is caused by constant pulling of the hair, usually due to a hairstyle (weaving, cornrows, tight ponytails, etc.). For the treatment to be effective, the pulling must be stopped, so hair must be worn in non-harmful styles for the duration of the treatment. It can often take a minimum of four months for the treatment to show results and it should be continued for at least six months.
Minoxidil will stimulate the follicles to produce new hairs and the result will often be a reversal of the condition, provided the pulling is ceased completely. Although traction alopecia can often heal itself naturally – if scarring hasn’t occured, using Regaine can speed up the process and produce more noticeable results, or help in more serious cases.
How does Rogaine work
Minoxidil works by increasing the supply of blood to the hair follicles, stimulating them to grow new hair. It also strengthens existing hairs, although it won’t protect them from the results of over pulling and tight hairstyles, so it’s important to stick with softer styles even if you’re using Regaine.
Rogaine side effects
Like all medicines, Regaine is not free of side effects. The most worrying one for women is often the fact that after two-three weeks of treatment, hair seems to actually fall out at a faster pace. This is the result of the hair follicles entering the growth cycle, which can speed up the shedding of old hairs. This side effect is temporary and means the treatment is working, so shouldn’t be a cause of worry.
A “peach fuzz” effect is another side effect, and the newly grown hair can often appear soft, fine and downy, rather than thick and pronounced. This too is temporary and the hair should soon become the same as your normal hair. The peach fuzz effect itself will disappear completely when treatment is stopped.
Other side effects of Rogaine include scalp irritation and redness, although these are greatly reduced when using the foam version.
It’s important to thoroughly clean your hands before and after each application of Regaine.
The product produces topical results – only in the area of application.
Using Rogaine/Regaine will not protect the hairs from future abuse. The problem may still return if you continue to wear your hairs in styles that cause pulling or tugging or return to such hairstyles after the treatment has finished.