Minoxidil. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you probably know more about it than you think. And that’s because it’s generic Rogaine®.
Even though it’s such a well-known product, most people don’t fully understand what it does, how it works, or where to buy it. So let’s dive in.
It’s an over-the-counter, topical treatment that is used to treat hereditary hair loss (a.k.a. male pattern baldness).
That was a trick question. It’s not any different. Know how Tylenol® is a brand of acetaminophen, or Kleenex® is a brand of tissue? Same deal with Rogaine® and minoxidil.
Minoxidil can both slow hair loss and regrow hair in men who are experiencing hair loss. Applied twice daily to the scalp, this topical drug typically starts to work its magic after three months of regular, habitual use.
You can buy extra-strength minoxidil online at Keeps.com at a lower cost than a drugstore. Minoxidil is an over-the-counter treatment for hair loss, which means you don’t need a prescription to get it.
Also, did we mention that we’ll ship a 3-month supply directly to your door in discreet packaging so you never run out?
While it is an over-the-counter product, many men suffering from male pattern baldness use it alongside finasteride, which does require a prescription.
Fun fact: The Keeps doctor consultation is both free and online, meaning you can discuss your hair loss with a licensed physician and get their opinion without having to make an appointment and take time off work.
Thinning hair (and eventual balding) occurs when hair follicles shrink over time, growing increasingly thinner strands of hair until, eventually, they do not grow any new hair at all. That’s where minoxidil comes in.
Minoxidil is a vasodilator, a drug that dilates blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily through them (in fact, it’s sometimes used to treat high blood pressure).
It doesn’t technically stop hair loss, but it does promote hair growth. It’s believed that if you apply minoxidil to your scalp, it enables your blood vessels to carry more oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles, stimulating hair growth.
Here’s how: Hair falls out in the telogen phase, which is the final stage of a hair’s life cycle. Minoxidil causes this hair to shed, and replaces it with healthy hair in the anagen phase, which is a hair’s period of active growth. Because of this, it’s very common for minoxidil to (temporarily) cause rapid hair loss.
If this happens, don’t panic. After the resting hairs have been shed, they are generally replaced by a markedly thicker hair—typically after about a month.
Nope—minoxidil is an effective treatment for hair loss, but it doesn’t work by blocking DHT (the hormone that causes male pattern baldness). You might be thinking of finasteride, which does block DHT.
Minoxidil is available as a solution and as a foam. Both forms are equally effective, so choosing between them is mostly a matter of personal preference. Here’s what the choice usually comes down to for most guys:
If you’re allergic to propylene glycol, you’ll want to steer clear of the solution. This ingredient can cause scalp itching and redness. The foam version doesn’t include propylene glycol, so you can still get all the benefits of minoxidil without those side effects.
If allergies aren’t a problem, then you’ll want to base your decision on which application process you prefer. Comfortable applying liquid treatment with a dropper? Go for the solution. If you’d rather apply directly with your hands, foam is probably the best bet.
Leaning toward foam? It’s good to know that Keeps is the only way to get minoxidil foam delivered to your door every three months. That means never running to the pharmacy and never running out.
We thought you might ask that. And it’s why we created this video for minoxidil solution: How to use your minoxidil. To learn how to apply foam, read our handy explainer here. When you’re not applying it, you can store it at room temperature.
Pro tip: Minoxidil only works with consistent use; to maintain your newly luscious head of hair, you must continue to apply minoxidil twice daily.
Yes! If you consistently apply minoxidil to your scalp twice a day, you could see a fuller head of hair. Men who use minoxidil usually see up to 30% hair regrowth.
Clinical studies of minoxidil have mostly focused on hair regrowth at the crown, but some data shows that it can also help out your hairline and the hair around your temples. That said, minoxidil can only increase blood flow to existing hair follicles.
What does that mean?
Well, minoxidil could help you grow back a fuller hairline if you have some thin hair there. But if you can’t see any hair at all, minoxidil probably won’t regrow any. On the bright side, it could help keep that bald spot from getting any bigger.
If you’re experiencing male pattern baldness, minoxidil is a solution to consider. If you’re not sure if you are, check out this list of hair loss signs. It’s most effective for hair regrowth along the crown of your head.
Children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use minoxidil.
Although minoxidil is generally safe, like all medicines, it is associated with rare but serious side effects. Contact your doctor or a health care professional immediately if you experience any of the following:
The following side effects usually do not require medical attention (although you can report them to your doctor or health care professional if they are persistent):
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The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat male pattern baldness in men only. It is not for use by women. When used by men, finasteride is generally safe but it can also cause serious side effects, including but not limited to allergic reactions, sexual dysfunction, depression, and high-grade prostate cancer. Most patients find that problems with sexual function resolve when they stop taking the medicine. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information.
Image credit: Will Taylor