Weren’t we talking about thinning hair? (The Rogaine Verdict) Most Liked Hot Conversation

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It’s been over a year since I slipped into Target and bought my first box of Rogaine, wishing I was wearing a disguise, fearing someone I knew would see me and know (gasp!) that I had thinning hair!

Ha! Like it wasn’t obvious just by looking at me? We can be so silly, can’t we?

I wrote about buying that first box, and the reasons why, in Hair, or the Lack Thereof, and promised I would keep you posted on the results.

Well, over the past year I’ve bought several more boxes of minoxidil, both brand name (Rogaine) and generic from different stores. It doesn’t bother me at all anymore to grab a box off the shelf and toss it in my shopping basket.

I’ve waited to give you a report, though, because minoxidil takes time. I wanted to be sure. But a year is long enough, so here it is, my verdict on minoxidil, aka Rogaine…

(Drumroll, please…)

It works. It really does.

At least, for me, it works. And it’s so cheap and easy… even if you’re buying the name brand! Why didn’t I try it before?

Now, granted, my hair is still thin and baby fine. Minoxidil won’t change the kind of hair you have; it only stimulates growth. But I can see, per square inch of my scalp, there are definitely more hairs growing.

How do I know? When I part my hair, I no longer see a huge amount of scalp. I just see a normal part. I have also watched lots of little baby hairs grow into adult hairs over the past year. It’s pretty dang exciting!

I’m really not sure what I was so embarrassed about now. Thinning hair is such a common problem for both men and women. I had a huge response to my first post on Vibrant Nation. There are so many companies and products out there trying to make money off of this problem without delivering results. We deserve better than that.

So why is there such a stigma over using minoxidil?

Per my doctor’s suggestion, I totally skipped the women’s version and went straight for the men’s extra-strength. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, that’s a no-no. But most women experiencing thinning hair are entering perimenopause, and those warnings don’t apply. The only other warning for women is about facial hair, which worried me a little, but I haven’t experienced that at all.

FYI, the solution works better than foam for women. The dropper provides more accurate measurement and better distribution on the scalp. I learned that the hard way.

You should also not apply minoxidil if you’re having your hair colored that day. Again, another hard lesson. It will sting like your head is on fire! (In all fairness, the instructions tell you that… but I had forgotten!)

You have to apply the solution twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, but it only takes a few seconds. The directions say to apply it a couple of hours before going to bed, but I usually do it right before snuggling with Tom, and he hasn’t grown any extra hair on his shoulder.

Because you massage it into your scalp with your fingers, I always, always, always wash my hands thoroughly after applying it. You’re supposed to wait four hours after application before shampooing, so I often wait to apply it after my shower in the morning, and I’ve noticed it seems to add body to my hair.

One of the most common side effects is itching of the scalp. I didn’t experience that until recently, after months of use. I’m pretty sure it was because I forgot that warning about using it on the day you were getting your hair colored…

Sigh.

So, do I now have a head full of lush hair, thanks to minoxidil?

No.

But I do have hair covering my scalp, and I know there are some of you out there who will know… that’s enough.

P.S. I wasn’t paid anything by anyone for this post.

[Read Barbara's first post in this series, Midlife hair (or rather the lack thereof) ~ Eds. ]

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Posted in Barbara Shallue, hair care, Our Blog Circle, Product Recommendations.

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467 Responses

  1. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Ladies, I continue to enjoy all the comments.
    For me 5% Rogaine Foam has been the most positive thing I have done over the past 2 – 3 yrs. since I first noticed my hair loss beginning. I hardly lose any hair now compared to before, BUT I have to remember that I did add saw palmetto to my routine over 3 months ago. For now, I am sticking with both.
     
    I figure that there is really something to the whole DHT thing since the pharmaceuticals are getting involved with the anti-DHT drugs along with the minoxidil. I do not plan to spend the money on the anti-DHT shampoos though. I will stick with my Biolage routine.
     
    I think all of us have to figure what is going on in our own bodies. If some reading this blog are super young then it could be the hair styling, lack of certain vitamins and minerals, and even thyroid, all potentially leading to hair loss. But for the older ladies, it can be all of those things too PLUS the age related loss. In my case, I believe it is all age related plus a heavy dose of stress. :-)
     
    So at 21 weeks using Rogaine, only the one area above my temple shows fuzzies. Even if I want to skip a treatment, I usually take 15 seconds to at least apply Rogaine to my worst area—my part. Barbara said about a year, so I plan to hang in there. I did read that for men, 85% saw regrowth. Well, if in the end it doesn’t work for me, at least it stopped the major hair loss. (Or Rogaine and saw palmetto stopped the hair loss.)
     
    BTW, I do skip a couple of days when I color my roots. Also, I am not having the dry hair problem, but as you know I do not blow dry my hair and I condition it a lot. I actually like my hair better after using Rogaine because it gives my hair a root boost. :-)
     
    Hang in there ladies and have a great weekend. Spring is here!!!!!!!!!

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      I am wondering if you can share any tips on applying the foam – last night was my first night and I had a tough time with it not getting actually onto the scalp. I am already wondering if I should be trying the solution instead (need a prescription here in Canada for either). I have been in tears for a few weeks now and looking at that bottle of rogaine makes me want to throw up/hide…but finally decided to start last night. I really wanted my hair loss to be due to stress and long term anti depressant use.

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      • Generic Image stilljogging says

        barbw46–Just so you don’t miss it, I answered you further down in the thread.

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  2. loulou loulou says

    yes winter is finally coming SLOWLY to an end!
    Yes it is true. Rogaine did stop my shedding, but it did cause a lot of hair loss in the beginning. For me, the hair loss was from constant daily stress, plus I am sure my age did contribute some also, I think………….not sure because my hair loss was so sudden., began three months after my job of 22 years was elimanated. My hair is not dry anymore, and I do blow it dry………………too cold this winter not to. lol I use your biolage masque about once a week. I will be using what shampoos I have bought during these last five months…………….then I may try another brand. There is no proof that any anti DHT shampoo really works………………..just minoxdil for now. lou lou

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  3. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi LouLou, oh yes I totally forgot to mention the “very scary” additional shedding after beginning Rogaine.  If it hadn’t been for the support on this blog, I would have probably stopped. 

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  4. Nikilet Nikilet says

    Just to add confirmation to what stilljogging said, I will have to say that since using the 5% Rogaine for a few months, I hardly shed any hair at all so I guess even if it doesn’t grow my hair back, at least I’m not losing more. I also have lots of new fuzzies right by my ear. Makes no sense that I would get new hair there and not much that I can see in the other areas. For the time being, I’m sticking with it.

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  5. loulou loulou says

    The way the hair shedding stopped except for a few a day, is amazing! lol loulou

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  6. Generic Image Gracie says

    The rogaine does slow down the shedding. I am about to start month 5 on Rogaine. I see the dermatologist next week so I guess we will see what he thinks is going on. He does a pluck test by taking a rubberized forcepts and yanking out 10-15 hairs in a few different places on the head. Who knows if what he does really is a true indicator of the type of hair loss one has. He diagnosed me with senescent alopecia with very mild androgenic alopecia. I’ll be interested to know if the diagnosis remains the same 4 months later. This doctor is at the university hospital and is the local guru of womens hait loss. Is there such a thing?
    I am such a sceptic. I am going to hang in there with the rogaine and see what he thinks about the spironolactone. He prescribed it for me 4 months ago and I didn’t like the way it made me feel, so I have not taken it.
    Time ticks on!

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  7. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Ladies, Hope all is going well for everyone.

    Gracie, I have been wondering, how did your appointment go with your dermatologist?

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  8. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi stilljogging,
    I saw the dermatologist on Thursday and he did another hair puck from hair on the top of my head and in the back. He said the hair was all in the growth phase with means the rogaine is working. He said my hair is in great shape and I don’t have to see him again, to just keep using the rogaine. He also said if things should change I could come back in the future.
    It was kind of a joke. He also said he doesn’t see any miniaturization and when I showed him what I thought was he said that my hair pluck didn’t show any and that the hair pluck doesn’t lie.
    So….I am not sure he knows much more than I do about hair loss. My hair seems to be staying the same and maybe slightly thinner but it is hard to know. I will keep using the rogaine because I have no other choices. This is very difficult to deal with and I realize that there are no certain treatments for hair loss in women and we have very few choices. I don’t think doctors have any answers other than rogaine. I also think in this situation we can get more answers on the internet than we can from a doctor.
    Needless to say I don’t feel any better or worse by consulting with him.
    How are things going for everyone else?

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  9. loulou loulou says

    Hello Ladies It i almost six months and my hair is okay. I have been using the Rogaine now for almost three weeks, every other day I don’t see any change in it. It is still okay and not much shedding at all. Probably about 40-50 after shampooing every other day. I am glad everyone seems to be doing well with the Rogaine. I will go to doctors also this month to see what she says. My hair is soft and shiny…………………………but of course thin. I do not think it will ever be the way it was before I started to lose hairs. loulou

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  10. Generic Image Gracie says

    Lou Lou,
    The dermatologist did tell me I could start using rogaine 1x a day now that it is working.. Maybe your idea of using it every other day is just fine, too. Am using th hair max laser comb along with the rogaine and I don’t notice any difference. I am using it 3-4 x a week and I am backing down to 1x a day with the 5% rogaine. My scalp gets very dry from the rogaine. I know it has helped in the temple area with new hair but on that spot at my crown I don’t see any improvement. The laser seems to help my scalp a bit. It is really too soon to tell as I just starte to use it a few weeks ago.

    This is so frustrating!

    I have so appreciated all of your input and would log to stay in touch. It helps to hav other women to talk to.

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  11. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Ladies,  Gracie thanks for your update and LouLou thanks for your input too.

    I am into my 24th week.  Still applying once a day except for the second time a day putting a little on my part.  Sometimes if I don’t want to apply any, I at least put some on my part.  I still like the root boost I get from the Foam.
     
    Still experiencing very little hair loss—I am still amazed and thrilled.  BUT, for some reason my part looks like it has widened a little.  Interesting.
     
    Absolutely, no fuzzies other than the ones I saw weeks ago around my one temple.
     
    I am not backing off at all.  I keep thinking of Barbara, and she used it twice a day for a year.  Anyway, time flies for me, so I’ll be at one year before I know it. :-)

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  12. Generic Image Gracie says

    I agree with still jogging. I remember what Barbara said about using for a year. I am in for the long haul. I have until November so I am trying to stay hopeful. I am using it once a day now and hitting the thinnest parts at night. Every third day I am using the hair max laser. I hope we have the positive results Barbara has had. ! Hair feels about the same, and the part seems a little bit tighter in front but not at the crown. Ugh! This requires so much patience.

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  13. loulou loulou says

    Happy Easter or Passover to all.

    My hair is pretty good on top. I now that the hair has filled in quite a bit because I cannot see through it anymore. The back by my cowlick is still thin, and I still have to use the powder or sprinkles a little to cover the part up. One side of my hair on head, the left is thicker than the right….but I am not stressed about tm hair anymore. Since Rogaine stays active for almost 24 hours (22) I only use it once every other a day. I believe it is fine……..time will tell. Shedding – do you shed at all when you wash your hair? Me abut 50 every time I wash my hair and much less on days I don’t Other than that no hair droppings. lol loulou

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    • Generic Image stilljogging says

      Hey LouLou—great to hear that things are filling in.  You were really smart because you started fairly soon after you first noticed the loss.  Fabulous!!!!!!!!!!  I am still waiting–hopefully soon for me too. :-)

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  14. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Welcome barbw46!!!!!!! I am answering your question down here on the thread.
     
    The liquid is certainly easier than the foam in my opinion, but I had a reaction to the generic liquid because of the propylene glycol.
     
    I apply the foam with a Q-tip.  Still gets on my hair, but since I have such thin hair, it still seems to get to the scalp. I do like the “root boost” it gives my hair, and it doesn’t seem at all greasy like the liquid.
     
    I have also read on the internet that some people let the foam melt in the cap, and then apply with a syringe.  I found that I didn’t get that much liquid because it didn’t have the propylene glycol.
     
    If you have read back in the thread you know that Gracie, LouLou, some of the other ladies, and I are still waiting for the hair to grow other than a few fuzzies.  We are hoping for the same success as  Barbara.
     
    Just be aware that with either the liquid or foam there is the possibility that you will experience the additional hair loss “shedding”.  It was very stressful for some of us, but then it stopped.
     
    I am sure some of the other ladies will add their comments. Please let us know how it goes for you and hang in there.
     

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  15. Generic Image Gracie says

    Welcome barbw46,
    We have all been where you are at with the rogaine. It is a bit scarey when you first start but you have to try everything you can to see if it will work. I used the foam for 4 months morning and evening and feel like it really slowed down the shedding. I also have thickened up a bit along the hairlines Nd my bangs. I am now using it just once a day. The initial shedding is pretty stressful but only lasts a week or two. Check in with us as often as you like as having support is so helpful. Once a day is easy peasie as it is just part of my daily routine.

    Hang in there!

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Do you just apply it where you can see scalp the most? I have focused on the recession areas and figured there is little I can do about overall thinness – I’d need to use the whole bottle if I were to do my whole head! And the derm said to focus on the recessed areas (or at least that is what I think he said I felt so overwhelmed).

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  16. loulou loulou says

    Hello Barb
    I felt the same way!! I was the same back in October. I did not want to use Rogaine. All my blood tests came back normal and I did not want to take another blood pressure pill that they say blocks the DHT which causes hair loss. So I decided to try Rogaine. At first I could not find the correct way to use the foam. I struggled. I was afraid I would get it all over and not where it was suppose to be. As the weeks passed I started to shed a lot, and I was depressed, stressed and upset. As the weeks went by, I noticed less shedding. Now, almost six months later, I still shed a little but I believe its only a normal amount that everyone sheds. As for application, I now use it once every other day. I put the foam in the cup, about three quarters or less. With my fingers I separate the areas that are thin and hold sections off with a hair clip. (now that I am a pro lol, soemtimes I don’t evenuse a clip, just separte with my fingers.) I do the front and sides, but don’t go all the way down on the sides, just about to my ears. Then I clip parts of my crown in the back and place the foam there too. I use my fingers, and it gets easier and easier as the days go by. Sometimes I also get some on my hair instead of my scalp, but then I just rub my hair a little so some gets the scalp. I DO KNOW HOW FRUSTARING this is…because we all have been there. My hair has filled in on the top and sides somewhat. At least now I do not see my scalp in the front of my hair line. My back where the cowlick is and on the sides of it on the crown are still thin………….not as much as it was in October…………….but it still parts so I can see some scalp. I don’t worry about it anymore and use my Caboki Hair Fibers that you shake on your scalp……and whalla the scalp does not show anymore. No one knows that I have it on except me! I also bought a powder from HSN which worse well too. I understand how anxious you are when you are beginning this process……………….we all were. If you have any questions or doubts, just ask. On this site we all have helped each other immensely to get through the initial first step of using Rogaine and dealing with thin hair. loulou.

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Thank you all. I am still struggling and hoping for a better option…PRP? But I continue to try to apply the foam. Last night I didn’t wash my hair but still applied it. I find today, after three days of use, I am feeling a little light headed. I am also on 100 mg of spironolactone (which really stopped the shedding for me even at 50) so I am not sure if it is that. Because the spiro did stop the shedding I am reluctant to stop it. The rogaine is challenging as I have such diffuse thinking – no bald spots, yet – with recession at my temples so the derm had said to put it on my recession areas.
      I am perio-menopausal according to my naturopath and had high levels of mercury so I’m hoping some work in those areas might help with the diffuse thinning. I am surprised at the response to even the lower dosage of sprio as my testosterone is low so it doesn’t seem to be androgentic rather female pattern hair loss. But I’m afraid to go off it. Afraid too I won’t be able to stay on it or the rogaine given this light headedness.
      Has anyone tried acupuncture or laser? I’m trying to figure out if there are ways to help all of my scalp/hair and not just rogaine the recession areas.
      By the way, I hope it’s ok I’ve joined your community even though I’m not yet 50. 46 and a half..and horrified by this hair loss and afraid of the future.

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  17. loulou loulou says

    That’s what my dermatologist wanted me to use, however my internist said no because it is a diuretic and can make you dizzy……………and since my high blood pressure medicine sometimes makes me dizzy already, she did not want me me to switch and take one that was a diuretic. So I decided to go the Rogaine route. I never had any bald spots just diffused, and my hair loss happened very suddenly after my job was eliminated after 22 years. Yikes, I was really stressed, and I am sure that contributed to my hair shedding. In August last year my hair just started to fall off of my head! My job was eliminated at the end on June, so doctors think stress could have been one culprit. I was a total wreck………………..but now I am better.
    Is my hair as it was last Spring? No, it is thinner, but not so bad. Glad you found us. Well are here to help each other get through this darn problem. loulou

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Sorry to bother you again but I am wondering how/where you apply the rogaine then if your loss is diffuse. I have been targeting the recessed areas but not sure what to do about the rest of my head as there isn’t an obvious space anywhere, just overall thinning and I don’t think I can get rogaine everywhere – not enough foam in half a cap.

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  18. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi Barb, my hair loss is diffuse, too. I just part my hair and dab a pea size amount along the part and dab it in. One day I focus on the top half and then I use on the back half the next day. I am sure I use a bit more than recommended but I don’t worry about it. I tried the spironolactone and it made me dizzy. I only stuck with it for 3-4 days because of it. I guess if you stick with it you may get past those dizzy days. I am trying the laser comb with the rogaine. It is simple enough and who knows maybe it will work! Good luck and chime in any time for more info.

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  19. loulou loulou says

    As Gracie said, just part the top of your hair and apply on the part of skin that you can see. Put some of it where you see hair loss. Some of made the mistake of trying to do the entire top and back of the head……………………….not necessary Just put it on your parts on crown and top of head. I put a little on my sides near the top of my head. Ask questions any time. Since you are on spironolactone, you may not shed as much as all of us did when we just used the Rogaine. spironolactone is a blocker of DHT so your hair may not go through the shedding of hair phase. Good Luck and stay in touch. loulou  Happy Easter!

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Thanks so much to all of you. Going to do another self compassion meditation (I have struggled with esteem issues for so many years and now this..guess it’s time I figured out how to like myself. I’m 46..maybe there is a gift in this hair loss..right now it sure doesn’t feel that way. Thanks for the specific suggestions like qtips, pea sized etc…hopefully each day will get easier and I’ll get faster.

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