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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539 Responses

  1. loulou loulou says

    Hello Polly. When my hair loss started, it was sudden and due to stress and anxiety! when I used Rogaine I put it all over at first and then just the top and crown and sides. Like you, all I did was think about my hair shedding every minute of every day. I shed after the first two weeks of using Rogaine and then it stopped. When it shed, I was so freaked out and so stressed……………………even more than before. Gradually I got over worrying about my hair all the time…………….I still worried but much less. I took a chance and stopped using Rogaine gradually, and I think I am ok now. If I start to shed again, I am not sure I will go the Rogaine way again. it interfered with my blood pressure meds. You should keep using the rogaine and see how it goes. I think it worked to some degree. Be patient and try not to worry too much………..I now that’s easier said than done……………Polly, it will get better after awhile. The hair will not fall out anymore. Good luck and any other questions, please just ask. Lou Lou

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    • Generic Image Polly711 says

      Hi loulou
      Thanks for your reply. And I hope u r right.  If it would just stop I would be happy.  Thank the Lord I had alot of hair to begin with. By the way, I am 63 so I know its also a part of aging.  I have my moms exact hair and yes she’s alot thinner than I am but she’s not bald.  I hope thats a good sign.  I can still camouflage  it with rollers and lots of teasing.  But its all i can think about.  How did u get through it???  Thanks

      2 like

      • loulou loulou says

        Good Morning Polly
        I barely got through the shedding! I am also in my early 60′s and this sudden hair loss caused a change in my personality! I was so upset about the thinning hair that I was self consumed trying to figure out why this was happening me. My job of 22 years was eliminated and it was such a stressful one. All I did was worry worry worry. I checked out wigs but figured I would give Rogaine a shot. Well like you, I was not really sure how to use it, and I believe I put way too much on my head. As the shed continued I was losing over 350 hairs a day! I freaked out, but everyone on this loving site told me the shedding would stop, and after about 2 1/2 weeks the shedding lessened I continued using the foam but then started to get dizzy spells. My doctor told me it could be caused by my blood pressure meds and the Rogaine. It was just too much. So after a few months, I began using foam only once a day. Then after about 7 months I went to every other day, then every three days, then 4 etc. Now I am off of Rogaine and my hair is still a little thin, but it is fine. I don’t have any scalp showing except sometimes a spot way on top of my head in the back where my cowlick is. So I just rearrange the hair to cover it, sprinkle with some hair fibers and it is perfect. Now I do not think about my hair anymore and I don’t have any more dizzy spells. My dermatologist said my hair is not thinning anymore and my hair loss was probably from a great overload of stress! If I see my hair thinning again, I will use the Rogaine but not use as much as I did when I was in a panic.(lol) I could not have gotten through that episode of my life without all the wonderful friends I have on this site. Lou Lou

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  2. Generic Image FireMom says

    Hi Polly and welcome to our little sisterhood of the thin hair. :) I underscore the need for you to remember it takes many months til you see results from the rogaine. I gave myself 6 months before I even knew I could begin to see new hair. And I think it was more like 8 til I could tell a difference. Have you seen a dermatologist re: the hair loss? That is a reasonable step to verify the kind of hair loss, check medical issues, get good advice about treatment. You will find lots of support on this blog and great ideas about hair products that help cover up your scalp or style your hairdo. Plus we have all been thru the emotional freak-out so we understand your response to this life-altering issue. Write again and keep us updated, girlfriend.
     
     
     
     

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    • Generic Image Polly711 says

      Hi Firemom  Thanks for the reply.  And yes I have seen a dermatologist  SEVERAL in the past four years.  Probably ran every test there is.  All normal.  Female Pattern Baldness.  Just like my mom.  They have all said Rogaine.  I actually tried Rogaine about 3 years ago and got so freaked out about the extreme shedding.  I stopped.  I lost so much hair.  But I was so stupid on how I applied it.  I made part after part and and spread the mens 5% foam over the entire part on my whole scalp.  I probably used half a can at one time.  I wish i would have googled it before I started it.  Thats why this time around I wanted suggestions.  I posted earlier about a headache I have every morning.  I do not remember experiencing  that last time.  I am just hoping that this time around I am smart about it and only using half a capful on different areas not on my entire scalp.  Wish me luck   Thanks again

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  3. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Welcome Polly,
    I have been on Men’s 5% Rogaine Foam for just over a year. I have age related hair loss. I am 65 yrs. old. I apply it with a Q-tip on the top and sides of my head.

    I started 5% minoxidil/Rogaine after my doctor checked my thyroid and I saw a dermatologist. I was one who had a great deal of additional hair loss after I started the Rogaine. Thanks to the ladies on this board, I continued. Then things calmed down, but what I discovered was several months later it seemed that hair loss became worse in other areas that had been treated from the beginning. I have read that in some cases Rogaine slows down the hair loss, but it still happens.

    I am continuing, because I THINK some of the original areas that showed hair loss might be filling in—or at least not getting wider.

    Women’s new 5% foam – From everything I have read, the Women’s new foam Rogaine is the same as Men’s, but the packaging is different. If anyone has found my information incorrect, please let me know.
     
    Saw Palmetto – I had tried saw palmetto for almost a year, 2 x day, 160mg each, per Dr. Weil’s instructions. I saw no difference in hair growth or loss. I stopped.
     
    Eyebrows – I tried liquid 5% minoxidil on my eyebrows. It did work a little, BUT I felt not worth having the solution that close to my eyes. I stopped.

    Going forward – My plan going forward is to have my thyroid tested again and to return to my dermatologist for a follow-up.

    Hair does change as we get older. Other than the continued thinning, my hair is in great shape. I am continuing with the Men’s Rogaine 5% Foam.
     
    Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.

    0 like

    • Generic Image Polly711 says

      Hi Stilljogging  Thanks for the reply.  I too am sure my hair loss is also age related as well as trauma and surgery And probably big time stress as well.  I too was taking Saw Palmetto, Nettle root, hair skin and nail, biotin, and numerous other supplements.  I also stopped .  Waste of money  with nothing to show for it.  How long did it take for the initial Dread shed to stop and when did it start?  Thanks so much!

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      • Generic Image stilljogging says

        Hi Polly, Thanks for your comments of what you have tried in the way of supplements. I continue to take additional Biotin, but really after a number of months, no help whatsoever.

        I noted that LouLou just replied above with lots of details.  We were going through the horrible additional loss at the same time.  It was indeed stressful, but lots of support here, thankfully.

        To answer your questions, my additional loss due to starting Rogaine began about 3-4 weeks after I started, I think. I was trying generic 2% then 5% liquid, then foam. I had to back off for a few days using the generic liquid because I got a rash. I finally settled on Rogaine 5% Foam. It seemed that my additional loss went on for perhaps 3 weeks. I looked at my notes, but it was a gradual lessening of loss, so no exact time.

        I reached a point with very little hair loss showering and brushing, but then hair loss started again. I figured my hair was getting back into its regular cycle. I think it is a normal amount, but like I said earlier, the continued loss that I notice now is in areas that I have treated from the beginning—my bangs and sides. So far, I don’t think additional hair is growing in these areas at all, but I plan to continue with the Rogaine.

        The good part for me is that the Rogaine Foam gives my very fine hair a boost at the roots, which is very nice.
         
        BTW, I don’t blow-dry my hair, so I have often felt that is why I have never had the dryness that some of the ladies experienced while using Rogaine. I am still using Biolage by Matrix, which works well on my hair, but there are tons of excellent hair products out there. I also color my roots using only 20% developer because of my aging hair.

        Good luck Polly and be sure to keep us up to date.

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  4. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi everyone,
    Happy new year!
    Welcome Polly! I have been using Rogain for over a year. I do think it is very drying to the haiir. My hair texture has changed and I am not sure if it helped in the thinning area. I think it may have helped to slow things down a bit. It is A very frustrating problem and I understand the anxiety u have felt. I had horrible anxiety about it and still do but I seem to be getting used to it.
    I wish someone would find something that really worked! I amp so sad some days about it and it is hard not to focus on it.
    Hang. In there with the rogaine. You have to try everything in hopes that you can slow it down or stop it!
    Hope everyone else is well!
    Gracie

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    • Generic Image Polly711 says

      Hi Gracie   Thanks for the reply.  I am on week 3 of using Rogaine.  I am PRAYING I do not get the dred shed.  I guess time will tell.  At least the headache stopped.  So do you continue to use Rogaine because you feel like your hairless has slowed down?  I mean if you saw no improvement as far as filling in thinning areas do you just feel like you have it under control?  If mine would just STOP I think i might be ok.  I know it will take months to see if it is working.  I pray I am one of the few.  Its so depressing.  How is everyone else doing?  Hope to see some posts!

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