Review on April 13, 2009
Minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine, is a hair loss treatment now approved for women. It is sometimes suggested as a treatment option for menopausal women experiencing hair loss. Though a nonsurgical hair loss treatment, both doctors and patients questions whether or not it's really worth it as the side effects are not pretty.
The question at hand is not whether or not Rogaine works for hair loss; it has already proven effective (it slows hair loss and grows new hair after being sprayed directly on the scalp twice a day). Still, more and more doctors are encouraging patients to try alternative treatment options for hair loss, as the complaints they receive about side effects are increasing. The most common side effects include skin irritation, dandruff, and an itchy scalp. In women, it may promote facial hair growth on the forehead and cheeks.
Another factor to note is results are not permanent. Treatment must be continued daily in order to maintain constant results. If intake is stopped, hair loss will resume and any re-grown hair will gradually be lost. The scalp will most likely appear the same as before treatment within 6-12 months.
Rogaine is more effective in women when taken with estrogen, hormone replacement. As hormone replacement has its own side effects, is it worth it on top of all these too?
- Olsen EA, et al. (2002). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47: 377-385