Can Women Use Rogaine?

Initially, the emergence of the first Rogaine product in 1988 was a solution designed for men experiencing hair loss (via Rogaine). While a Rogaine product geared towards women was launched in the early 90s, many products continue to target the predominantly male demographic. For women experiencing hair loss, is Rogaine a safe and suitable treatment?

The development of hair loss in women can occur for many different reasons. Affecting over 50% of women in their lifetime, hair loss can occur as a result of the natural aging process, having recently given birth, certain medications, the onset of menopause, or possessing hair loss as a genetically inherited trait (via the Cleveland Clinic).

Rogaine is a product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is designed to treat hair loss in both men and women. It encourages blood flow and extends the anagen phase of the hair cycle when growth occurs (via North Atlanta Hair Restoration). Rogaine contains minoxidil, and while the recommended safe dose of this ingredient for women used to be no more than 2%, it has since been raised to 5%. What exactly is minoxidil and is it safe for use?

Rogaine only treats a certain type of hair loss

While the minoxidil contained in Rogaine can be an effective means to treat female pattern baldness, it may not produce the same results for all users. Because this type of hair loss is mainly related to genetics, Rogaine is not designed to treat unexpected or circumstantial hair loss, such as hair loss related to having given birth (via WebMD). Therefore, it may not be an effective means of treatment depending on your cause of hair loss.

According to Everyday Health, the ingredients in Rogaine can help slow the development of hair loss or even stop it altogether. In some cases, it may even regenerate new hair growth. However, experts caution that side effects of the medication sometimes cause things to get worse before they get better. For example, some users may experience additional hair loss within the first month of usage as fresh hair begins to push to the surface of the scalp, causing old hair to fall out.

The effectiveness of Rogaine for men versus women

Should the solution get on any areas of the body other than the scalp, some women may notice the growth of potentially unwanted hair (via Everyday Health). For this reason, some experts suggest using Rogaine products that contain a lower percentage of minoxidil, in the event that the solution should drip down onto your face.

Although safe, studies show that overall, Rogaine may prove more effective for men than for women. According to North Atlanta Hair Restoration, the initial FDA study on Rogaine products showed that nearly 50% of male participants ranked the medication as "effective," while 40% of women participants ranked their results as "minimal."

Consider setting up an appointment with a doctor or specialist when seeking treatment for hair loss in order to accurately determine the cause. Additionally, it should be noted that the use of Rogaine products is not advised for those younger than 18 or those pregnant or breastfeeding.