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Does Rogaine Work for Women?

Rogaine is the first hair loss product to be approved by the FDA. It contains minoxidil, a drug once used to lower high blood pressure. Rogaine for women contains the same drug but at a lower dose than Men’s Rogaine. Is this lower dose effective for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair regrowth in women? Read on to find out how you can get the best out of Women’s Rogaine.
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*Note: ProgressiveHealth.com does not carry Women's Rogaine. The following review is simply for informational purposes:

Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss is also known as alopecia. It is the common term for describing a net loss of hair from the scalp or body.

Normally, hair is constantly being lost and replaced in a cycle that ensures no changes in the amount of hair covering the body. However, when hair loss occurs, there are more hairs being lost than new ones replacing them.

It is estimated that we lose about 100 hairs every day and these are soon replaced. However, when daily hair loss exceeds this number, it can be difficult for the body to replace them.

Losing more than 100 hairs daily is a definitive sign of alopecia.

There are different causes of hair loss but the most common cause is an increased production of androgens. Androgens are male sex hormones but they are also released in females. The two most important androgens contributing to hair loss are testosterone and one of its metabolites, DHT (dihydrotestosterone).

Androgens attack hair follicle cells and kill them off. When this happens on the scalp, it can turn whole areas of the scalp hairless as the cells producing hair strands die off.

Hair loss due to androgens is often a hereditary condition that runs in some families. It can affect both men and women. However, the pattern of hair loss differs between men and women.

Male-pattern hair loss begins from temples. The hair thins from the sides before the other areas of the scalp. On the other hand, female-pattern hair loss starts with hair thinning from the front of the scalp.

Of the drugs used for treating alopecia, minoxidil is the most commonly prescribed and it is effective for both male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss.

What is Rogaine?

Rogaine is a popular brand of hair loss products. It comes in two different formulations: one for men and the other for women.

Rogaine contains minoxidil, the first compound approved for treating alopecia by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Although there are now other brands of minoxidil, Rogaine was the first hair loss product formulated with this compound.

Rogaine for women is a different product than Rogaine for men. It contains 2% minoxidil instead of the 5% minoxidil found in the men’s formulation. The inactive ingredients of Rogaine are purified water, propylene glycol and alcohol.

This hair loss treatment is available as topical solutions of varying volumes. It is meant to be applied to the scalp twice daily. Each application should be no more than 1 ml. of the product. Unlike some topical formulations, Rogaine for women is not greasy but comes with the consistency of water.

Rogaine should only be applied to the scalp and it should not be used to treat hair loss in other parts of the body. If it comes in contact with the eyes or other mucosal surfaces, it should be washed off thoroughly with water.

Once applied to the scalp, some of Rogaine is absorbed into the blood. Although only a little of the active ingredient is absorbed, Rogaine can still cause systemic effect. For example, it should only be used with caution by women with heart disease.

Rogaine for women does not work for everyone. However, it is particularly effective for those with hereditary alopecia caused by high levels of androgens such as testosterone.

This hair treatment product should not be used by those experiencing sudden and quick hair loss, those with a family history of alopecia and those experiencing hair loss after childbirth. Rogaine should not be applied on infected, inflamed or reddened scalp and it should not be mixed with other topical medicines while applied on the scalp.

For safety reasons, Rogaine should not be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as anyone younger than 18 years.

Although it is well-tolerated, Rogaine does have some side effects. The manufacturer recommends the withdrawal of the product for any of the following reasons:

  • The occurrence of cardiovascular symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness and fainting spells
  • The sudden onset of hypersensitivity reactions including difficulty breathing, facial swelling, hives, rash and itching
  • The appearance of undesired facial hair outside of the area of application. The common presentation of this side effect in women is hair growth on the forehead and cheeks
  • Swelling of the limbs
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Irritation and dryness of the scalp due to the alcohol and propylene glycol found in the product

Rogaine does not work for everyone and it should be abandoned if there is no sign of hair regrowth after 4 months. Most users who find Rogaine effective report the first signs of hair regrowth as early as the first month of use.

However, it should be noted that Rogaine actually causes hair loss initially before stimulating hair growth. Therefore, the increased shedding of hair experienced in the first weeks following the use of Rogaine is a good sign. It happens because the new hair growing out pushes the old ones out of the skin pores.

How Minoxidil Works

The ability of minoxidil to stimulate hair regrowth was discovered while it was still a drug candidate for treating hypertension. Clinicians soon discovered a common side effect of the drug: hair growth.

While patients were placed on minoxidil, they experienced the darkening and thickening of body hairs and some even experienced quite significant hair growth.

What was an unwanted effect for some became the big selling point for people experiencing hair loss.

Soon minoxidil was discontinued as a drug for treating high blood pressure and re-introduced as a drug for reversing hair loss.

The 2% solution of minoxidil was the first preparation of the drug to be marketed for hair loss. This topical solution was found effective for men and women. However, further studies show that the 5% minoxidil solution was even more effective as a hair loss treatment especially for men.

As an antihypertensive drug, minoxidil works by dilating the blood vessels. Although it is not fully understood how minoxidil increases hair growth, the same effect is believed to contribute significantly to its ability to stimulate hair regrowth.

As a vasodilator, minoxidil releases nitric oxide (a known vasodilator itself) which widens the blood vessels allowing for improved blood flow to specific parts of the body. Because Rogaine is a topical product meant to be applied to the scalp, the minoxidil it contains releases nitric oxide, the vasodilator, in the skin of the scalp.

Therefore, this topical application of minoxidil improves blood flow to the hair follicle cells.

Increased blood circulation to these cells means that they are supplied with more oxygen and nutrients for their growth.

Other known effects of minoxidil which may also contribute to hair regrowth includes its ability to polarize cell membranes and open potassium channels as well as its positive effect on prostaglandin. Through the last effect, minoxidil can increase the number of new hair follicle cells.

The combination of these effects causes the shortening of the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle and the lengthening of the anagen (growth spurt) phase. This means that the minoxidil in Rogaine provides more time for hair growth and less time for hair loss.

How Effective is Rogaine for Women?

While the 2% minoxidil supplied in Rogaine for women is effective for 30% of men, it is more effective in women. In one study, 60% of the women who were given the 2% minoxidil formulation experienced some hair regrowth although only 20% experienced significant hair growth.

Therefore, Rogaine for women is only effective in some women. However, the alternative is antiandrogens or oral contraceptives both of which can affect hormonal balance. Because these oral drugs can cause significant side effects, doctors prefer prescribing topical minoxidil products such as Rogaine.

However, where the 2% minoxidil solution fails to work, some women report improved results with the 5% minoxidil solution. However, this is an off-label use of Men’s Rogaine and Rogaine for women is only available in the lower concentration.

As long as the limitations of Rogaine is understood, expectations for new hair growth can be well managed.

Minoxidil (and Rogaine for women) is more effective if the hair loss does not cover a large area of the scalp. In addition, its effectiveness reduces the longer alopecia is allowed before treatment is begun. For example, after five years of hair loss, the chance of success with Rogaine is severely reduced. This is because Rogaine stimulates hair growth but if all the hair follicles are completely destroyed, there are no cells to stimulate.

Yet another limitation of Rogaine is the need for constant use.

The effect of minoxidil on hair growth wears off within 30 – 60 days after its use is stopped. This means that hair loss resumes when Rogaine is withdrawn and, therefore, the product has to be applied for the lifetime of the user.

Minoxidil fails to “cure” hair loss because it only supports hair regrowth by increasing the amount of nutrients getting to hair follicle cells and by increasing the population of these cells. Because it does not reduce the amount of DHT or 5-alpha reductase (the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT) accumulated around hair follicles, the rate of hair loss soon exceeds hair growth after Rogaine is stopped.

How to Improve the Effectiveness of Rogaine

Although Rogaine is only effective for about half the women who take it, there is a way to increase the percentage of those who benefit from the product. By combining topical Rogaine with oral hair loss supplements it is possible to increase your odds of experiencing new hair growth.

However, selecting the proper supplement is key to providing this benefit. One example of an effective hair loss supplement that can be combined with Rogaine is Advecia.

Advecia is an all-natural hair loss supplement. Therefore, it is safe and well-tolerated. It is also effective for improving hair growth.

Reversing hair loss is a long game that requires dedication and at least a year-long use of hair loss remedies. Taking Advecia pills is a good way to achieve this aim especially when a topical solution like Rogaine is also being used.

Advecia perfectly supplements Rogaine for women. It takes care of the major limitation of Rogaine: DHT and other androgens that keep destroying hair follicle cells.

The ingredients of Advecia include the herbal extracts of saw palmetto, green tea and grape seed. Also included is beta sitosterol and other plant sterols. The amino acids, L-lysine and L-arginine, are also present in this hair loss supplements.

Each of the ingredients of Advecia has been proven in multiple clinical studies to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth. The herbal extracts are especially known to block the conversion of testosterone to DHT and also inhibit the activities of DHT.

Since Advecia is also recommended to be taken twice daily, it is the perfect hair loss supplement to pair with Rogaine for women.

Sources


http://www.hairlosstalk.com/hair-loss-treatments/women-rogaine-foam/index.php

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/hair-loss-treatments

http://www.rogaine.com/women/understanding-hair-loss

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