Minoxidil, marketed as Rogaine, is one of the mainstays of treatments for hair loss. It is an over-the-counter medication used to treat hair loss that is both safe and effective. Although we do not know exactly the pathway by which it works, it works in synergy with Finasteride (Propecia) and should be considered in combined therapy for maximal benefit. It comes in 2% for women and 5% for men and the 5% comes in foam as well the standard liquid. Until March 2012, the foam only came as a more expensive Rogaine branded item but has since gone generic and can be purchased I believe at Walgreen’s among other providers. The benefit of the foam is that it is easier to style and also lacks propylene glycol, which can irritate about 20% of scalps out there. The efficacy of the foam is the same as the liquid version. I believe that the benefit of the generic is the same as the brand and advocate my patients to consider buying the generic version. Women can use the 5% foam version for typically faster results (that equalize after a year of use with those women who choose to use the 2%) but should be cautioned that in a small percentage they can have secondary hair growth that if occurs should obviously warrant cessation and return to the 2% kind. Also, after a month or so some individual experience some hair shedding, which should not be feared but signals that hairs are being converted into a growth phase. This does not always occur. It takes about 3 to 4 months to start seeing noticeable growth. That is a quick summary of some of the basics of Minoxidil that may be clinically relevant to an individual using it.

Dr Samuel Lam is a board certified hair-transplant surgeon in Dallas, TX. To schedule a consultation please call 972-312-8105, or visit Dr Lam’s hair transplant forum to ask him a question.