Overview: Good for maintaining hair, fairly cheap, easy to use, comes in spray, foam or liquid
What is Regaine?
Regaine (or Rogaine if you’re in the US) is an FDA approved treatment for hereditary hair loss that’s available without a prescription, and is suitable for both men and women. The active ingredient it contains is called Minoxidil. Minoxidil is clinically proven to prevent further hair loss in around 80% cases.
Minoxidil was originally a blood pressure medication, taken orally. In early trails it was noted that patients began growing extra body hair. So it was later adapted into a topical product that can be applied directly to the scalp.
When Minoxidil is absorbed into the scalp it enhances the blood supply to your hair follicles. This prolongs the hair follicle growth phase (Anagen phase), allowing for hairs to grow thicker in diameter. It also causes more hairs to go through the growth phase at the same time. The result is a thicker, fuller looking head of hair.
Minoxidil comes in a variety forms, the most popular being Regain foam. It comes in the standard 2% strength, and in a 5% extra strength option. You apply it directly to your scalp once or twice a day. It’s suitable for both men and women. It has no side effects so you can buy it now without a prescription. And It’s also fairly cost effective.
It’s worth noting that Minoxidil does not inhibit the production of DHT. For more information on DHT take a look here.
How do I use Regaine?
Regaine foam is like a styling mousse. So you can either apply a small amount to your scalp directly, or squeeze it into your palm and then rub it into your scalp. The foam option is definitely easiest form to apply. I found that the liquid option (applied by droplet) would run down my face and the back of my head. The liquid form can be cheaper, but it’s harder to apply.
The directions state that you have to apply Regaine twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. If you want to ensure the best results you should follow the directions. That said studies show that when Minoxidil is applied topically it has a half-life of 22 hours in the skin. It’s a hot debate but some suggest that there isn’t much difference in using the 5% option once a day, compared to using the 2% option twice day. Like this one study carried out on a group of women fighting hair loss. I personally used Regaine once a day and saw some good results.
A 3 month supply of Regaine costs around £45 in the UK, and it’s well worth giving it a try. I find that it lasts longer than 3 months because I only use it once a day. And I actually enjoy using the product. I usually hit the gym on my way home from work. When I get home i’ll shower, partially dry my hair, then apply a small amount all over the top of my scalp. It’s easy adding Regaine to my daily grooming regime.
How long does it take to work?
Everyone responds differently, so I would advise patience when trying a new hair loss product. According to the official Regaine website you may see some shedding around week 2. Shedding is when weak hairs are shed so that stronger hairs can take their place – this is a good sign. By Week 8 you may see some early signs of Regaine working. Any shedding should have stopped by this point. By weeks 12-16 you should see some regrowth. This is the time frame stated on the official Regaine website. However I found that you don’t really see the difference until 6-12 months. Remember I only used the 5% foam once a day! Had I followed the instructions and used the foam twice a day I may have seen a difference sooner.
Top tip! Take pictures the day you start using Regaine (front, back, sides, top). Then take another set of pictures at 3 months in. Then another set at 6 months, then 9, 12 etc. Try to get a friend to take them to get a good angle. This also helps with lighting as you’ll get glare from the flash if you are doing it selfie style. Use a good camera and try to get the same angles each time, so look at the last set before you take the next. This gives you a great record of your progress. I didn’t start doing this straight away so it was hard to accurately track my results.
My experience using Regaine for 12 months…
Ok so my photography skills back in 2014 were terrible. These pictures are not the best. The lighting Yes these are terrible images! I still wanted to share them though, and to talk about my experience. You may notice that in the image on the right my hair is darker, and slightly thicker. The flash is also brightly shining on the crown (roughly 9 months in
You’re probably going to jump straight to the pictures below. Before you do there are a few important points to note about my experience with Regaine. When I started using it I was primarily looking to regrow hair in the front at the hairline – Regaine works best in the crown at the back. I was so fixated on the front I wasn’t really tracking the back, so I don’t have that many good quality images from that period – hence my tip about pictures above!
Use in Women
Both the 2% solution and 5% foam formulations of minoxidil are approved for use in women. Women are generally more sensitive to the side effects of minoxidil in decreasing blood pressure (hypotension) and may get light-headed from the medication. Women also have an increased risk of developing allergic skin reactions (contact dermatitis).
An annoying local reaction that women sometimes get from topical minoxidil is the development of facial hair. Although the facial hair slowly resolves when the medication is discontinued, at times the hair may need to be removed. Carefully trying to avoid the medication dripping down onto the temples and forehead seems to reduce, but not totally prevent, this problem. There is a significantly greater incidence of these side effects if the 5% solution is used, especially if applied twice a day.
Rogaine was developed from the oral blood pressure medication minoxidil (Loniten). Minoxidil taken orally has potential serious side effects on the heart and circulatory system and is used only when other blood pressure medications have been unsuccessful.