Rogaine (Minoxidil solution) is one of common treatment options for male pattern hair loss, also called ‘male androgenic alopecia’. Receding hairline is often associated with early sign of male pattern hair loss, though not always. So does this OTC treatment stop your receding hairline? That’s a tough question to answer since it’s not easy to figure out the prognosis of the problem for everyone.
Rogaine, how does it work?
Receding hairline associated with male pattern hair loss is nothing more than a medically inconsequential thing. It’s more common in men, but in a few cases it can also occur in women (see more here).
It’s harmless and wouldn’t pose to serious health risks. That’s why treatment is not always necessary if you can enjoy with your new appearance – a number of hairstyles can help you deal with.
But when you think treatment is necessary, a few treatment options are available. Rogaine is one of them, which is also a common conventional treatment for male hair loss problems.
Actually Minoxidil was used to treat hypertension, high blood pressure. It acts as a vasodilator, stimulating blood vessels to dilate. This vasodilator effect improves blood flow in the body, so does hypertension.
Interestingly, patients experience unexpected hair growth when taking the medicine. For this reason, then some studies analyzed this potent side effect and today we commonly use it for hair loss treatment. It is already approved by the FDA.
The exact way of how it affects hair growth is probably not known yet. When we apply the medicine topically, available in the form of foam, it increases blood flow to the treatment area. With increased blood flow, there are more nutrients and oxygen delivered to the parts of your scalp, including into each hair follicle. As a result, this may stimulate hair growth and promote hair health.
So we can say that Minoxidil actively causes hairs of telogen (resting phase) to fall out, then it drives hair follicles go into growing phase (anagen).
It may cause temporary rapid hair loss at first, which then followed with new hair growth and you have a thicker head of hair. It doesn’t have an effect on your hormone. It usually will only affect treatment area applied by the medicine, it’s a local solution.
In addition; besides as a topical foam, it’s also available as a liquid and a spray.
Will Rogaine stop receding hairline?
Although receding hairline in men with male pattern hair loss is common, it’s not fully understood yet. The exact cause of the problem still remains puzzling. But many times it’s associated with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is an androgen responsible for male characteristics.
Somewhere else on the body, DHT is required for hair growth. Pubic hair, beard hair, and armpit hair for examples — need this hormone to grow. But unfortunately sometimes DHT causes counterproductive effect to the head hair growth.
Men with high DHT are likely to develop male pattern baldness. On the other hand, men with very little hair elsewhere on their body are less likely to have the problem .
One study also suggests the same effect of DHT on head hair. It seems non-balding scalp tends to have lower levels of androgen receptors than balding scalp. Also, some people probably are genetically vulnerable to have sensitive hair follicles to respond DHT .
DHT doesn’t work alone, though it’s often to blame for most cases of male pattern hair loss. In fact there are also some men with high DHT who don’t develop the problem. The combination of several factors — such as; high DHT hormone, genetic factor, and age (male receding hairline is more common in 80s ) — would play a role to make the problem more likely!
So can Rogaine stop the problem?
What to understand, Rogaine doesn’t target the underlying cause of the problem. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t target any hormone of your body, including DHT. Therefore if DHT is the main reason of the problem, the efficacy of this medicine is very low.
There is still no any detailed scientific study that specifically explores the effectiveness of Minoxidil on receding hairline. So it’d be better if to view this topical hair loss solution as something with ‘potential’ benefits when it comes to treating receding hairline. Don’t think it will become a guaranteed way to fix your hairline.
Also, the results from the treatment are not permanent. If it works on your hairline, it may take weeks or months to see your hair growth improvements. You need to keep up with its application to sustain your hair growth. If you discontinue using the treatment, hair loss on the treatment area may occur again.
The takeaway! It seems Rogaine doesn’t guarantee that it will stop receding hairline permanently. But since it’s practical solution and affordable, some people are quite satisfied with it. Even if your problem has to do with high DHT, consider using Rogaine with finasteride, a DHT blocker. Together, they may work more effectively to provide a synergistic effect hair growth solution – one study suggests .