For people experiencing hair loss issues, a simple over-the-counter (OTC) solution called minoxidil is available. You’ll probably recognize it by its popular brand name, Rogaine.

More people began to use minoxidil as it became more popular, and most doctors prescribe it for hair loss in men. Did you know that minoxidil was initially intended for other purposes before it became renowned for its current use as a hair loss treatment?  

During the early 1950s, the Upjohn Company developed minoxidil to treat ulcers. After researchers performed several tests, they discovered that minoxidil was not effectively treating or curing ulcers. Instead, clinical trials revealed that minoxidil is a vasodilator. It opens blood vessels and permits blood to flow more freely.

During the late 1970s, the FDA authorized the distribution of this compound as Loniten in the form of oral pills. Since then, Loniten has become the preferred treatment for patients suffering from high blood pressure.

Researchers discovered that Loniten exhibited a peculiar side effect, additional hair growth, through various tests and research. However, this hair growth occurred in strange places: on individuals’ cheeks, the backs of the hands, and the forehead.

The manufacturer issued a new patent, which eventually led the FDA to approve the drug for sale via prescription as Rogaine in 1988. At this point, Rogaine became a primary topical solution for hair loss in men.

In 1991, the manufacturer produced a formula of minoxidil for women. In 1996, Rogaine received approval for sale as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. Today, Rogaine is widely known and is well accepted as an OTC drug to treat hair loss in men.

Minoxidil (Rogaine)

If you are losing hair at a higher rate than usual for you, perhaps you have already heard of minoxidil, or Rogaine, the popular name for this hair regrowth medication to treat hair loss in men. 

You can purchase this popular hair loss treatment as a liquid or a foam form as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. It’s available under multiple brand names unique to each store that sells it, like Equate (now privately owned by Walmart), Kirkland (Costco), or Well at Walgreens. 

Rogaine works for certain types of baldness and only by continued use. However, you probably will not grow back all your lost hair. 

Class of Drug

Rogaine is an antihypertensive drug, a vasodilator. It opens blood vessels and allows blood to flow easily. Although its original purpose was to treat hypertension (it’s still widely used for this purpose), minoxidil is most often associated with hair regrowth, a favorable side effect of this oral medication.

How Does It Work?

Vasodilators work by opening or dilating blood vessels. Did you know that a vasodilator stimulates the muscles in the walls of your arteries and veins? It prevents the muscles from contracting and artery walls from constricting. Therefore, your blood flows more easily through your opened vessels. 

The exact mechanism of action for minoxidil, the active ingredient, is uncertain. However, experts believe that minoxidil works by partially expanding hair follicles by opening up blood vessels and allowing extra blood flow through the hair follicles to function more efficiently, thus producing more hair. It might be why some people taking oral minoxidil experience hair growth in unwanted parts of the body.

Approved Uses

Professionals use topical minoxidil to deal with hair loss in men caused by male pattern baldness in adults 18 years and older. Additionally, medical professionals prescribe oral minoxidil to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).


Presently, topical minoxidil is available on shelves in 2% and 5% formulations, in liquid (scalp drops) and foam solutions. If you’re using the liquid solution, you can apply 1 milligram of minoxidil to your scalp twice daily (no more than 2 milliliters per day) and a half capful twice a day if you’re using the foam solution.

How to Use Minoxidil for Hair Loss

Make sure to clean and dry your scalp before applying minoxidil. You may place this product to damp hair, but make sure your scalp is dry. 

Follow these steps to use the liquid solution:

  1. Fill up the applicator with 1 milliliter of minoxidil, or place 20 drops in an eyedropper.
  2. Remember to part your hair in the area of thinning to expose it and apply the liquid solution evenly to the affected area of the scalp. 
  3. Gently rub it in until it is completely absorbed. 
  4. Be sure that the solution dries thoroughly before using other styling products (gels or mousse) or before going to bed. 

Follow the same procedure but with a different dosage when using the foam solution.

  1. Apply about half a capful of foam to the scalp and gently rub it in. Like the liquid solution, allow the foam to dry thoroughly before going to bed or add any product to your hair for styling. 

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after application, whether using the liquid or foam solution. Avoid the medication from getting into your eyes. If you do, rinse your eyes with large amounts of cool water.

Do not use minoxidil on damaged skin (cuts, scrapes, or burns, including sunburn). If you get some in your eyes, too much drug will be absorbed in your body and result in serious side effects. If you have damaged skin, allow the scalp to repair itself and wait for the skin to get back to normal before using minoxidil treatments. 

To gain significant results, you have to use this medication consistently for four to six months. If your condition worsens or you don’t see any improvement after six months to one year, your doctor may recommend another form of hair loss treatment.

Side Effects of Minoxidil

Talk to your doctor if you experience any allergic reaction to this medication. Minor side effects may occur at the application site, like burning, stinging, or redness. However, they usually go away on their own without any treatment. Minoxidil can be absorbed through the skin and rarely causes severe side effects. If it does, stop using the medication and call your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms, including:

  • Inflammation at the hair roots.
  • Increased hair loss. 
  • Unwanted facial or body hair.
  • Swelling in the face or scalp. 
  • Changes in vision, such as blurriness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Severe dizziness. 
  • Fainting. 
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat. 
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Persistent headache. 
  • Difficulty breathing, especially when lying down.

Does Minoxidil (Rogaine) Work for Hair Loss?

Rogaine (minoxidil) is a medication for hair regrowth and slowing down hair loss in men. It is the most widely available treatment for male pattern baldness and is the first treatment option for hair loss since individuals may purchase it over the counter. 

Doctors use minoxidil as part of the treatment for male pattern baldness or in cases with no substantial hair growth on the scalp resulting from using fin########. Some patients respond appropriately with minoxidil. Additionally, fin######## is a highly effective nonsurgical hair loss treatment option for many men. 

Before trying minoxidil, be sure to speak with your doctor. Your personal or family history may change the probability of possible side effects, especially if you have cardiac issues.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step in Hair Loss Treatment?

If you have already tried minoxidil and notice that it is not producing results for you, you may be searching for a more permanent solution for your hair loss. When you feel ready to take the next step, call us and schedule an initial consultation.

A wide range of information is available on our website if you want to know more about treatments for hair loss in men. Check out our educational videos, view before-and-after photos, and read reviews from our past clients about our products and services. Call us today to discuss hair restoration and treatment options.