Minoxidil 2 for women



Answers: Frequently Asked Questions For Women’s

Women’s ROGAINE® products are the first FDA-approved topical treatments clinically proven to regrow hair in women. Women’s ROGAINE® products come in two forms: 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution and 5% Minoxidil Topical Foam.

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23. How do Women’s Rogaine® products work?

In hereditary hair loss, a combination of heredity, hormones, and age causes a progressive shrinking, or miniaturization, of certain scalp follicles and a shortening of the hair’s growing cycle. Eventually, there may be no growth at all. The exact mechanism of action of ROGAINE® products is uncertain. However, researchers believe that ROGAINE® products work in part by lengthening the time that hair spends in its active growth phase, and by restoring the size of the miniaturized hair follicles so that they can return to producing thick, long hairs. With more follicles in the growth phase at the same time, it is possible to see improved coverage of the scalp.

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24. Are Women’s ROGAINE® products right for me?

ROGAINE® products are used to treat hereditary hair loss in women over the age of 18 years. The checklist below will help you determine if ROGAINE® products are right for you.

  • Members of your immediate family or extended family, male or female, have experienced hair loss.

  • You have noticed a gradual thinning of the hair on the top of the scalp which may be most noticeable around the part and sometimes may be more extensive near the front of the scalp, forming a pattern similar to an evergreen-tree shape.

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25. Will Women’s ROGAINE® products work for me?

The amount of regrowth is different for each person. When using Women’s ROGAINE® Foam, results may be seen as early as 3 months with once daily use. For some women, it may take at least 6 months for results to be seen. You may need to use Women’s ROGAINE® Solution 2 times a day for at least 4 months before you see results. Not everyone will respond to Women’s ROGAINE® products. The response to Women’s ROGAINE® products cannot be predicted. No one will be able to grow back all their hair. To see your best results, make sure you apply the product directly to the scalp as directed.

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26. How is the Women’s ROGAINE® Foam different than Men’s ROGAINE® Foam?

Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Foam is a once-daily hair re-growth treatment indicated and labeled specifically for women and FDA approval of the product was based on the safety and effectiveness profile demonstrated in clinical studies of once-daily use in women experiencing for Female Pattern Hair Loss. In contrast, Men’s ROGAINE® Foam is a twice-daily hair re-growth treatment indicated and labeled specifically for men and FDA approval of the product was based on the safety and effectiveness profile demonstrated in clinical testing of twice daily use in men experiencing Male Pattern Hair Loss. As always, we recommend following the labeled dosage when using any ROGAINE® Minoxidil product.

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27. What are the most common side effects of Women’s ROGAINE® products?

  • Some people may experience a dry, itchy scalp and irritation of the treated area. Stop using and ask a doctor if irritation persists.

  • Some people have experienced changes in hair color and/or texture.

  • Women’s Rogaine® Foam contains alcohol, which can cause burning or irritation of the eyes or sensitive skin areas. If Women’s Rogaine® Foam accidentally gets into these areas, rinse with large amounts of cool tap water.

  • Infrequent cases of unwanted facial hair have been reported in women. If you develop unwanted facial hair while using Women’s Rogaine® product, stop use and see your doctor. Any unwanted hair will usually disappear when use of the product is discontinued.

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28. Can Women’s ROGAINE® products produce unwanted hair?

Unwanted hair growth has been reported on the face and other parts of the body with ROGAINE® use. The unwanted hair growth may be cause by the transfer of Women’s ROGAINE® product to areas other than the scalp, or by absorption into the circulatory system of low levels of active ingredient, or by a medical condition not related to the use of Women’s ROGAINE® products. If you experience unwanted hair, discontinue using Women’s ROGAINE® products and see your doctor for recommendations about appropriate treatment. After stopping use of Women’s ROGAINE® products, the unwanted hair, if caused by the use of Women’s ROGAINE® products, should go away over time. You can take steps to decrease the chances for unwanted hair growth:

  • Limit the application of Women’s ROGAINE® product only to the scalp

  • If you use the hands to apply Women’s ROGAINE® product, wash your hands thoroughly afterward and

  • Allow sufficient drying time before going to bed (usually 2 to 4 hours before going to bed after applying Women’s ROGAINE® products).

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29. What is the shelf life of Women’s ROGAINE® products?

The shelf life of the Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol is two years, and the shelf life of Women’s ROGAINE® 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution is five years.

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30. Are there any medications that may interact when I’m using Women’s ROGAINE® products?

You should not use ROGAINE® products if you are using other topical medicines on the scalp. There are no commonly recognized drug interactions associated with medications taken by mouth and the use of ROGAINE® products. You should ask your doctor if you are concerned that a medication that you are taking may interact with ROGAINE®.

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31. Can I use ROGAINE® products if I’m pregnant or nursing?

Do not use ROGAINE® products if you are pregnant or nursing.

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32. How often do I need to use Women’s ROGAINE® Products?

Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol should be applied once-a-day, and may be used morning or night. The Women’s ROGAINE® 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution should be applied twice-a-day. When using Women’s ROGAINE® Foam, results may be seen as early as three months when used as directed. For some women, it may take six months of once-daily use for the foam or 4 months of twice daily use of the solution for results to be seen. You may need to use Women’s ROGAINE® Solution 2 times a day for at least 4 months before you see results. Women’s ROGAINE® products will not work faster or better if used more than directed. More frequent or larger doses have not been shown to speed up hair growth.

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33. How do I open my ROGAINE® Foam container?

To properly open your container of ROGAINE® Foam, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Use the thumb and forefinger of one hand to hold the white plastic ring securely (you’ll find the white plastic ring around the neck of the container, just below the translucent cap.)

  • Step 2: While holding the ring in place, use your other hand to twist the translucent cap until the arrow on the white plastic ring lines up with the arrow on the translucent cap.

  • Step 3: Tilt cap back and pull off cap.

To properly close the container:

  • Step 1: Place cap on container

  • Step 2: Snap into place

  • Step 3: Be sure arrows do NOT line up, so cap remains child resistant

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34. How do I apply Women’s ROGAINE® products?

5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol:

This product should be used once daily, every day. To be effective, it is important to apply the product directly to your scalp and not to your hair so that it can easily get to your hair follicles to help regrow your hair.

  • There is no need to shampoo your hair before using the product. If you wish to shampoo your hair before applying Women’s ROGAINE® Foam, towel dry your hair so that the skin on the scalp is dry.

  • To open the container: Hold ring. While holding ring, twist cap to line up the arrow on the ring with the arrow on the cap. (Figure 1 below) Tilt cap back and pull off cap.

  • The foam may begin to melt on contact if your fingers are warm. Rinse your fingers in cold water first before dispensing. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before handling the foam.

  • Hold the can straight upside down, press nozzle to dispense half a capful of the foam onto a non-absorbent surface (Figure 2 below). The total amount of foam applied should not exceed half a capful.

  • Within your hair thinning areas, make a center part to help maximize scalp exposure. Part your hair at least two more times on each side of the center part (Figure 3 below).

  • Using your fingertips, spread just enough foam over the hair loss areas and gently massage the foam into the scalp starting from the back to front (forehead) direction (Figure 4 below). Use until all the foam is gone.

  • After each use, thoroughly clean and dry the dish or saucer if used.

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water after applying.

  • To close the container: Place cap on container and snap into place. Be sure arrows do not line up so cap remains child resistant.

2% Minoxidil Topical Solution:

This product should be used twice daily, every day. To be effective, it is important to apply the product directly to your scalp and not to your hair so that it can easily get to your hair follicles to help regrow your hair.

Directions for Use:

  • Remove the overcap.

  • Remove the inner cap. To remove, push down and turn in direction of the arrows on the cap.

  • Part your hair in the areas of hair thinning/loss. Follow the instructions below for using the dropper applicator and apply one mL 2 times a day directly onto the scalp in the hair loss area. Do not use more. Spread the liquid evenly over the hair loss area. If you use your fingers, wash hands with soap and water immediately. Each bottle should last about one month, if used as directed. Use a mild shampoo if you wash your scalp before applying ROGAINE® Topical Solution.

Using the Dropper Applicator:

  • Squeeze the rubber bulb and insert the dropper into the bottle. Release the bulb, allowing the dropper to fill to the 1mL line. If the level of the solution is above the 1mL line, squeeze the extra amount back into the bottle.

  • Next, place the tip of the dropper near the part of the scalp you want to treat and gently squeeze the bulb to gradually release the solution. To prevent the solution from running off the scalp, apply a small amount at a time.

  • After each use attach the dropper to the bottle to make it child-resistant by turning it clockwise until tightly closed.

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    35. How soon can I expect results?

    Since normal hair usually grows only 1/2 to 1 inch per month, hair regrowth with Women’s ROGAINE® products also takes time. At first, hair regrowth shows up usually as soft, downy, colorless hair. After further use, new hair should develop having the same color and thickness as other hairs on your scalp. It takes time to regrow hair. Results with once-daily use of Women’s ROGAINE® Foam may be seen as early as 3 months, and for some women, it may take at least 6 months for results to be seen. You may need to use Women’s ROGAINE® Solution 2 times a day for at least 4 months before you see results. If you do not see any results after 6 months of once-daily use of the foam or 4 months of twice daily use of the solution, stop using Women’s ROGAINE® products and seek the advice of your doctor. Your results and success may depend on proper application and dosage; remember to apply Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Foam once-a-day or Women’s ROGAINE® 2% Minoxidil Solution twice-a-day, every day, directly to the scalp. The images below demonstrate effects of continued use of Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Foam for 6 months in a clinical study. Clinical studies show that with once daily use of Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Foam for 24 weeks, 81% of women regrew hair*. *Results based on a 6 month clinical study of once daily use of Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol vs. Placebo. Use as directed.

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    36. Is there a way to know that Women’s ROGAINE® products are working?

    There are a few signs that let you know ROGAINE® products are at work to reactivate your hair follicles. For example, during the first few weeks of use, there may be a temporary increase in hair shedding for up to 2 weeks. This increase in hair shedding is expected and is temporary, and it is a sign that the new growth cycle is beginning and the older hairs you would have lost are making way for the new healthy ones. If this hair loss continues after 2 weeks on ROGAINE® products, talk to your doctor. As ROGAINE® continues to reactivate inactive follicles and stimulate re-growth, the increased shedding should gradually subside and you should see less hair in your brush, on your pillow, and in your drain. Remember, not everyone responds to ROGAINE® products and individual results may vary.

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    37. I just started using Women’s ROGAINE® products and I’ve noticed that my hair loss has increased. Is this typical?

    ROGAINE® products stimulate hair follicles to shift from the resting phase to the growth phase. As part of this process, it is not uncommon to see a temporary increase in shedding during the first 2 weeks using ROGAINE® products. This occurs in some people when the hair follicles shift into the growth phase and older hairs are shed to make way for new actively growing hairs. It is a bit like losing baby teeth to make room for adult teeth. This increase in shedding is only temporary and should subside within a couple of weeks with continued treatment. Women should not panic if a temporary increase in hair shedding is noticed. Please note, however, if increased shedding continues for longer than two weeks, you should consult your doctor to rule out other possible medical problems.

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    38. How common is hereditary hair loss in women?

    Thinning hair from hereditary hair loss is completely common and something that women can experience as early as their 20’s becoming more visible through their 40’s. While prevalence varies, hereditary hair loss occurs in over 1 out of 4 women and becomes more common with age.

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    39. Is all hair loss the same?

    Although most cases of hair loss are attributed to hereditary hair loss, there are several other possible causes:

    • Hereditary hair loss is known as androgenic alopecia and is a genetic condition that shortens the time that hair spends actively growing and causes hair follicles to gradually shrink. Women with hereditary hair loss experience a general thinning of the hair, with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head and along the part. The number of women with this type of hair loss increases with age, but it can start as early as her 20’s. Women’s Rogaine® 5% Minoxidil Foam is only indicated to treat hereditary hair loss.

    • On the flipside, temporary hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, happens when stress, diet, a hormonal imbalance or a traumatic event causes the hair follicles to remain in the resting state, causing increased hair shedding and a temporary thinning of hair across the whole scalp. While the amount of time someone stays in telogen effluvium varies, once the imbalance has been corrected hair will return to its previous thickness.

    • A third kind of hair loss is called alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that is recognized by well-defined patches of hair loss, which may happen rapidly and could lead to complete hair loss. If you have no history of hair loss in your family and are experiencing this kind of hair loss, consult your doctor.

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    40. Is hereditary hair loss the same in women and men?

    Women experience a general thinning of the hair, with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head and along the part. Often the hair loss experienced by women resembles an evergreen pattern.

    In men, hair loss is characterized by a receding hairline and a gradual disappearance of hair from the crown (vertex).

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    41. What is considered normal hair loss?

    Most people normally lose between 50-100 hairs a day, which is replaced with new hair. A consistent loss of 150 hairs a day may indicate significant hair loss

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    42. Can stress cause hair loss?

    Everyday stress does not cause hair loss. However, extreme stress (i.e. from a physical trauma) can cause a temporary hair loss, called Telogen Effluvium. Telogen Effluvium is limited and temporary hair loss that will grow back on its own. Other factors such as hormones from pregnancy or a thyroid condition, crash dieting, and certain medications also may cause Telogen Effluvium. See your doctor if there is no family history of gradual hair loss, or hair loss is sudden and/or patchy, or if you feel that your diet may be causing your hair loss.

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    43. Does exposure to the sun make hair thinning worse?

    No, the sun will not make hair thinning worse, but it is a good idea to protect your scalp from the sun with a hat or sunscreen.

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    44. How long should I continue to use Women’s ROGAINE® products?

    Hereditary hair loss is a lifelong condition so continued use of ROGAINE® products is necessary to increase and keep your hair regrowth, or hair loss will begin again. There is no duration restriction for use of ROGAINE® products.

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    45. What happens if I see new hair growth and stop using Women’s Rogaine® products?

    Continued use of Rogaine® product is needed to maintain hair regrowth. If you stop using it, the normal hair loss process will start again. You will probably lose your newly regrown hair within 3 to 4 months and will look the way you looked before using Rogaine® products. So, you’ll want to make Rogaine® products part of your daily routine.

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    46. I missed a dose of Women’s Rogaine® product. Will my hair loss start again?

    If you miss 1 or 2 doses of Women’s Rogaine® product, just continue with your next regular dose. We do not recommend that you try to make up for missed doses. One or 2 days of not using Women’s Rogaine® product will not affect your long-term hair regrowth as long as you resume regular use.

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    47. Will using Women’s Rogaine® product more than directed speed hair regrowth?

    Using more product than directed or using the product more often will not improve results.

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    48. Why does Women’s Rogaine® 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol need to be dispensed onto a non-porous surface before applying to the scalp?

    Women’s Rogaine® 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol is a foam that breaks down with body heat. By dispending the product onto a non-porous surface it will give you the time needed to apply the product properly to the scalp without compromising the integrity of the formula. The surface should be non-porous so the foam is not absorbed by the surface.

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    49. Can I still use my regular styling aids, like hair spray or gel, when I’m using Women’s Rogaine® products?

    Unlike cosmetic thickeners which just coat hair and temporarily mask the issue, Women’s Rogaine® Foam helps by regrowing thicker, fuller hair. You can follow your normal hair care routine when using Rogaine® products. Just be sure to apply your Rogaine® product first and wait for it to dry before applying your styling products.

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    50. Can I apply Women’s Rogaine® products to wet hair?

    It is recommended that you at least towel dry your hair before applying Women’s Rogaine® products so that your hair is no longer dripping and the skin on your scalp is dry.

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    51. Can I blow-dry my hair after applying Women’s Rogaine® products?

    Yes. It’s fine to blow-dry your hair, however, we recommend using your dryer at a lower setting. Be careful not to over blow-dry.

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    52. Can I get my hair wet after applying Women’s Rogaine® products?

    Not for at least 4 hours. For Women’s Rogaine® products to work best, you should allow the product to remain on the scalp for four hours prior to washing or wetting your hair.

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    53. Are Women’s Rogaine® products safe to use with permed or color-treated hair?

    Yes. Women’s Rogaine® products can be used on both permed and color-treated hair. We have no evidence that coloring, perming, or using relaxers on your hair change the effect of Women’s Rogaine® products. However, because the use of permanent wave and hair color can cause scalp irritation on certain people, we recommend the following precautions:

    • To avoid possible scalp irritation, you should make sure all of the Women’s Rogaine® product has been washed off the hair and scalp before using color or perm chemicals.

    • For best results, do not apply Women’s Rogaine® product on the same day that you use a chemical treatment on your hair.

    • Do not use Women’s Rogaine® product for 24 hours after using any chemicals to make sure your scalp has not been irritated by the perm or color treatment. If no irritation occurs, continue use of Women’s Rogaine® product as usual.

    • Simply restart your normal Women’s Rogaine® product routine. There is no need to use more Women’s Rogaine® product to make up for missed applications.

    • Missing one day of Women’s Rogaine® products will not affect your hair regrowth results.

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    54. Does coloring or highlighting hair contribute to further thinning?

    Coloring or highlighting hair does not contribute to hereditary hair loss, which is the cause of hair loss in over 90% of cases. You should consult with your doctor is if you are concerned that hair coloring chemicals may have caused or contributed to your hair loss.

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    55. Are there special shampoos or conditioners that I should use if my hair is thinning?

    You can follow your normal hair care routine when using Women’s Rogaine® products. You should use a shampoo that cleanses your scalp well and a conditioner that is light and won’t weigh down hair. However, if your scalp is dry and flaky, we recommend the use of a mild, gentle shampoo.

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    © Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017.

    Ask an Expert

    Hair loss in 49 yr. old woman

    Dear Dr. Panagotacos – First thank you for your book – it is very clear and informative. I’m trying to find the solution for my hair loss.

    I am 49 years old. I have had hair loss since at least January 2010. In retrospect it has probably been falling out for longer, only not as profusely. I was not especially concerned since it seemed to be growing back. My hair is very long so it was not readily apparent that although it is growing back in the front along the hairline, it has not been growing back around the top and upper part of my head. In the past 6 months to 1 year my hair has noticeably thinned; I have lost at least 1/3 of my hair. I notice that in addition to losing long hairs, shorter ones are now falling out as well. It also appears to be finer than it once was.

    I am on hormone replacement due to severe menopause symptoms. I have taken Evamist (Estradiol 1.53 mg# since approx June 2010 and Progesterone #Prometrium 100 mg) since November 2011.

    A dermatologist did a hair pull test and said it was telogen effluvium. He did some blood work and found my iron elevated and testosterone very low,

    I have normal thyroid function tests and no autoimmune disease or diabetes. The only other medication I take is Valtrex for cold sores, a multi-vitamin w/o iron, and vitamin D w/ Calcium.

    A trichologist said that I had excess sebum. He recommended laser light treatment.

    No one has done a biopsy or looked at my other hormone levels. My mother has a full head of hair but my father has some balding.

    Even though my testosterone is low, could this be caused by DHT?

    Is there some other likely cause, such as low testosterone, or estrogen or progesterone imbalance or the hormone replacement drugs? If so, are there blood tests that I should request for a proper diagnosis such as estrogen and progesterone levels, zinc, etc?

    Thank you, in advance, for your assistance.

    If you have inherited balding genes from you father, which I am almost certain is the case, you should expect to see the thinning that happens with that conditions – AGA-androgenetic alopecia- with NORMAL levels of hormones. The thinning you are describing is consistent with female pattern balding due to normal levels of hormones but with someone with balding genes. If you had high testosterone levels you could develop a shiny bald spot on top and a receding hair line in front. A biopsy is not needed to make the diagnosis in a case like this because there is no confusion as to the cause of the loss. If you did experience a Telogen Effluvium from a fluctuating hormone level and your dermatologist was able to prove it by the pull test you would expect much of those lost hairs to grow back, but TE’s frequently make AGA show up much sooner than they normally would. In you hormone replacement I’d ask your doctor to try to minimize the progestins, maybe consider Diane, or here in the US we would use Yaz. The progestin in Yaz is Drospirenone and it has no androgen effect -meaning it will not accelerate your AGA and may help prevent it, Your low iron is preventing the hairs from growing back properly so try to get that level back up. Even with a low testosterone ANY level of DHT will tell your hairs to age and promote AGA.

    Most very bald men and women with very thin hair have normal levels o DHT hormones–telling their bald genes to tell the hairs to die. The point of good therapy it to block production of the DHT to as little as possible- ZERO if possible. And to use a medication called spironolactone to block the androgen receptor site,

    Women’s ROGAINE® 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam

    Regrow thicker, beautiful hair with Women’s ROGAINE® Hair Regrowth Treatment, Once-a-Day Foam. Containing 5% minoxidil, this foam reactivates hair follicles to regrow hair. The only once-daily hair regrowth treatment for women approved by the FDA, this formula is proven to help regrow hair in 81%* of women, with clinical results in as little as 12 weeks and visible results with continuous daily use after 24 weeks. From the #1 dermatologist recommended brand, the once-a-day applied foam can fit into your regular beauty routine. This package of Women’s ROGAINE® Foam includes one 60-gram can, a 2-month supply.

    • Once-a-day hair regrowth treatment
    • Helps regrow hair in 81% of women*
    • For women with general thinning of hair
    • 5% minoxidil topical aerosol reactivates hair follicles
    • Clinically proven and FDA-approved
    • #1 dermatologist-recommended brand
    • Apply once daily
    • Available in 2-month supply, 4-month supply, subscription delivery service

    * in a 6-month placebo controlled clinical study.
    ** based on mean hair strand diameter.


    • Apply half a capful once daily directly to the scalp in the hair loss area
    • Massage into scalp with fingers, then wash hands well
    • Using more or more often will not improve results
    • Continued use is necessary to increase and keep your hair regrowth or hair loss will begin again

    Active ingredient: Minoxidil 5% w/w (without propellant).
    Inactive ingredients: butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol

    To regrow hair on top of the scalp.

    For external use only.
    Extremely Flammable: Avoid fire, flame or smoking during and immediately following application.
    May be harmful if used when pregnant or breast-feeding. Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

    Do not use if

    • your degree of hair loss is greater than shown on the side of the carton because this product may not work for you
    • you have no family history of hair loss
    • your hair loss is sudden and/or patchy
    • your hair loss is associated with childbirth
    • you do not know the reason for your hair loss
    • you are under 18 years of age. Do not use on babies or children.
    • your scalp is red, inflamed, infected, irritated, or painful
    • you use other medicines on the scalp

    Ask a doctor before use if you have heart disease

    When using this product

    • do not use more than directed
    • do not apply on other parts of the body
    • avoid contact with the eyes. In case of accidental contact, rinse eyes with large amounts of cool tap water.
    • some people have experienced changes in hair color and/or texture.
    • it takes time to regrow hair. Results may occur at 3 months with once daily use. For some women, you may need to use this product once a day for at least six months before you see results.
    • the amount of hair regrowth is different for each person. This product will not work for all women.

    Stop use and ask a doctor if:

    • chest pain, rapid heartbeat, faintness, or dizziness occurs
    • sudden, unexplained weight gain occurs
    • your hands or feet swell
    • scalp irritation or redness occurs
    • unwanted facial hair growth occurs
    • you do not see hair regrowth in 6 months


    • Call toll-free 800-ROGAINE or 215-273-8755 (collect)
    • Visit www.rogaine.com

    Use as directed. Not everyone responds to ROGAINE® products. Individual results may vary

    Rogaine, or also often called minoxidil (the generic name), is one of common treatment options for hair loss. It is a topical treatment, which means it is not taken orally. To use it, you usually just apply it topically on the area where hair growth is expected. It has been approved by FDA. But does it also work for black women?

    Understanding minoxidil in general

    Minoxidil is available in two options; 5% minoxidil foam and 2% minoxidil topical solution. Both are used to help treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth, especially for female and male pattern baldness (medically called androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary pattern hair loss).

    Minoxidil is categorized into group of medicine called vasodilators or medications that dilate (open) the blood vessels. Unfortunately, the way of how it works in treating hair loss is not fully understood yet.

    Before minoxidil is now used for hair loss treatment, it has a different history. It was used for treating hypertension (high blood pressure). But many people who took it for hypertension had a unique side effect, increased new hair growth on their scalp.

    At first, many of these patients were happily surprised with their new hair growth, especially those with balding or thinning hair. But it also caused hair growth in other areas where hair growth was not expected such as chest, arms, legs, and even backs.

    But researchers successfully changed a problem for another solution. They quickly jumped on this hair growth side effect and made a topical treatment with minoxidil (such as in lotion) that could be applied on the scalp for hair growth without affected other areas of the body.

    However again, the answer of how minoxidil works for treating hair loss still remains puzzling!

    In many cases of male pattern baldness, DHT (an androgen (male hormone)) can significantly affect the growth of hair follicles. It can shrink hair follicles, and make them have a shorter growing phase. And experts blame DHT for the most responsible answer of male pattern baldness, though ‘not’ in all cases.

    But interestingly, the role of DHT in female pattern hair loss has not been confirmed. Even some experts believe that DHT has nothing to do with pattern hair loss in women.

    Several years ago, it was thought that minoxidil had an effect on controlling DHT. But today, it’s clear that this treatment doesn’t target DHT.

    As mentioned before, it is a kind of vasodilator – it can help in large blood vessels. But so far, there is no adequate evidence to confirm the link between vasodilator and hair growth stimulation.

    Does it work for other types of hair loss? Again, it is commonly used for hereditary pattern hair loss both in men and women. But it’s not too recommended for receding hairline, an early sign of male pattern baldness.

    It is also not recommended for patchy /sudden hair loss, hair loss after pregnancy, or hair loss without known reason. It should also not be used for too young adults (younger than 18).

    Does minoxidil for black women really work?

    Most women (including black women) with pattern hair loss are not able to take hair transplant that may provide permanent result. The key for successful hair transplantation is a stable donor site. And since most cases of female pattern hair loss cause thinning hair on the entire scalp, there is usually no adequate donor site for hair transplantation.

    If you have thinning hair, minoxidil can be one of your treatment options – especially true if the problem is female pattern hair loss. To make sure it works optimally, you need to use it as well as directed!

    The result can vary, but again so far it is the only one of medication approved by FDA to help treat thinning hair due to female pattern hair loss (including for black women).

    However, first you need to know the type of hair loss you are experiencing. Not all types of hair loss are treated in the same way. If you are an African-American woman, see also this section about the most common types of hair loss in black women!

    You can find the completely instructions and directions on the product package of minoxidil that you have purchased! Read these directions before starting to use it!

    It is available without prescription. But if there is any doubt about information that you concern, talk to your pharmacist or doctor!

    The improvement of hair growth can be noticed a few months after you continue using the treatment. You need to take it continuously in order to maintain your hair growth. If you stop it, your thinning hair is likely to come back.

    Hair loss after you stop taking minoxidil usually occurs within a few months later. But this also can vary from woman to woman.

    However, most women with thinning hair find that minoxidil is worth a try. It is more affordable (especially if compared with hair transplant cost), practical, and carries less side effects.

    The possible side effects include:

    Minoxidil for Hair Loss in Women

    7 Things Not to Do for Hair Loss

    Who May Need Minoxidil and How It Works

    Minoxidil applied topically to the scalp only works if your hair loss is a result of female pattern baldness and not some other condition, says Clarissa Yang, MD, a dermatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    Normally, hair grows about half of an inch each month. Each hair grows for up to six years, then it stops growing, rests for a while, and eventually falls out and is replaced by a new hair that grows for six years. If your hair is growing normally, about 85 percent of it is growing at any given time and 15 percent of it is resting.

    But if you have female pattern baldness, your hair follicles get smaller and smaller over time, Dr. Yang says. The smaller they are, the shorter the amount of time your hair grows. Eventually, when strands of hair fall out, they’re not replaced with normal new hair, but instead by thinner, finer strands of hair.

    Doctors think that, among other possible causes, aging, genetics, and a change in the level of male hormones, or androgens, after menopause may be part of what brings on female pattern baldness. (That’s why female pattern baldness is also called androgenetic alopecia).

    Minoxidil is the only drug which is FDA-approved to treat female pattern baldness. It works by prolonging the growth phase of the hair follicles, Yang says. It’s recommended that women use minoxidil 2%, while men can use the 5% formula.

    Minoxidil: Pros

    In most women, minoxidil slows down or stops hair loss. And in up to a quarter of the women who take it, minoxidil can actually encourage new hair to grow. It works best when you use it as soon as you notice that you’re losing hair, Yang says.

    It’s available over the counter, so you don’t need a prescription from a doctor to get it. However, Yang encourages everyone to see a primary care doctor or a dermatologist before beginning treatment, because there could be a medical problem that’s causing the hair loss, such as thyroid dysfunction or nutritional abnormalities.

    Try the Hair Loss Prevention Diet

    Minoxidil: Cons

    There also are some disadvantages to taking minoxidil as a hair loss treatment. These include:

    • It’s expensive. Buying Rogaine for women can cost about $30 for two ounces, but a generic form of minoxidil 2% costs almost half the price. It’s also something you have to continue using indefinitely because the results go away if you stop the medication, Yang says.
    • It can be inconvenient. You have to apply it to the scalp two times a day.
    • It can cause unwanted hair growth. Some women may experience facial hair growth when they use minoxidil. That can happen if the medication trickles down onto your face or simply as a side effect when you apply it only to your scalp. The risk is lower for women who use the 2 percent concentration of the drug, as opposed to the 5 percent concentration that’s designed for men.
    • It can cause more hair loss at first. You may notice an increase in hair loss during the first two to four weeks of using minoxidil, Yang says. That happens because some of the old hairs are being pushed out by new ones, she says.
    • It can take months to see results. You have to use it for at least four months — and possibly a year — before you see results. Even then, only about one in five women will have moderate hair regrowth, with a larger percentage noticing only that their hair loss seems to slow down or stop.
    • It can irritate your skin. You may experience some irritation, flaking, and redness.

    It’s not easy knowing you may never have the same long locks or hairstyles you had when you were younger, but minoxidil is a relatively easy, safe way to fight the loss of your hair.

    Does Minoxidil Work For a Receding Hairline?

    Like finasteride, minoxidil is scientifically proven to improve hair growth and potentially help men with male pattern baldness regrow “lost” hair.
    However, there’s some debate online about whether or not minoxidil works on the hairs around the hairline. In the tests used to secure FDA approval, minoxidil was primarily tested on the top of the scalp and crown, resulting in a common belief that it only works on these areas.

    Despite this, there’s lots of evidence that minoxidil is effective at promoting hair growth on the entire scalp, including the hairline.

    In this guide, we’ll look at the science behind minoxidil to give you a deeper understanding of how it works, why it’s effective and why it’s worth considering (along with finasteride) if you’ve noticed your hairline starting to thin and recede.

    Minoxidil and Hair Growth: The Science

    Minoxidil is a vasodilator, meaning it’s designed to dilate blood vessels and improve the flow of blood to certain areas of your body.

    When applied topically in the form of a serum or foam, minoxidil increases blood flow to the parts of your scalp where hair grows. By increasing blood flow, more oxygen and nutrients are able to be transported into each hair follicle, promoting growth and hair health.

    Unlike finasteride, which works by reducing the levels of DHT in your bloodstream, minoxidil has no known effect on your hormones. It’s best to think of minoxidil as a local solution that can help improve your hair growth, while finasteride is designed to shield your follicles from DHT.

    One of the most common misconceptions about minoxidil is that it’s only effective on the scalp and crown. In short, many people are convinced that minoxidil isn’t effective for preventing hair loss around the hairline. This stems from a misunderstanding of studies on minoxidil.

    In its early days, before it became a mainstream hair loss treatment, minoxidil was developed as a treatment for hypertension.

    Noticing that minoxidil produced hair growth as a noticeable side effect, researchers at Upjohn (the company originally developing the medication) repurposed it as a topical hair loss treatment for men suffering from androgenic alopecia.

    For new medications to go onto the market, they need to pass through a rigorous test process to show that they’re not only safe, but also effective.

    Upjohn launched large-scale clinical tests of minoxidil throughout the US in the late 1970s, with testing continuing throughout the 80s and 90s. The efficacy side of this testing mostly focused on minoxidil’s effects on hair growth around the scalp and crown.

    For example, one study from 1986 focused on the effects of minoxidil on the balding crown. In the study, 53% of participants experienced significant hair growth. In short, Upjohn realized that minoxidil worked very effectively, but focused most of its testing on the crown and scalp.

    Most other studies of minoxidil have assessed hair growth on the scalp. For example, another study from 2002 tested 5% minoxidil against 2% minoxidil, again by counting hairs around the scalp rather than near the hairline.

    For the most part, the claim that minoxidil only works on the scalp and crown of the head comes from this research. It’s not that minoxidil isn’t effective around the hairline (logically, it is) but that there so far hasn’t been extensive research conducted on minoxidil and hairline restoration.

    Minoxidil works by improving blood flow to the area in which it’s applied. Apply it to your scalp and it can potentially improve the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles, improving hair density and increasing the rate of growth.

    As such, there’s no reason minoxidil shouldn’t work for a receding hairline. The hair follicles in your hairline aren’t significantly different from the others on your scalp or crown, meaning that you should still experience the benefits of minoxidil when you apply it to your hairline.

    There are also countless anecdotal cases of people with receding hairlines improving growth and increasing thickness by using minoxidil.

    However, right now there isn’t any detailed scientific research on the effects of minoxidil on the hairline. As such, it’s best to view minoxidil as something with potential benefits, instead of as a guaranteed way to regrow your hairline.

    It’s also worth considering minoxidil in combination with a DHT blocker like finasteride. Studies show that minoxidil and finasteride can have a synergistic effect in preventing hair loss, making the two medications a popular combo for protecting your hairline and scalp from baldness.

    Finasteride vs. Minoxidil: What’s Right for Me?

    Losing hair? You’re not alone: two out of three guys will experience some form of male pattern baldness by the time they’re 35. That’s where finasteride and minoxidil come in, but what are they?

    Finasteride and minoxidil are the two most prominent—and clinically proven—treatments for men’s hair loss. Although they both work to achieve the same goal (slowing down hair loss and promoting regrowth), they work in totally different ways. Let’s break minoxidil vs finasteride down:

    What’s the difference between finasteride and minoxidil?

    Finasteride is a DHT blocker. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) plays a starring role in male pattern baldness; it’s a hormone that binds to men’s hair follicles and damages them, ultimately rendering them unable to grow new hair. Finasteride prevents hair loss by stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT.

    Minoxidil is a vasodilator. When applied to your scalp, it widens the blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood to hair follicles. This increased blood flow, in turn, delivers more oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles, possibly promoting hair growth.

    How do finasteride and minoxidil help treat hair loss?

    Finasteride helps stop hair loss and grows new hair by blocking DHT.

    Minoxidil doesn’t stop hair loss, but it does help grow new hair thicker and faster than before.

    Finasteride and minoxidil (the only two FDA-approved products to treat men’s hair loss) have been proven successful at treating hair loss in men, according to multiple studies.

    A five-year study on the efficacy of finasteride in men with androgenetic alopecia showed improvement in 9o% of participants. A 120-week study of male subjects with androgenetic alopecia showed that minoxidil was statistically significantly superior to the placebo in increasing hair count.

    What forms do finasteride and minoxidil come in?

    Finasteride is a pill, which you take orally once a day.

    Minoxidil is a topical treatment applied to your scalp twice a day. It is available as a liquid solution, which you apply with a dropper, and as a foam, which you apply with your hands. Both forms are equally effective.

    Can you take minoxidil and finasteride together?

    Yes! Finasteride and minoxidil work through different mechanisms, so there is no risk in using both products at the same time. In fact, taking them in tandem may even be the most effective means of tackling hair loss: A 2015 randomized and comparative study of the combined treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil found that “the combined medication showed the best efficacy.”

    So, which should you use?

    Finasteride and minoxidil are different medications, and each serves a different purpose. Because finasteride stops hair loss at its source by blocking DHT production, many doctors will recommend it as the first step to combat male pattern baldness.

    Ultimately, combatting hair loss is a commitment—in order for the treatments to work, you need to use finasteride and minoxidil daily. Increase your chances of success by picking the right solution for your needs and lifestyle.

    Need help figuring out which treatment is right for you?

    You can make your life easier by filling out a quick questionnaire for one of Keeps’ expert doctors to review. Once that’s submitted, the doctor will follow up with a recommended treatment plan and next steps.

    The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

    Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat male pattern baldness in men only. It is not for use by women. When used by men, finasteride is generally safe but it can also cause serious side effects, including but not limited to allergic reactions, sexual dysfunction, and high-grade prostate cancer. Most patients find that problems with sexual function resolve when they stop taking the medicine. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information.

    Baldness: How close are we to a cure?

    Baldness is an accepted part of the aging process for some, and a source of distress for others. Hair loss affects millions of men and women, yet despite decades of research, a cure is still not available. Just how close are we to finding a magic bullet for baldness? Medical News Today take a look at the evidence.

    Share on PinterestStudies examining hair loss are based on decades of research. Could a cure for baldness be just around the corner?

    Androgenetic alopecia – which is more commonly known as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness – is the most common type of hair loss, affecting around 30 million women and 50 million men across the United States.

    In men, hair loss begins above both temples and recedes over time to form an “M” shape. Hair also tends to thin at the crown and may progress to partial or complete baldness. In women, the hairline does not recede and rarely results in total baldness, but the hair does usually become thinner all over the head.

    Male pattern baldness is hereditary and may be linked to male sex hormones. Male hair loss can start as early as during adolescence. It affects two thirds of men by age 35, and around 85 percent of men by the age of 50.

    The causes of female pattern baldness are unclear. However, hair loss happens most frequently in women after menopause, which indicates that the condition may be associated with decreasing female hormones.

    With androgenetic alopecia affecting so many people, a permanent cure would not only lessen anxiety for a significant percentage of the population, but it would also prove financially advantageous to the pharmaceutical company responsible for the discovery.

    Stages of hair growth, miniaturization

    Hair is made up of the hair follicle (a pocket in the skin that anchors each hair) and the shaft (the visible fiber above the scalp). In the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, cells divide and grow to produce the hair shaft, which is made from a protein called keratin. Papilla that surround the bulb contain tiny blood vessels that nourish the hair follicles and deliver hormones to regulate the growth and structure of the hair.

    Share on PinterestHair growth occurs in cycles. A hair follicle produces hair for a few years and then goes into rest mode for several years.

    Hair follicles, much like all cells, have cycles. A natural part of the cycle involves shedding around 50 to 100 hairs per day.

    Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years and then takes a break for several months. While the hair follicle is in its rest phase, the hair falls out. There are around 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time and others produce hairs, hair loss is usually unnoticeable. More noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption to the growth and shedding cycle, or if the hair follicle is obliterated and replaced with scar tissue.

    Scientists now understand that pattern baldness occurs through a phenomenon known as miniaturization. Some hair follicles appear to be genetically oversensitive to the actions of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that is converted from testosterone with the help of an enzyme held in the follicle’s oil glands.

    DHT binds to receptors in the hair follicles and shrinks them, making them progressively smaller. Over time, the follicles produce thinner hairs, and they grow for a shorter time than normal. Eventually, the follicle no longer produces hair, leaving the area bald.

    Existing hair loss treatments

    Currently, there are few available treatment options to halt or reverse miniaturization. Most hair loss treatments only manage hair loss, rather than being a permanent solution.

    Share on PinterestHair transplants are one of the most permanent fixes for hair loss. However, as with all current treatments, it has its limitations.

    The only two drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss are minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia).


    Minoxidil’s use for pattern baldness was discovered by accident. Minoxidil was widely used to treat high blood pressure, but researchers found that one of drug’s side effects was hair growth in unexpected areas.

    Minoxidil lotion is applied to the scalp and may work by increasing blood flow, and therefore nourishment, to the hair follicles. The American Hair Loss Association say that most experts agree that Minoxidil is “a relatively marginally effective drug in the fight against hair loss.”

    The treatment has zero effect on the hormonal process of hair loss, and its benefits are temporary. Hair loss continues if usage is discontinued.


    Finasteride’s side effects of hair growth were stumbled upon during the development of a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands.

    Finasteride inhibits type II 5-alpha-reductase, which is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into the more potent androgen DHT. DHT levels are reported to be reduced by 60 percent when the drug is taken, which prevents the susceptible follicles from being affected by the hormone and returning their normal size.

    This treatment does not work in women, and its effect only remains for as long as it is taken.


    Dutasteride (Avodart) is used to treat prostatic enlargement. While the FDA has not approved the drug to treat hair loss, physicians sometimes prescribe dutasteride off-label for male pattern baldness.

    Dutasteride works similarly to finasteride, but it may be more effective. Like finasteride, dutasteride inhibits the activity of type II 5-alpha reductase. However, dutasteride additionally inhibits type I of the enzyme. Blocking both types of the enzyme lowers DHT even more and reduces the risk of damage to hair follicles.

    This drug faces the same limitations as finasteride, meaning that it only works if taken daily and might become less effective over time.

    These therapies may slow down or prevent further hair loss, and they could stimulate regrowth from follicles that have been dormant but still viable. However, they can do little for follicles that have already become inactive. Using them at an earlier stage of hair loss will see more favorable results.

    Hair transplantation involves harvesting follicles from the back of the head that are DHT resistant and transplanting them to bald areas. A surgeon will remove minuscule plugs of skin that contain a few hairs and implant the plugs where the follicles are inactive. Around 15 percent of hairs emerge from the follicle as a single hair, and 15 percent grow in groups of four or five hairs.

    At the end of the procedure, the person will still have the same amount of hair – it will just be distributed more evenly around the scalp. Treating hair loss through surgical procedure can be painful and expensive. There is also a risk of scarring and infection.

    Low-level laser therapy

    Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of light and heat treatment. LLLT has been shown to stimulate hair growth in both men and women. Researchers hypothesize that the main mechanisms involved in the process is the stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the follicle and shifting the follicle back into the growth phase of the cycle.

    New hair loss research, pipeline treatments

    Existing medicines for treating hair loss have limited effectiveness and require ongoing use for the benefits of the treatment to continue.

    Share on PinterestResearchers have discovered the mechanisms that give rise to gray hair and baldness.

    Researchers continue to strive for the holy grail of hair loss cures by trying to gain a better understanding of how the hair growth cycle is controlled. Rather than treating the symptoms of hair loss, scientists aim to target the cause, which, in turn, may yield fewer side effects. Recently, there have been numerous discoveries in the hair loss arena that may lead to new promising treatments.

    KROX20 protein, SCF gene

    Researchers from University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have identified a protein called KROX20, which switches on cells in the skin and tells them to become hair. Furthermore, these hair precursor cells then go on to produce a protein called stem cell factor (SCF), which plays a critical role in hair pigmentation.

    When the SCF gene was deleted in the hair precursor cells in mice, they grew gray hair that turned white with age. Moreover, when the KROX20-producing cells were removed, the hair ceased growing, and the mice became bald.

    “With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems,” said Dr. Lu Le, associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern.

    Future work by the team will focus on finding out whether KROX20 and the SCF gene stop functioning properly and lead to male pattern baldness.

    Genetics underlying male pattern baldness

    A study led by the University Edinburgh in the United Kingdom discovered 287 genetic regions involved in male pattern baldness. Many of the genes that the researchers identified were linked with hair structure and development.

    “We identified hundreds of new genetic signals,” said Saskia Hagenaars, a Ph.D. student from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology. “It was interesting to find that many of the genetics signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers.”

    Not only could the team’s findings help to predict a man’s likelihood of experiencing severe hair loss, but they could also provide new targets for drug developments to treat baldness.

    Faulty immune cells

    University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) researchers reported that defects in a type of immune cell called Tregs – which are usually associated with controlling inflammation – might be responsible for a different kind of hair loss: alopecia areata. They say that Tregs may also play a role in male pattern baldness.

    In a mouse model, Michael Rosenblum, Ph.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF, and colleagues found that Tregs trigger stem cells in the skin, which promote healthy hair. Without partnering up with Tregs, the stem cells are unable to regenerate hair follicles, and this leads to hair loss.

    “It’s as if the skin stem cells and Tregs have co-evolved, so that the Tregs not only guard the stem cells against inflammation but also take part in their regenerative work,” explained Prof. Rosenblum. “Now the stem cells rely on the Tregs completely to know when it’s time to start regenerating.”

    JAK inhibitors

    Hair growth can be restored by inhibiting the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes that are located in hair follicles, according to investigators from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in New York City, NY.

    Tests with mouse and human hair follicles showed that applying JAK inhibitors directly to the skin promoted “rapid and robust hair growth.” Two JAK inhibitors that are approved by the FDA include ruxolitinib (for the treatment of blood diseases), and tofacitini (for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis).

    In a small clinical trial, Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D. – the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and professor of genetics and development at CUMC – reported that treating moderate to severe alopecia areata with ruxolitinib triggered an average hair regrowth of 92 percent.

    Prof. Christiano and team plan to expand their studies to include testing JAK inhibitors in other conditions and pattern baldness. “We expect JAK inhibitors to have widespread utility across many forms of hair loss based on their mechanism of action in both the hair follicle and immune cells,” she added.

    Stem cells

    Researchers from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego, CA, developed a technique to generate new hair using pluripotent stem cells. This method would provide an unlimited source of cells without being limited to transplanting follicles from one part of the head to another.

    Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham, and collaborators coaxed human pluripotent stem cells to become dermal papilla cells.

    “We developed a protocol to drive human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dermal papilla cells and confirmed their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice,” said Prof. Terskikh. The next step in their research is “to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects.”

    Although giant strides to cure baldness are being made in laboratories globally, research is ongoing and the wait for a permanent solution continues.

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