Rogaine is actually the product name but is made up of a drug called minoxidil. It comes in the form of a lotion which is rubbed on the scalp and is odorless, as well as colorless. Although Rogaine was officially made available in 1988, the drug minoxidil was already approved by the FDA as a prescription in pill form. However, the drug itself was used to treat high blood pressure. These pills were sold under the name Loniten.
As stated above, the high blood pressure medication known as Loniten is made up of minoxidil. What started to happen is that patients with high blood pressure that were taking this prescription drug began to notice increased new hair growth on areas of their scalp that had been balding for a long period of time. However, this side effect also affected different parts of the body with unwanted hair growth.
Doctors labeled this condition of extra hair growth as hypertrichosis. At first, many patients who had balding or thinning hair were happily surprised by the new hair that started to grow as a result of this high blood pressure medication. However, once it started to affect their arms, chest, back, and legs with extra hair, it became a big problem.
But as they say, every problem presents another solution. Researchers
quickly jumped on this side effect and created the lotion form of minoxidil
that could be applied to the scalp directly without affecting other
parts of the body with unwanted hair growth. The goal was obviously
to create direct hair growth on the scalp only, which became a success
and born was the product called Rogaine.
Rogaine : Does This Hair Loss Product Really Work?
After it was accidentally discovered that minoxidil can induce hair growth, the product called Rogaine was born in 1988, which is essentially minoxidil in a lotion form that is applied directly to the scalp. At that time, Rogaine was only available by prescription and the active ingredient was at a low 2%.
Fast-forward to 1995: The food and drug administration deemed Rogaine to be safe enough to be sold without a prescription in most pharmacies as well as standard grocery stores. This spawned the creation of similar generic products that also contained the ingredient in minoxidil. The owners of such products eventually increased the active ingredient dosage from 2% to as high as 5%. and this was a smart move because the higher dosage actually created faster results so both the customer and the product owners were happy.
What causes Rogaine to work?
As stated above, Rogaine causes hair growth as a result of the drug minoxidil. Although we know that minoxidil works well, researchers are still unsure as to the exact reason why minoxidil can create strands of new hair to grow on areas of the scalp that have been bald for years.
One theory was that minoxidil had an impact on DHT levels better in the blood. If you are unfamiliar with DHT, it is simply a form of testosterone that affects sensitive hair follicles as a person ages. However, it became known that minoxidil had absolutely no effect on DHT levels.
The one characteristic that minoxidil has on the body is that it helps in large blood vessels, commonly referred to as a vasodilator. But, again researchers are baffled because it is not proven that hair growth is caused by any vasodilators.
What we do know is that the minoxidil reduces the speed at which hair follicles shrink and it also causes hair follicles that have shrunk to start growing full-size hair strands again. This drug also keeps hair that is currently in a growth stage to remain that way for an extended period of time. In other words, minoxidil can help keep hair follicles in the anagen phase of hair regeneration longer than it normally would have. And of course, if your hair remains in this growth phase of the regeneration process for a longer period of time, the results are thicker and longer hair.
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