Minoxidil Review: Benefits and Side-Effects of Regaine

Guest post by Owen Beamsley

Having thin hair is incredibly frustrating, because you always find yourself limited as to what you can do with it. I have had thin hair since I was a young boy, and I didn't really think much of it until I hit my teens. Then I started to hate it!

Little did I know back then that things would become a whole lot worse for my hair, and there would be very little I could do about it.  As I crept into adulthood, I noticed my thin hair was fast turning into thinning hair. 

Yes, that's right, I was suffering from the initial stages of male pattern baldness, and I won't lie - it scared the hell out of me!  I mean, seriously, what does a guy who hasn't yet reached 20 cope with losing his hair?  It was an incredibly confusing time for me.

The prospect of losing your hair at such a young age really is a scary process. I felt completely frustrated by the fact there was nothing I could do to fix the problem.  I felt like I had lost control of something that was so important to me, and I was running out of options.

Using Regaine (Minoxidil) for baldness

So, after accepting the fact I was going bald, I quickly got into defence mode and started searching for solutions.  After doing some research online, I came across the medically approved treatment for baldness, Minoxidil, which was branded as Regaine (I think it's called Rogaine in the USA).

Minoxidil, is a topical foam (or liquid) that can help stimulate hair growth in men (5% solution) and women (2% solution) who suffering from early stages of baldness. Regaine can be purchased over the counter, and is widely available in most pharmacy stores, and even supermarkets. .

I was aware of the potential side-effects that are associated with Minoxidil, so I won't lie, yes, I was a little concerned about using this treatment. However, I was desperate, so I decided to give it a try and see if it could in any way be effective for growing some of my lost my hair.

Does Minoxidil work?

Side-effects aside, I was determined to give Minoxidil a fair trial, so, I purchased a six month supply and used it continuously, twice a day, one application in the morning, and one at night.  In that time I experienced the following results:

Positive results:
  • New hair growth around the crown region
  • Improved thickness of strands
  • Slightly less hair fall
Negative results:
  • Frequent headaches
  • Random phases of excess shedding
  • Weight gain
Things didn't get off to the best of starts with this solution - I noticed severe shedding for the first week of using it.  My hair was literally falling out in clunks, and I was terrified. Apparently this is a normal process during the early usage, and thankfully the shedding did eventually slow down.

It's hard to say how effective Minoxidil was for my hair, because we're talking about really fine margins here. There were a few hairs sprouting up here and there, particularly around the crown region, but nothing to get too excited about.

The thickness of my hair was enhanced somewhat, but again, the difference was very minimal. If I am totally honest, I would say Minoxidil has helped slow down the hair fall to a certain extent, but that's really about it.  I didn't expect miracles from Minoxidil, but overall, I was quite disappointed with the treatment.

What are the negative side-effects of Minoxidil? 

Unfortunately, I did experience some negative side-effects from using Minoxidil. Some of the side-effects were reoccurring, and they weren't very pleasant.

I seemed to be getting frequent headaches from the treatment, which wasn't ideal. The headaches weren't unbearable, but they were still there, niggling at me throughout certain parts of each day. It was definitely the Minoxidil causing this.  The headaches did ease off after the first few weeks though.

I mentioned the early shedding phase during the initial stages of using this treatment, and although that seemed to stop after the first week or two, I did notice random shedding phases after that period. Even up to the sixth month of using Minoxidil, I was getting the odd day where my hair would just shed like crazy.

The most worrying negative side-effect that can come with using Minoxidil is weight gain. It does warn you on the label that gaining weight is a strong possibility, and unfortunately in my case this happened! I am an athletic guy, I go to the gym three to four times a week, and my diet is always consistent week-by-week,so it was worrying to see myself putting on a little weight during the process.  It wasn't severe weight gain, but enough to notice.

What did I stop using Minoxidil?  

With the constant problems I was having with my headaches, shedding, and weight gain, I did start to question why I was still using this treatment.  A big part of me was still hoping that Minoxidil would work and regrow my hair, but the reality was quite clear: It was giving me an annoying list of negative side-effects, and it wasn't anywhere near effective enough for me to continue using it.

It got to the point where I had to establish if throwing more money at the treatment (about £30 a month) was going to benefit my hair in the long run. But if anything, Minoxidil was just a hindrance to me and on my life. So, I decided to stop using it, and try to find a different solution for my baldness.

What are the alternatives to Minoxidil? 

Finding a safe and natural alternative to something that is medically approved isn't an easy task. The most obvious thing to look for would be some sort of naturally made topical solution, like a shampoo. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any kind of shampoo or conditioner can help stimulate hair growth or reverse hair loss.

Naturally formulated topical serums are quite popular for men (and women) who are looking to block the effects of baldness and thinning hair. The problem is, there are quite a few out there, so be sure to do some research in order to establish which one would be most effective for you individually.

Minoxidil comes under many different brands and labels, so you might come across cheaper versions by Kirkland, Foligain, or Regenepure.  These are exactly the same as the Regaine solution, just with a different label and packaging, so if you can find it cheaper, then go for it.  The results will not differ from product to product -  Minoxidil is Minoxidil, after all.

Remember, like with any treatment or product of this nature, results will always vary from person to person, so something that works well for person X, might not necessarily work well for you. 

Summary of Minoxidil

My experience with Minoxidil may not seem like a disaster from your point of view, but it certainly felt like a big let down for me. After a bit of a scary start, and then a brief encouraging spell, I eventually found myself back to square one, but with even less hair than when I started the treatment.

The truth is, Minoxidil can help many men and women with baldness, and in some cases it works quite well, however, we should also remember that this is a chemically based solution that was originally formulated to treat high blood pressure, and so it will always come with the risk of negative side-effects.

If you are considering trying Minoxidil than be sure to do your research. Don't let your emotions get the better of you, because your health should always come first. Always seek safe alternatives - there are plenty of decent products out there - and granted, some won't work, but some are effective, and so it's just a case of finding the ones that work for you individually. 

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