This question is really on behalf of my husband, but I really want to help him figure this out and I feel confident that you can help me! My husband is only 28, but for the past few years he’s noticed his hair thinning significantly (mostly at the back/crown of his head) and while he’s generally a pretty secure guy, he’s really not ready to have a bald spot and is feeling a bit insecure about it. I mean, at some point I’m sure he’ll just accept it (he already rocks the buzz cut pretty well), but not yet, you know? I remembered you mentioning in one of your columns that your husband started using Rogaine years ago and was able to ward off further thinning of his hair, and I am *hoping* you can give me some further insight on your experiences with the Rogaine?
I did some “Google research” on the topic, and it seems Rogaine use is not without potential side effects. One Amazon review I ran across was especially alarming, with the reviewer stating that the Rogaine made him lose lots more hair, not just on the balding spot but in a greater radius around it, and that when the hair started growing back in, it was whispy/feathery/just-overall-different than his regular hair, and actually made the area look worse. Yikes! More minor, but also annoying, side effects seem to be greasiness after using the product, and staining of clothes and pillowcases that come into contact with treated hair. But then others report great results with minimal or no side effects, and really recommend it. What’s a guy to do? What has been your guy’s experience with it? What are really the potential risks versus benefits of using the stuff? And finally, how does one decide which kind to use (regular or extra strength, foam or liquid, generic or brand name)?
Thanks so much for your time Amy! I *love* your columns and the comments from your readers, and have learned so much from both … keep up the great work.
HA! Okay. This is what my husband did, when he first noticed thinning hair: Walked into a store. Picked up a box of Rogaine. Bought it. Used it. No research, no agonizing. I honestly wonder if he even read the instructions. Point is, this is a man who will spend eight months researching a battery charger but when faced with a slightly more visible scalp he was all, “I saw a commercial for Rogaine once. I’ll buy that.”
Now, this was back before there were multiple formulations and options. And if Rogaine hadn’t done the trick, I’m guessing he would have spent a little more time researching anything that required more effort than an OTC product. But it did do the trick, and without any side effects. He absolutely did not lose any more hair, and the hair that grew back looked exactly like…the rest of his hair, in color and texture. He has sensitive skin but the medication has never irritated him. This is, of course, just one person’s experience. It has absolutely no bearing on whether Rogaine will work for your husband or whether he’ll experience side effects or whether we’ll all find out in 10 years that Rogaine has secretly been turning its users into cancerous werewolves.
Jason uses the extra-strength original formulation — the medicinal-smelling one you apply with a dropper, and has never tried the newer foam version. The foam is supposedly easier to use and has a “pleasant scent,” but he prefers to stick with what he knows will work. (Though he will occasionally buy the Target brand version, first because our Target had trouble keeping Rogaine in stock, and then because this crap gets EXPENSIVE. If you stop using it, you will start losing your hair again. The generic version seems to work just as well.)
He uses it in the morning and has never had any problems with greasiness afterwards — though he does use it AFTER he puts his shirt on to prevent any staining. (I imagine if you use it at night you would have some pillowcase staining, similar to what a lot of Proactiv users complain about.)
One last important note: it is very important for women to 1) not use the men’s formulation and 2) not come into contact with the product AT ALL during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, store the bottle away from any of your stuff, in a place where you don’t ever have to touch or move the bottle, just to be extra safe.