Help I’m Losing My Hair, Rogaine Caused Shedding. What do I do?

by admin on September 19, 2007

Debra asked this question on the “calling all thickening shampoo” thread, but I decided to repost it here so that other women can have the opportunity to find it easier and perhaps comment as well.

She Wrote:

I love reading these comments. I started loosing my hair about 3 months ago. My family doctor recommended I go see a dermatology. Dermatology told me to use Rogaine for women. I had to stop after a few weeks as I noticed i was loosing more hair. Than I had the biopsy done. Now he is telling me to use Rogaine for men! holy cow. What to do? Need your help please?

Hi Debra-

Welcome to the site!

I am not a doctor so I can’t give medical advice, but I’ll give you the information I’ve found out over the course of the last 8 years losing my own hair.

Did you recently go on or off birth control pills or any other medication? I don’t think I a personally agree that the dermatologist you saw should have advised you to go on Rogaine after only 3 months of hair loss. 3 months is a very short amount of time and you could have just been experiencing shedding caused by any number of factors.

It is not uncommon at all to start shedding more hair after beginning any hair loss treatment such as Rogaine. The hair shedding should be temporary. After a 1-2 months if the treatment works, new hair should begin to grow, hair growth works in cycles. When Rogaine causes hair shedding it may induce the hair shaft to fall off, the follicle would then enter a dormant phase in the cycle (temporarily) while the matrix is restructured for future growth, hopefully with a thicker and stronger hair shaft. In the meantime through you may lose more hair, but after waiting for several months you may have thicker and stronger hair with any new hair growth, assuming the Rogaine works. I have heard this process referred to as the “dread shed.” By the way it is not exclusive to Rogaine, any hair loss treatment can “temporarily” cause shedding. The problem is Rogaine doesn’t work for all women and they still get the extra shedding from it. As was my case, on top of that I was left with an itchy oily scalp.

What did the biopsy reveal? Rogaine for women and Rogaine for men is the same thing, the main difference is the strength of the product. Rogaine for men is 5% minoxidil and is propylene glycol based and the Rogaine for women is 2% and is alchol based. If I’m not mistaken I think the proplyene glycol is suppose to provide a better vehicle for the minoxidil to penetrate the scalp, however it an also cause allergic reactions.

I think you should see another doctor and get a second opinion before jumping into anything. Women’s hair loss is not as cut and dry as it is for men. There are plethora of factors that cause women to lose their hair, and sometimes it is just temporary. I’d hate for you to start jumping in the treatment game without feeling 100% comfortable with what your doctor is prescribing. I have heard a lot of complaints from women who say that their doctor knew nothing, rushed them in and out of the office and shoved a bottle of Rogaine them.

I wish I could help more. I’m sorry you are going through this.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

julie September 20, 2007 at 1:09 pm

When you are suffering from hair loss, you might also want to see a nutritionalist, endocrinologist, allergist and a family doctor. Any tests that were done or whatever records you have should be with you at all times when visiting with these doctors.

Personally, I also feel that maintaining a positive attitude will shun Murphy’s Law! Things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance…anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Using Rogaine for a day may even cause excessive hair loss. I noticed my hair loss worsened once I stopped using Rogaine. Some dermatologists recommend using Rogaine with Spironolactone, birth control and other combinations to lessen the chances of risking more hair. I think you really need to know what you are lacking as far as nutrients to have a complete thorough assessment and knowledge of your hair loss. Once you’ve established that, I think it would be safe to proceed in researching different options for yourself.

beth October 5, 2007 at 11:28 pm

I keep reading conflicting reports of Spironolactone — some say it increases hair loss, others say it helps with hair loss. Are both true?? I’ve been dealing with hair loss for 10 years, and now acne (I’m 38). My dermatologist prescribed Spironolactone and after taking it for 2 weeks I’m freaked out that it will increase my hair loss.

admin October 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Hi Beth, the truth is every effective hair loss treatment can cause you to shed and depending on who you ask every hair loss treatment will have its proponents and opponents as well. It really depends on the person, for myself, I did experience increased shedding upon beginning Aldactone (brand name of spironolactone) but it did subside after a few months. The general consensus in the hair loss world is that if a treatment causes you to shed then it means it is working, but at the same time the absence of shedding in not an indication that it isn’t working. It is my understanding that it all depends at what point you are catching the hair cycle when you begin the medication. If your hair is on the uptake and a lot of the hair follicles are going into an anagen phase then there is a good chance that the medication will just help improve that process, however, if you are in a catagen or active telogen phase it could expedite that as well and increase shedding.

Gretchen October 6, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Hi Beth,
If you can, keep us posted on your progress with Spironolactone. I may have to start taking it in a couple of weeks, and if I do I’ll keep you posted, too.
Thanks! Gretchen

Barbara October 31, 2007 at 7:23 pm

You mentioned above that you thought the Women’s Rogaine did not contain Propylene Glycol, but it does. I had been using a generic formulation with great success for the past 3 years. Suddenly I developed a raging case of seborrheic dermatitis from it (probably an allergy to the propylene glycol but maybe to the monoxidil) My dermatologist didn’t even figure out that it was from the Rogaine…he told me I could keep using it. I had to stop using it and am still battling the dermatitis while losing a lot of hair. Supposedly, there is a formulation of minoxidil made without Propylene Glycol, but I don’t know how to obtain it.

Gretchen November 1, 2007 at 10:10 am

Hi Barbara,
I’m using Men’s Rogaine Foam for about 3 weeks. So far it’s going pretty good. I only use it once a day, because my lifestyle doesn’t support using it twice a day. I tried using the men’s liquid solution and after using it twice stopped because my scalp was red and itchy. After I stopped using it, my head itched for a whole week! I then called and complained to my derm who said he recommends the foam not the other solutions. So, taking this directly from the package, it says the active ingredients are minoxidil (of course) without propellant. And, here is the list of inactive ingredients in the foam:
butane, butylated, hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, fragrance, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol.
Hope this helps!! Good luck!
I am going to keep everyone updated on my experience with the foam. So far, I haven’t noticed much of a difference. I do feel like I’ve experienced some increased shedding (which is expected) and am hopeful that it will eventually slow the shedding down. Then, maybe adding Spiro to the mix will help the hair grow. I did start taking an iron supplement since my ferritin level was 20, so we’ll see if that helps, too.

Janet December 13, 2007 at 10:24 am

I have been using Spectral DNC 5% Minoxidl solution and my shedding finally slowed down after about 6 weeks. I have noticed as a side effect increased growth of facial hair, on my cheeks and upper lip and chin area. It’s annoying but it tells me that something is working!! LOL I am also taking Saw Palmetto and Spirodactone 100 mg / day. That is causing me to have irregular periods, I’m hoping that will level off soon.

I do see a thickening of my hair at the scalp. I have my hair relaxed and I’m thinking of letting it grow out because I don’t want to put any chemicals on my scalp that could harm it. I just recently purchased Folligen which has copper peptides which is supposed to help thicken the hair shaft as it grows in. I have resigned myself that its going to take at least 1 year or more before I can make a conclusion about my treatment results.

Any one have good suggestions on facial depilatories? I am grateful because my hairline is coming back in so nicely as well.. I had a bit of traction alopeical as well as AA

Jenny December 16, 2007 at 4:10 am

Hi Janet,
I’d love it if you can keep us updated on your use of the Spectral DNC solution! I did some searching and there’s also a Spectral RS solution, which doesn’t contain minoxidil, but contains Aminexil (like the DNC), which is supposed to be very effective (althoughI haven’t read many positive comments in various forums). One of the women in the ”sucess stories” found that the Vichy aminexil worked for her. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Janet December 28, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Hi Jenny,

I’ll be happy to keep you posted… I’ll be glad when they come out with the Spectral DNC for women because the 5% is definately working…I’m just a little concerned about the facial hair thing… I am going to make extra sure that I’m washing my hands and not getting any on my face when I spray it. It is working too well for me to stop but I may slow to once per day. I am also thinking of using essentail oils at night in case the DNC is getting on my face while I’m sleeping from my night application.

It grew hair in a little bald patch that developed a few years back from wearing tiny braids on my hairline. I was surpised that spot grew back! This stuff is strong though, I would caution ladies before using!!

kris April 8, 2008 at 8:20 pm

hi. i had some type of scalp rash last xmas. i saw a dermatologist who gave me a shampoo and solution that made by scalp even MORE irritated and 5 weeks later, the result was thinned hair in the front .. you know right above my brows.. no one knows really if it will grow back or not.. two stylists think it may but we wont know for about 6 month.. meaning 4 mos to go.. long 4 mos.. i am taking large doses of vit c, and b, along with regular vitamins.. trying to go more raw too.
becareful what you are given, the highly touted dermatologist made it worse.. wish i had just gone to my stylist.. now i wouldnt be so freaked.. k

Bonnie May 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Any hairloss treatment (ie spironolactone, rogaine, Yasmine or Dinae-35) will cause shedding when you start it as you are kicking out the old resting telogen hairs at much faster rate while your follicles prepare for new and better growth. It is actually a good sign you are responding to the meds. I shed badly for 3 months starting rogaine 5% and spironolactone 200mg. I stuck with it at 4 months all the shedding stoped a year later my hair grew back to its orgininal fullness. Most people panic when they see the shedding go up starting these meds and they stop their meds …the meds are working give them some time.

Vicky February 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Bonnie, I love to hear your success story and am thankful that even though you have had success you still come back to post. I have been on treatment since last march spiro, bcp, finasteride and nothing has worked to even slow the loss. Now i am thinking of taking the plunge and giving rogaine a chance even though i consider it a last resort im terrified of it not working cuz then i just dont know what ill do. but i think i might as well try. I just wanted to know you started with the mens foam 5% right? how do you apply it? it says to entire salp but how can you do that? thanks for your response

mary March 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Hello,

I am looking for some advice. I am a 37 year old female and was prescribed Loestrin 24 by my doctor for ovarian cysts. 3 months into the pill, I lost about 24% of my hair. My hair was already fine to begin with so it was very noticeable. I stopped the pill and my doctor told me to see a dermatologist for my hair loss. The derm told me to take rogaine for men. After the 3rd week, I experienced MASSIVE shedding and extreme itchiness on my scalp. I have lost about 50% of my hair and it is still falling out. I quit the rogaine and I am not just taking a high does of biotin with vitamins. My scalp is visible and my hair is falling out in clumps to the touch. I fear I may have to shave my head. I am devastated. I am wondering if anyone can tell me if my hair that I lost from rogaien will come back eventually? I am scared. I would really appreciate some help.

Thank you so much.

Sean June 2, 2010 at 5:11 am

As a male user of rogaine 5% i experienced good results and then developed dermatitis. I changed to Rogaine foam (No propylene glycol) after it had calmed but got the same excrutiating reaction. Very worrying and unsightly red raw scalp and flaking skin.

Looks like i’ll have to give up on thinning hair treatments. I wonder what proportion of users experience adverse reactions? I’d like this looked into but many people are too shy to admit use of regaine… I am, so i wonder if the manufacturer or GP’s get enough feedback.

Denis June 9, 2010 at 5:15 am

Sean, My MD recommended using 5% once a day, or 5% twice a day but every other day, or switching to the 3% for a while, starting once a day and building up. Also dermatologist can prescribe topical solutions i.e. Clobetasol Propionate, Ketoconazole, etc. which helped me, as did alternating solution dosages.

If nothing helps there is a natural solution called Regain that I have used successfully together with Rogaine, which might work on its own, but I have no experience with it as an isolated treatment.

kellu September 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

I hate my hair loss… I am getting married in April 2012 and I do not want to be a bald bride. My hair was always thin, but now I have super thin see thru hair on top and a crease down the backside of my head. I use eye shadow to cover the see thru spots, but damn. I just started the Rogaine for women – and I am shedding – but apparently that is a good sign? I am heading to the dermatologist in October, so hopefully he will figure something out, the last derm I went to said ‘your not going bald’ but he glanced at my head… NICE.

Scarlett November 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I am 52, just started using Rogaine 2% for women. The first week it made my scalp very sore but after that it is not so sore. The worst thing is the increased shedding which has made my feel even more depressed. Also, no matter what I do, this stuff makes my eyes burn even though I apply it lying down so that it won’t run onto my forehead. They say that this product gets all over your face, pillowcases, blanket etc. when you are asleep. I am wondering if this is dangerous for your eyes in the long run, to have this product get into your eyes and onto your face.

I would like to know if any women are having any success with this product or do they get more success in combining it with other products such as Spirolactone, Finasteride, etc. I read a research study that when combined with Finasteride 5 mg. once per week, that there is more hair growth. Some women in the study took Finasteride once a day; some once per week and both groups had more success than with just Rogaine alone. I cannot afford a doctor’s visit so I think I will order Finasteride from an overseas pharmacy and see if it will work. I would like to get married again some day; what man wants to marry a bald woman? Hair loss really destroys a woman’s self esteem. Men can shave their heads and look sexy, women can’t.

Scarlett November 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I have stopped using un-natural hair products to wash my hair. Most shampoos and conditioners have a long list of unhealthy products in them; these have to be bad for your health. I started using a tablespoon of baking soda in water for shampoo; baking soda is great for cleaning. Then for a conditioner, I use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water.
Both of these are natural products and they leave my hair just as clean as if I used a regular shampoo and conditioner. I also found an all natural product to make for washing clothes.
Some patients who are experience hair loss should get their thyroid levels checked. Even if your levels are “normal” they may not be normal for you if you are experiencing hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Both of these conditions can cause hair loss. I have hypothyroid symptoms; I am taking Synthroid but so far it has not made any difference in my hair loss. I may have waited too long and the follicles just may not be recoverable to produce any more hair ever again.

Otelia August 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I have been using rogaine for 2 years now. In the beginning, it was very frightful. I was shedding terribly; looked on many sites trying to find an answer to see if it was worth using. I was so scared and imagined so many horrible out comes if the shedding continued. I want to assure you, yes the first couple of months you shed a lot, but now I am definitely at normal if not low shedding definitions. I haven’t been on the hairloss sites in quite a long time because I have stopped obsessing about it. I can say I use to be obsessed checking the internet all of the time for reassurance. EVERYONES experience and interpretation is going to be different. All I can say is don’t overall yourself on what outcomes can be. Live your life because hair loss will happen whether you are worrying about it or not. I can truly say I am in a better place, and you will be soon too. Try a suggestions by the doctors but don’t try everything under the sun. Be aware of your nutrition, my iron levels have been very low since I have been experiencing my hair loss. Your are what you eat is so true. I will leave with, keep living your ultimate life, and if shedding continues live your life still.

choity September 23, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Hello everyone, I am choity. my age is 31. 1 and half month before I visited hair salon and the girl who used to cut my hair suggested me to visit a dermatologist. That time my hair lose was not much. I thought it is natural. but I visited dermatologist and he prescribe me Minoxidil 2% 2times a day. After using it I am losing too much hair. each time I brush my hair , I lose handful hair. almost 80 to 100. what should I do? should I stop using Minoxidl or continue? Dermatologist suggested me to continue using Minoxidl but I am upset and confused. What should I do? I am so upset :(

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