Daily Health

Can You Sleep with Rogaine Applied on the Scalp?

Rogaine is a common treatment option for hair loss, helping to encourage regrowth for people experiencing male or female pattern baldness.

When applying Rogaine, it is crucial to follow the correct instructions to use Rogaine safely. Luckily, the topical treatment is designed for convenience and is generally considered safe and easy to use. As far as sleeping goes, Rogaine can be used during sleep when applied correctly.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about Rogaine, including how to properly apply it before going to bed.  

What is Rogaine?

Rogaine is a topical solution used for hair loss and thinning.  

The active ingredient in Rogaine is minoxidil, which is used to help increase hair follicle size and promotes improved hair growth.  

In a 2019 study, minoxidil was shown to be significantly effective when treating men and women with androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness).  

The topical solution can come in either foam or liquid when purchasing Rogaine.  

Additionally, Rogaine is available with two different minoxidil concentrations: 2% or 5%. The main alternative to Rogaine is Finasteride.

While the stronger concentration can produce better effects (as seen in the 2019 study mentioned above), the difference in efficacy between the liquid and foam forms is negligible, according to a 2016 study.  

In the Rogaine product overview, it states that the product is approved by Health Canada.

How does Rogaine work?

Rogaine belongs to a class of medications known as vasodilators that cause the blood vessels to open up and improve blood flow.

Current research does not have a definitive explanation for how the mechanism of minoxidil — the active ingredient in Rogaine — works, but the generally accepted theory is that the medicine helps to enlarge a person’s hair follicles, as well as extend the hair’s growth phase.  

This results in a greater number of hair follicles present during the growth phase, leading to more overall hair growth.

Can women use Rogaine for hair loss?

Although Rogaine is commonly marketed toward men, Rogaine can help to stop a receding hairline in both men and women.  

Rogaine makes products specifically for women as well that contain minoxidil. The topical solution is recommended mainly for women who are experiencing female pattern hair loss.  

Female pattern hair loss is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, the same scientific name used to describe male pattern baldness as well.  

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, roughly 40% of women will experience signs of thinning that could indicate this condition by the age of 50. The association further states that genetics and hormonal effects are thought to impact female pattern hair loss.  

In a 2014 study on the use of minoxidil to treat female pattern hair loss, 5% minoxidil foam applied once per day was proven to be effective in treating the condition.  

Is Rogaine safe for women?

In terms of the chemical makeup of Rogaine, the topical solution is generally regarded as safe for women.

However, both men and women have the potential to experience unwanted side effects, such as:

  • Scalp irritation
  • Unwanted hair growth on the face (if Rogaine comes into contact with the face)
  • Increased hair shedding

For women specifically, there is a small risk of experiencing headaches reported in research.  

Rogaine can also potentially interact with any other prescribed medications a person is currently taking — thus, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare practitioner before beginning Rogaine.  

Who should not use Rogaine?  

Rogaine should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding people, as the drug is excreted into human milk when absorbed through the skin.  

The use of Rogaine by pregnant people is widely under-studied, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact level of fetal threat the drug poses.  

As a result, it is typically recommended to halt the use of Rogaine while pregnant or breastfeeding to minimize potential risks to the fetus and newborn.  

How to use Rogaine for the best results?

When you receive a prescription for Rogaine, you will also receive a specific set of instructions on how much to use and how frequently to use it.  

Following these instructions are crucial for getting the best results out of Rogaine.  

Here are the steps for the best use of Rogaine:  

  1. Clean and dry the scalp thoroughly before applying Rogaine. Your hair can be slightly damp when applying the solution.  
  1. If you are using the liquid solution, you will need to fill the applicator according to the product instructions and slowly drop it on the thinning areas of your hair. For the foam solution, you will want roughly a capful of foam to apply to the same areas.
  1. Rub in the liquid or foam solution gently to your scalp.  
  1. Allow the liquid or foam to dry completely.  

To ensure the best use of Rogaine, it is also important to know when not to use it.  

If your scalp has become irritated, using Rogaine can potentially worsen the irritation and prolong healing.  

Additionally, Rogaine should not be used on a scalp with open wounds, scrapes, sores, etc.

Rogaine may also interact poorly with hair that has recently been dyed, bleached, or styled, as these actions often irritate the scalp.  

Do you have to wash your hair every day when using Rogaine?

As a topical solution, Rogaine can not only affect your scalp’s irritation levels but also impact the feel and texture of your hair.  

Although Rogaine is not noticeable once it has completely dried, residue can build up over time, along with the normal build-up of oils and debris in your hair.

Since Rogaine is best used on a clean scalp, it is ideal to wash your hair every day or every other day when using Rogaine.  

This ensures your scalp and hair are as prepared as possible for your next Rogaine application.  

It is also important to be mindful of the shampoo and hair products you use while using Rogaine.  

As Rogaine has the potential to irritate the scalp, you should use gentle shampoos and products while you are actively using Rogaine to minimize irritation.  

Can Rogaine be used at night? 

Yes, Rogaine can be used at any time of the day that best suits you.  

For men, the recommended use will likely include two daily applications, while for women there is generally just one daily application.  

The time of day at which you apply Rogaine will not impact the efficacy of the solution.  

However, you will need to allow the Rogaine to dry fully before messing with your scalp or hair, so choose a time when you can rest while the Rogaine dries (i.e. not right before work or an event when you need to style your hair).  

This necessity of allowing Rogaine to dry leads many to land on a nighttime application time when they can sit back and relax while the Rogaine works its magic.  

Sleeping with Rogaine

If you are worried about sleeping with Rogaine, fear not — the topical solution is completely safe to leave on overnight.  

The biggest consideration for applying Rogaine before bedtime is giving the solution adequate time to dry and absorb into your scalp.  

If you go to sleep too soon after application, you may toss and turn, resulting in the solution spreading onto your neck, face, and bedding.  

In general, Rogaine dries pretty quickly, taking between 15 to 20 minutes to be dry to the touch.  

However, minoxidil solutions can sometimes take at least two to four hours to completely dry. Allowing this much time also helps to prevent spreading the medicine to other parts of the body.

Is it okay to sleep on my back after applying Rogaine?

So long as you have given Rogaine adequate time to dry before going to bed, you can sleep in any position that makes you the most comfortable after applying Rogaine.

Will Rogaine dry quickly once applied to the scalp?

As mentioned, Rogaine dries relatively quickly when applied to the scalp — although it is recommended to allow a few hours for the solution to fully dry.

A few different factors can impact how fast Rogaine will dry, including:

  • Hair Dampness: If your hair is very damp or wet while applying Rogaine, this can affect how quickly the solution is able to dry. Additionally, very damp or wet hair may dilute the Rogaine or spread it through the hair and to other parts of the body.  
  • Hair Thickness: For Rogaine applications on a scalp with thick hair, the drying process may take longer. To ensure drying goes as quickly as possible, make sure to gently rub the solution directly into your scalp, rather than just rubbing around the roots of the hair.  
  • Styling Products: Having styling products in your hair when applying Rogaine can not only irritate the scalp but also inhibit the medication’s ability to absorb into the scalp and dry completely. This is one of many reasons why having a totally clean scalp before applying Rogaine is crucial.  

The bottom line

As long as you follow the correct application instructions and give the solution time to dry properly, Rogaine is safe to use when sleeping.

If you are ready to discuss your hair loss options with a healthcare practitioner, get started with Felix today.  

Plus, learn about all things hair loss with Felix’s Beginner’s Guide to Hair Loss.

WRITTEN BY
Felix Team
Updated on:
August 26, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sarah Lasuta
Family Physician, MD, CCFP
Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Health Guide, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.

All articles
Can Birth Control Pills Expire? What You Should Know
Read