Daily Health

Can You Use Too Much Rogaine?

Getting a Rogaine prescription can be an exciting moment for anyone who has experienced hair loss. But how much is too much?

As you begin your hair loss treatments, knowing how much to apply and how often to apply it is crucial. Proper use of Rogaine can result in excellent results, while overuse of the solution may cause unwanted side effects like irritation.

This article will discuss how to properly use Rogaine and how to know when you have used too much. Plus, keep reading to learn about the potential side effects of Rogaine.

What is Rogaine?

Rogaine is a topical solution with an active ingredient known as minoxidil.  

Minoxidil is a medication used to treat high blood pressure when taken orally, but it is also available as a topical liquid or foam that helps to treat hair loss.

While the exact mechanism of how minoxidil works is not currently known, it is widely believed that the drug helps to promote regrowth by increasing hair follicles and extending the hair’s growth phase, allowing more hairs to sprout from the increased number of follicles.  

Rogaine makes products for both men and women to treat androgenetic alopecia — also called androgenetic alopecia.  

Is Rogaine safe?

Minoxidil (the active ingredient of Rogaine) is a Health Canada-approved chemical substance.  

In general, Rogaine is considered a safe medication with minimal side effects.  

However, some negative side effects can occur and a few groups of people should generally avoid Rogaine if possible. These groups include:

  • Pregnant women: Research into the effects of Rogaine on fetal development is limited. Since Rogaine is absorbed into the skin and fetal effects are largely unknown, it is recommended for pregnant people to avoid the solution unless the benefits vastly outweigh the risks.
  • Breastfeeding mothers: Similar to the effects of Rogaine on pregnancy, research on the effects of the solution on breastfeeding is limited. One study suggests that topical minoxidil poses little risk to older, full-term infants but should be avoided for preterm and neonatal infants.  
  • People on blood pressure medication: Oral minoxidil is a blood pressure medication that helps to relax the blood vessels and lower a person’s blood pressure. As such, there is a risk that Rogaine may interact poorly with other blood pressure medications. This may not always be the case, so you should discuss the safety of using Rogaine with other blood pressure medicines with a healthcare practitioner.  

Benefits of Rogaine

Rogaine helps you regrow your hair over time, leaving you with a fuller and thicker head of hair.  

This can be very advantageous for many people, allowing them to feel more in control of their bodies.  

Rogaine offers users many key benefits, including:

  • Stimulating growth: Rogaine affects the hair follicles on your scalp, helping to increase the number of follicles, as well as prolong your hair’s growth phase. As a result, your follicles have a greater opportunity to sprout new hairs during this longer growth phase.  
  • Improving hair quality: Along with increasing the number of hairs that can appear during the growth phase, Rogaine can also aid in improving the quality of your hair. This can lead to hair that is both denser and thicker.  
  • Treating hair disorders: Hair loss can happen for many reasons, including hair disorders and medical conditions. One of the most common of these conditions is androgenetic alopecia — also called male or female pattern baldness. Rogaine has been specifically shown to help treat androgenetic alopecia and other hair disorders, enabling patients with this disorder to slowly regrow their hair.  

How to properly use Rogaine

To properly use and apply Rogaine, there are several key steps to take, including:

  1. Clean & dry the scalp: To get the most out of your Rogaine prescription, make sure your scalp is always clean and dry before applying Rogaine. This helps to ensure the solution absorbs properly, as well as minimizes potential irritation that can result from applying Rogaine on a dirty scalp.  
  1. Use the recommended dosage: When you receive your Rogaine prescription, it will come with instructions on how much to use and how frequently to use it. For men, Rogaine is generally prescribed to be applied twice a day, whereas women are typically prescribed a once-a-day application.  
  1. Rub gently: Once you have applied the Rogaine to your scalp, rub it gently with clean hands. This helps your scalp absorb the solution and keeps it from building up in the roots of your hair rather than drying on your scalp.  
  1. Allow the solution to dry: You always want to allow Rogaine to dry fully before doing anything with your hair, such as styling it or laying your head down on a pillow. This is because you may end up spreading the Rogaine to other parts of your body — such as your face — where it may encourage hair growth in places you do not want growth.  
  1. Rinse & repeat: We recommend showering at least every other day when using Rogaine. This will help you to keep your scalp clean and avoid the build-up of oils or debris that can cause unnecessary irritation when combined with Rogaine.  

What happens if you use too much Rogaine?

The main risk of using too much Rogaine is a moderately severely irritated scalp.  

This irritation will be amplified if your hair has recently been styled, bleached, or dyed, or if you have used any harsh shampoos or conditioners on it before applying Rogaine.  

Don't use the medication more often than directed or apply a larger amount than directed. Additionally, you should avoid applying Rogaine to irritated or sunburned scalps.

According to Drugs.com — an online resource for prescription drug information — a typical dose for topical minoxidil is a half capful of foam or one mL of liquid twice a day.  

The maximum dose is one capful of foam or two mL of liquid. An overdose of minoxidil is not generally considered dangerous, but a healthcare practitioner should be contacted immediately.  

Mayo Clinic also outlines the symptoms of too much medicine absorbed into the body (note that these symptoms are categorized as “rare”):

  • Blurred or altered vision
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting  
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Flushing
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or face
  • Swelling in hands, feet, lower legs, or face
  • Rapid weight gain

Rogaine side effects

While negative side effects with Rogaine are rare, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects you can experience when starting this medication.  

According to a 2019 study, common side effects with fiver percent minoxidil used to treat hair disorders included:

  • Dermatitis: Dermatitis is the official term used to describe irritated skin. Symptoms of dermatitis can include dryness, itching, rashes, and swelling — and in worse cases, blisters, flaking skin, and bumps.  
  • Headaches: Headaches are a known and somewhat common side effect of the drug. The key when you experience headaches after applying Rogaine is to note the severity of the headache. If your headaches become too painful or begin developing into migraines, talk to your healthcare practitioner before continuing use.
  • Hypertrichosis: Hypertrichosis is the term used to describe excessive hair growth on the body. This can be a common side effect of Rogaine, especially if you are not cautious while applying it and end up getting some of the solution on your face or other parts of your body.  

Additional and more rare symptoms of Rogaine can include:  

  • Acne where the Rogaine was applied
  • Burning sensation on the scalp
  • Increased facial hair growth
  • Increased hair loss
  • Inflammation of the hair roots
  • Sore scalp
  • Reddened skin
  • Face swelling

Rogaine medication interactions

Rogaine can have potential interactions with several other drugs, including but not limited to:

  • High blood pressure medications (guanethidine, chlorothiazide, etc.)  
  • Alcohol disorder treatment medications (disulfiram, metronidazole, etc.)  

To check whether or not Rogaine interacts with specific medications and how those drug interactions are classified, check out the Drugs.com webpage on Rogaine Interactions.  

Furthermore, consult with a healthcare practitioner before beginning Rogaine if you are on any prescribed medications.  

Are there any other Rogaine side effects to know about?  

A key additional consideration to keep in mind with Rogaine is that it should always be applied to a clean, dry scalp.  

If you have hair products in your hair, this may the ability of the Rogaine to absorb and dry fully. It can also lead to greater feelings of itchiness and irritation.

Moreover, hair that has been recently dyed, bleached, or styled may be more prone to irritation.  

While you are using Rogaine, avoid having your hair chemically altered in any way to keep any unwanted irritation at bay.  

It is also recommended to use gentle shampoos and conditioners when using Rogaine to help minimize irritation.  

Additional Rogaine FAQs

Here are a few additional facts that are good to know before starting Rogaine:

What are the myths about hair loss?

Hair loss is sometimes regarded as irreversible condition — but this is not the case.  

Hair regrowth can occur depending on a few key factors, such as the type of hair disorder a person is dealing with and the available treatments.

For people dealing with androgenetic alopecia, Rogaine is proven to be an effective treatment.  

How common is hair loss in women?

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, approximately 40 percent of women will experience signs of thinning hair by the age of 50. Additionally, the average person will shed roughly 50 to 100 hairs per day.  

How do dermatologists find out what’s causing hair loss?

Hair loss diagnoses depend on the results of a few different tests, with some conditions being easier to diagnose than others.

For instance, a simple pull test can help diagnose male or female pattern baldness and assess the stage of the condition.  

Other conditions, like alopecia areata, may require a more thorough assessment, including taking hair samples.  

In some cases, a healthcare practitioner may even take a scalp biopsy or blood test to ensure no underlying health conditions need to come to light.  

Key takeaways

Proper use of Rogaine is key, meaning you should always follow the exact instructions provided to you by your healthcare practitioner.  

To discuss your hair loss options with a healthcare practitioner, get started with Felix today.

WRITTEN BY
Felix Team
Updated on:
November 2, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Tanja Vlahovich
Family Physician, MD, CCFP (EM)
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.

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