What Happens When You Stop Using Rogaine? 2024 Research

Medically reviewedby Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

The hereditary hair loss that was visible in your parent is now passed down to you. You begin to search for hair loss solutions.

Voila! You found Rogaine, a topical minoxidil, that is FDA-approved against androgenetic alopecia.

Just as you thought you found the hair loss treatment for you, it sprung at you with potential side effects that sound terrible.

Is there any truth to it?

Surely, an FDA-approved hair loss treatment for male and female pattern baldness cannot be that bad?

In this article, we'll dive into the science behind Rogaine and exactly what might happen when you stop using Rogaine products.

Stick around to the end and we'll reveal what made Niels hair transformation possible.

niels before and after results

What is Rogaine?

Rogaine is the brand name of minoxidil solution.

Minoxidil is a treatment FDA-approved for male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). It's also used to treat telogen effluvium in some cases.

It comes in 2 forms: Rogaine foam and 5 minoxidil topical solution.

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How does Rogaine work?

Hair follicles contain an enzyme called sulfotransferase.

When applied, topical minoxidil or Rogaine is absorbed by the skin and enters the hair follicles. Within the follicle, the sulfotransferase enzyme converts minoxidil into its biologically active form, known as minoxidil sulfate.

Minoxidil sulfate is what causes the vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) and opening of potassium channels in the dermal papilla cells located at the base of hair follicles.

Specifically, it opens ATP-sensitive potassium channels.

The opening of these potassium channels is linked to increased proliferation (multiplication) of cells within the hair follicles.

With more cells replicating, it promotes healthy hair growth and fights pattern baldness.

At the same time, the vasodilation improves blood flow to the follicle. This delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the hair structures and dermal papilla cells.

The improved microcirculation supports cell metabolism and hair regrowth.

Should you stop using Rogaine?

You may want to stop using Rogaine if you are not seeing any hair growth results after several months of use. Rogaine can cause unwanted side effects like skin irritation for some users and more severe side effects in some cases.

Rogaine, or minoxidil, is generally considered safe when used as directed. And the minoxidil shedding within the first few months of use are normal and well-documented.

However, if after consistent use over several months little hair regrowth is seen, or side effects occur, it's reasonable to discuss other options.

They can help evaluate if a different treatment may be more effective based on your hair loss type and genetics.

How does Rogaine affect the hair growth cycle?

Rogaine stimulates existing hair follicles to remain active for a longer duration in the growth-promoting anagen phase.

It also signals more resting follicles to restart the growth cycle earlier by shortening the inactive telogen rest phase.

Both actions prolong the cycle and increase the number of new hair shafts produced per follicle, leading to thicker hair coverage.

This cascade effect takes months to manifest but explains how Rogaine promotes new hair growth over prolonged use.

hair growth cycle

Anagen phase

During the anagen phase, the hair follicle is actively growing the hair shaft. This phase typically lasts 2-6 years for scalp hair. Rogaine stimulates follicles in the anagen phase to grow hair for a longer duration.

It does this by opening potassium channels in the dermal papilla cells at the base of the follicle. This increased potassium level stimulates cellular activity and signals the follicle to remain in the growth-active anagen phase.

Catagen phase

Once the anagen phase ends naturally, the hair enters a brief transitional or regressive phase called catagen. This phase signals the follicle to stop hair production and transitions it to rest. Rogaine has no significant effect during catagen.

Telogen phase

The resting telogen phase usually lasts around 3 months. During this time, the hair shaft is not growing. Rogaine works by shortening this telogen phase. It causes more resting follicles to prematurely re-enter the anagen growth phase. This induces more follicles to produce hair simultaneously, resulting in increased hair density over time with continuous use.

What happens when you stop using Rogaine?

When you stop using Rogaine (minoxidil), any new hair growth stimulated by the medication will be lost. Within a few months of discontinuing use, the hair follicles that had been responding to the minoxidil will return to their pre-treatment size and hair quantity will decrease. The earlier hair loss will resume as the minoxidil is gradually eliminated from the scalp.

Hair regrowth slows or stops

Rogaine helps stimulate hair follicles that are dormant or in the resting phase (telogen) to enter the growth phase (anagen). When you stop using it, this effect is reduced or eliminated.

Existing regrown hair may fall out

The hair you regrew with Rogaine treatment may shed out as your scalp adjusts to not having the drug's stimulant effects anymore. This happens gradually over 1-3 months.

Scalp returns to pre-treatment condition

Without continued Rogaine use, your balding or thinning condition will typically return to where it was prior to starting treatment. The drug is not a permanent cure.

Maintenance is key to preserving results from Rogaine use long-term. We recommend seeking medical advice before stopping.

How long do minoxidil side effects last after stopping?

Most minoxidil side effects end within 2 weeks, and hair loss returns within 6 months. But some unpleasant side effects can persist if you're unlucky:

  • Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, swelling, and tenderness don't always disappear so quickly for everyone. If you're one of the unfortunate ones, these symptoms could plague you for over a month after stopping.
  • Unwanted hair growth (think beard hair, body hair) is a common long-term issue - minoxidil has a way of stimulating dormant follicles that may never return to sleep.
  • Changes in existing hair aren't always fleeting either. Thinning hair, shedding, and odd textures can last 6 months or more even after you quit. Your hair may never fully recover normalcy.
  • Irritated and dry flaky skin may persist irritatingly for the long haul. Some sufferers battle dermatitis-like issues for years because of minoxidil.
  • Chest pain, palpitations or changes in blood pressure could indicate more severe cardiovascular side effects that linger.

How to treat minoxidil side effects after stopping?

To treat minoxidil side effects after stopping use, allow your body time to adjust as it clears the drug from your system. Drink plenty of water and get enough rest. Over-the-counter remedies like ibuprofen can help relieve headaches. Most side effects are temporary and should subside within a few weeks.

When you stop using minoxidil, your body needs to readjust after being dependent on it. Common withdrawal side effects include headaches, dizziness, itching, and shedding of hair.

  • Staying well hydrated helps flush the drug from your system faster.
  • Getting enough sleep also aids your body's recovery.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with headaches.
  • Minor skin irritation may be soothed with moisturizer.

While uncomfortable, most side effects are mild and temporary, subsiding within 1-4 weeks as minoxidil leaves your system. See a doctor if symptoms are severe or last longer than this.

How long does it take for minoxidil to exit your body?

Minoxidil is cleared from the body fairly quickly. Most of the minoxidil dose is metabolized in the liver and excreted within a day through urine and feces. However, the effects of minoxidil on hair regrowth may last up to 2-3 months after stopping treatment as hair follicles remain in the growing phase longer.

While minoxidil is cleared from the body within about 24 hours, its effects don't immediately disappear after stopping use. That's because it can take hair follicles 2-3 months to complete the growth phase induced by minoxidil and then return to their normal growth cycle.

During this time, users may still see some hair regrowth benefits even after the drug has long since left their system. This residual effect is why experts recommend continuing minoxidil for at least 4-6 months to fully evaluate its hair loss treatment potential before considering alternative options.

How do you stop minoxidil without losing hair?

To prevent hair loss when stopping minoxidil, taper usage gradually over several months. Slowly reduce application frequency to allow hair follicles time to readjust. For example, apply it every other day for 1 month then 2-3 times per week for another month before quitting. This gradual approach lessens the chance of shock losing regained hair.

Tapering minoxidil use slowly over a few months is key to minimizing potential hair shedding when stopping treatment. Going cold turkey can shock hair follicles that had become dependent on its stimulating effects. By gradually spacing out applications, it gives hair time to readapt to normal growth cycles on its own without the drug's influence.

Reducing to every other day, then a few times a week allows hair to wean off minoxidil exposure and helps retain hair gained during treatment.

During this time, you can consider using alternative hair growth products like hair growth serums, caffeine shampoo, essential oils, derma rolling, etc.

What's the best minoxidil alternative with no harmful side effects?

before and after

One option is Bio-Pilixin, a formula that takes a multi-pronged approach to hair growth support. Rather than relying on a single active ingredient, Bio-Pilixin incorporates several research-backed components. Biotin is included to strengthen hair follicles, while caffeine has been shown in studies to stimulate dormant follicles. Other plant extracts aim to provide important nutrients to the scalp.

Where some products focus only on circulation or stimulation alone, Bio-Pilixin addresses various stages of the growth cycle. It aims to nourish the scalp environment and support existing hair from within.

A clinical trial was conducted evaluating Bio-Pilixin's effects over 150 days. Key findings reported by researchers included:

  • Over 90% of participants saw a reduction in hair shedding, averaging around 45% less shedding. One participant had an 85% reduction.
  • Over 70% of participants experienced increased hair density, with some seeing up to a 23% gain.
  • Hair in the growth phase increased by 17.5% while hair in the rest phase decreased by 36.5%.
  • 80% reported moderate to strong hair loss reduction effects.
  • Over 90% were satisfied with results in reducing hair loss.
research study numbers

Notably, Bio-Pilixin's formula is free of unnecessary ingredients like parabens and sulfates that could potentially irritate the scalp long-term.

This clean approach may support more sustainable results over time compared to other treatments.

While no single product is right for everyone, Bio-Pilixin's holistic system and research into optimized dosing of ingredients make it a strong potential alternative for those seeking an option without minoxidil. Our money-back guarantee allows trying it firsthand to see results without a big investment.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Conclusion

Suffering from androgenetic alopecia or alopecia areata is a problem many people face.

But you don't have to put your life experience at risk over some hair fall.

Stopping Rogaine can result in returning female and male pattern baldness since minoxidil requires consistent use to be effective.

However, it's understandable that you might be worried about their side effects on your body.

There are alternatives with no harmful side effects available for those who seek to regrow hair.

It's also worth consulting with a professional about whether topical finasteride, hair transplant surgery, or oral minoxidil might be a better option for you.

If your family has a history of breast cancer or skin cancer, consult a hair loss professional before starting.

Here's to hoping you'll never have to experience permanent hair loss.

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Reference

Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.