Rogaine vs. Propecia: Hair Regrowth Showdown

by Wendy Travis
04/28/10


For men and women concerned about hair loss but hesitant to invest in a surgical procedure like hair transplantation, there are a number of alternative, less-proven treatment options to consider. Two FDA-approved solutions, Rogaine and Propecia, work in very different ways to achieve a similar desired result. Signature Forum has the lowdown on both of these hair loss treatments, to help you decide which solution might be the best choice for you.

About Rogaine

Rogaine is a topical hair loss solution that can be purchased over the counter. It comes in two different strengths; a 2% solution that is appropriate for both men and women, and a 5% solution that is only recommended for men. Rogaine is applied to the scalp daily and works by revitalizing shrunken hair follicles by increasing blood flow to the area from the outside, in. When the substance is applied over a period of time, the hair follicles may continue to increase in size, thus extending the growth phase and producing longer, thicker hair.

About Propecia

Propecia is an oral hair regrowth treatment that is only available for men and with a doctor's prescription. It comes in a pill that is taken once a day. This medication works in a very different way from Rogaine. Instead of expending the hair follicles, Propecia works at a physiological level – inhibiting the production of a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone has been shown to be a catalyst in male hair loss. When less DHT is produced, hair loss can be prevented and reversed in the majority of cases.

Propecia vs. Rogaine: Success Rates

Both Propecia and Rogaine enjoy significant success rates, although neither treatment works for all of the users all of the time. Propecia boasts a success rate of about 80%, although results are not usually seen for the first three months of treatment. Men who have not seen significant changes in hair loss after taking Propecia for a full year are generally recommended to stop taking the drug. Patients who use Propecia typically see more hair grown than Rogaine users, although the thickness of the hair might not be as great.

Rogaine has a success rate of about 52% for those who used the 5% solution. Most individuals did not see positive results until about four months after beginning the treatment. The effects of Rogaine appeared to be temporary; once individuals stopped using the treatment, many continued to experience hair loss. However, this result is also true of those taking Propecia, although the hair loss was slower after discontinuing the oral treatment. Rogaine appeared to create thicker hair shafts than Propecia, probably due to the fact that the hair follicles were directly affected with the treatment.

Propecia vs. Rogaine: Side Effects

While both Rogaine and Propecia offer few side effects, Rogaine might be considered a little safer overall. About 6% of Rogaine users see irritation and itchiness on the scalp, which can often be effectively treated with medicated dandruff shampoos. Individuals should discontinue use if they experience a racing heartbeat, dizziness or chest pain.

Propecia causes an allergic reaction in a very small percentage of users, which might include hives, facial swelling or irregular breathing. Propecia also causes sexual side effects in a small number of men, including lack of sexual desire and difficulty in achieving an erection. Other rare side effects of Propecia include testicle pain, breast pain or enlarged breasts.

Both Propecia and Rogaine are used primarily to treat hair loss in the frontal areas of the scalp. Each of these hair loss treatments take some time to work and are not effective on all men and women who use them.

The Medical Hair Restoration Route

For quick, permanent, and total hair regrowth, hair transplant surgery remains the best current option available to hair loss patients, as their own natural growing hair is utilized to fill in thinning areas of the scalp. To learn more about hair transplantation or for info on the Propecia vs. Rogaine debate, contact us today and schedule your free consultation with a hair loss specialist near you!

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