Can I stop foam minoxidil rogaine safely after about 20 days of use?

I have thinning in the crown and the front hairline. I started rogaine and had no idea how bad the shedding would be. I've also been experiencing the side effects and don't want to make this a long term problem. I know you can become dependent on minoxidil and wanted to make sure I haven't hit that point yet.

Doctor Answers 4

If minoxidil is affecting your scalp health, you should discontinue use. There are hair loss alternative treatments available

Thank you for your question. You state you are experiencing some thinning on the crown and frontal areas of your scalp, for which you decided to take Rogaine. After using Rogaine foam for 20 days, you’re now experiencing some hair shedding. You’re concerned about your dependency on Rogaine, and you’d like to know whether it’s safe to stop.

I can certainly guide you on this matter. To give you a little about my background — I am a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and a Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, practicing in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years. I deal with hair loss quite extensively in my practice and I am also the founder of TrichoStem™ Hair Regeneration Centers, which offer a non-surgical alternative treatment for hair loss without the help of hair loss medication.

Assuming you have male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia, there are two standard drugs that you can opt for. The first is finasteride, which is a daily pill that blocks an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase and prevents it from converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. About 60% of men who take the pill respond well to it, however 40% do not. In addition to this, finasteride has long been associated with causing long-term sexual side effects in men. The second option is Rogaine (minoxidil). Rogaine has been around since the 80s and was developed from the drug minoxidil, which was originally used to treat hypertension. One of the side effects of the said drug showed an increase in hair growth; however, a recognized symptom of irritation to the use of Rogaine also includes hair shedding, so it certainly makes sense for you to stop using this drug if that is the case for you.

As an alternative to these two treatments, it may be beneficial for you to learn about a treatment that we developed called Hair Regeneration. Hair Regeneration is a non-surgical hair loss treatment for male and female pattern hair loss, and makes use of a combination of platelet-rich plasma and Acellular matrix. Platelet-rich plasma is a concentration derived from the patient’s own blood consisting of various wound-healing and growth factors that provide a vast array of benefits for skin rejuvenation and hair loss. Acellular matrix is a wound-healing material originally developed for better surgical wound healing. We used Acellular matrix during hair transplant procedures in order to facilitate faster healing of the donor area and improved graft survivability. One of the fortunate side effects we observed was it could thicken existing thinning hair.

Since then, we have developed a system and treatment protocol that is applicable to both men and women of all ages and with different variations of pattern hair loss. Many people from all over the world come specifically to New York City just to receive this treatment, and with the help of our company, Trichostem™ Hair Regeneration, we are able to bring this treatment closer to many more who cannot come to us.

The Hair Regeneration treatment is quite convenient since usually only one injection is needed, after which the patient can leave the clinic and resume their daily activities. There is no downtime. Hair Regeneration has also shown great success in stopping hair loss progression. It has the capability to reactivate the hair growth cycle, and thicken existing thinning hairs — all from just a single treatment. In some cases, around 12 to 18 months later, we will do a second injection to build upon the results of the first injection. It’s quite an unparalleled treatment that is part of a new age of medical care based on adult stem cell activity. It basically uses your own body’s intrinsic systems to help efficiently change a pattern of something that is genetically destined. With over five years’ worth of clinical data gathered, we have seen remarkable success.

I think this could be of value to you because you’re at a point where there aren’t that many options left other than perhaps a hair transplant. It’s important to understand that hair transplants are very limited by nature. The donor area can only yield a limited amount of hair grafts, and because hair transplants do not stop hair loss progression, the question becomes whether you will have enough hair to keep up with the loss. Generally, the answer is no.

I recommend you learn more about Hair Regeneration as a possible option for you. You can certainly stop Rogaine safely as it is hard to justify continuing something that is not necessarily healthy for your scalp. I also suggest you meet with doctors who are specialists in hair loss treatment so you can learn even more about your options.

I hope that was helpful and I wish you the best of luck!


New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Hair loss -- PRP, Progesterone, Viviscal, Rogaine, Finesteride

Rogaine needs to be used forever to increase the hair growth and prevent its loss.  I suggest seeing a hair loss expert.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Using minoxidil for #hairloss and Experiencing side effects

If you are using minoxidil for your hair loss and experiencing side effects, you need to stop using the product. You may experience some shedding initially. 

Michael Meshkin, MD
Newport Beach Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

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Shedding from minoxidil

Shedding can occur during the first 6-10 weeks of minoxidil use. Every medical treatment for androgenetic alopecia requires long term use. In other words, any non surgical treatment you use will require long term use and you will be dependent on it. That includes minoxidil, finasteride, laser and platelet rich plasma. 

If you stop minoxidil now, you may continue to shed several more months but no, you have not become dependent on it. Your hairs have simply shed on account of the resting hairs being triggered to exit the scalp. 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.