Tue 14 Nov 2006
Pfizer recently released Rogaine Foam, a hair loss treatment that features the active ingredient minoxidil. Rogaine Foam has a 5% minoxidil concentration like traditional Rogaine Extra Strength, so it is currently only available for use by men. A women’s formula is expected to hit shelves in the near future. Rogaine Foam comes in an aerosol spray can and has the consistency of traditional aerosol shaving creams such as Barbasol.
Minoxidil has been proven time and again to be an effective hair growth stimulator that can both maintain and increase scalp hair counts.
But if the existing lotion formula is effective, then why did Pfizer release a foam version of Rogaine? Well any existing Rogaine user can answer that question pretty easily.
The directions suggest that the traditional Rogaine lotion be applied twice a day for optimal results. These application times should be at least four hours apart. Common sense tells the hair loss sufferer that the best times to apply their Rogaine would be right after their morning shower and a little while before bed at night. However common sense probably never had to deal with that infamously greasy “Rogaine head.”
The traditional Rogaine lotion utilizes propylene glycol in the ingredients as the vehicle for delivering the active medication into the scalp. The problem, of course, is that propylene glycol leaves the hair and scalp with an awful greased-up texture and feel to it for what seems like hours after the application. The result is unflattering, to say the least. It leaves the hair looking matted down and even thinner than it really is – a hefty step in the wrong direction for a hair loss treatment. Even after it dries, the hair appears lifeless and limp. Obviously, this presents a problem for users that wish to apply their Rogaine in the morning just before they have to go to work. Another issue with propylene glycol is that it can irritate users’ scalps resulting in itching, flaking, and even peeling in some cases. Because of these effects, the use of traditional minoxidil solution wasn’t even a possibility for many hair loss sufferers.
Rogaine Foam delivers the minoxidil into the scalp in a manner that is just as effective as the traditional lotion, but without the mess or unpleasantness. The foam is designed to retain its “foamy” texture at room temperature but quickly liquefies, spurring quick skin absorption at body temperature. It is for this reason that Rogaine suggests users rinse the hand used for application under cold water before applying the foam.
I’ve used traditional Rogaine lotion for a few years now with good results. I feel that I have maintained and regrown lost hair in my crown and vertex some creative timing. The messy nature of the lotion did account for me blowing off some of my applications and sometimes I would simply make the two applications at no more than 5 hours apart, which is not ideal. So I was excited about the foam hitting the market. I’ve used it for just over a month now.
My impression is that the Rogaine Foam lives up to its hype. The application area of the scalp and the surrounding hair dries quickly and there is no residue left behind. My hair does feel a little stiffer after application, but I, for one, don’t mind this as it seems to actually have a bit of a thickening effect as well. But that may just be my own imagination.
The simple fact that I can apply my minoxidil in the morning without my hair looking as if I bathed in Crisco is reason enough for me to switch to the foam. The added benefit that my scalp doesn’t itch nearly as bad as with the solution is just one more huge benefit.
So I give the Rogaine Foam a “two thumbs up.” Though it doesn’t leave my hair exactly as natural-feeling as it would be had I used nothing, the texture that it gives my hair is not awfully unpleasant and isn’t a hindrance like its predecessor.