Does the hair loss treatment Rogaine (Minoxidil is the active ingredient and generic name) cause wrinkles and accelerated aging? Can you imagine anything worse than trying to prevent hair loss, only to find out you’re permanently causing the formation of new wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes? I can’t! What a nightmare!!! I’ve been dealing with hair loss for about 8 years now, and while my hair loss was pretty stable, lately it’s getting worse and I’m back to freaking out about it constantly.
My hair loss issues and use of Rogaine
Here is my hair loss story, which I wrote a few years ago. I had tried 2% Women’s Rogaine a few years back, and used it twice a day for 8 months, but I didn’t see any improvement in my hair, so I gave up. I didn’t have any side effects from it, except for a flaky scalp. At the time I thought I was just experiencing chronic non-permanent hair loss (Telogen Effluvium) due to either a low thyroid, low iron, poor absorption of nutrients, or some other mystery reason. It’s crazy that I’ve been researching hair loss for so long and have seen countless doctors but none of them know anything.
Most recently, I’ve experienced thinning temples and I think my hairline is receding, so I’m starting to realize the fact that both of my parents have thin hair probably means I also have genetic hair loss (Androgenetic Alopecia). So last week I started on 5% Men’s Minoxidil (it should be safe for women if you are not pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are nursing, but you should talk to your doctor first). Actually what I bought was Spectral DNC, which is like Men’s Rogaine, but it also contains Aminexil, Retinol, Copper Peptides, and some other ingredients that supposedly promote hair loss, and unlike Rogaine, it doesn’t contain alcohol. The alcohol in Rogaine caused my scalp to get dry and flaky. Ugh.
Since the day I started on the Spectral DNC, I’ve had a low-grade headache. Headaches are a possible side effect of Minoxidil, probably due to the fact that it lowers blood pressure. Even though you just spray Minoxidil on your head, the ingredients can be absorbed systemically to some degree. The fact that a topical solution is giving me headaches is a pretty good indicator of that. There are some other possible rare but severe systemic side effects from Spectral DNC, as well as from Rogaine. I was looking up when/if the headache would go away on Google, and I discovered all of these people talking about Rogaine causing accelerated aging, wrinkles, enlarged pores, dark circles, and bags under the eyes. OMG! The horror! Do I want to be bald or do I want a face full of wrinkles? I know thinning hair and massive wrinkles run in my family, so I definitely can’t rely on good genes to help me out.
Does science show Rogaine causes wrinkles?
I spent hours trying to track down scientific studies that show the link between Minoxidil and aging. Apparently Minoxidil can cause a degradation of skin’s collagen, which is what would probably cause the accelerated aging. From what I’ve read, the studies used a much higher concentration of Minoxidil than you would apply daily, and I haven’t found any studies that actually test applying topical Rogaine and studying the results on people’s skin. Skin problems are not listed as any of the side effects on the packaging of Rogaine or Spectral DNC. All I know is that a bunch of random people on the internet are reporting problems. Maybe these people are obsessed with their hair, like I am, and they now also spend more time looking at their faces in the mirror, and they just didn’t notice the wrinkles that have always been there, but I doubt that’s the case most of the time.
Now normally I wouldn’t completely trust some random people on the internet, but what if it’s true??? The problem with wrinkles is that they’re really hard to get rid of. That’s why I spend so much time talking about prevention. Maybe your skin would improve a little bit if you stopped the Rogaine, but wrinkles are usually pretty permanent. I don’t know if I’m willing to take that chance?? But I don’t want to be bald either. When I was using the 2% Rogaine, I didn’t notice that I had an increase in wrinkles, but some days I’ll look in the mirror and think I look 50, while other days I think I look 25. But overall, I don’t recall a dramatic change. A lot of people don’t report the increase in skin problems for at least a year of use, though. With Rogaine, if it works, you need to use it forever or you will lose the new hair/thicker hair that you gained, so that’s a lot of potential wrinkles, if it really does cause them.
At this point I’m still freaking out and don’t know what to do. A rational person would quit the Minoxidil because of the headaches. But I’m not rational - I’m desperate for hair and nice skin. Maybe I will cut back to just once a day, even though the directions say you must use it twice a day. Maybe I will just test one very small patch of my hair for the next few months – just to see if it even works on my hair. If I don’t see any results, I will quit using it again. If I see results, then I’ll be at a crossroads – risk wrinkles for thicker hair? If the headaches never go away, I will probably have to stop using it anyway, or I may quit the Spectral DNC and pick up some 5% Rogaine to see if that reduces the headaches. Finally, when applying Rogaine, make sure to let it dry before geting into bed, to prevent it from getting on your pillow and then getting onto your face. Also make sure you wipe away any extra if it drips onto your forehead, and wash your hands with soap and water after applying the solution.
I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about hair loss because it’s so upsetting, but have you used Rogaine? If so, have you seen a negative impact on your skin? What are you doing to treat your hair loss?