Regaine vs Rogaine: What’s the Difference?

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
19th November 2020

Effective in over 9/10 men, our hair treatments are clinically proven to help you keep and grow your hair.

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What’s the difference between Regaine and Rogaine? It’s simple: there isn’t one. Rogaine is just the name that Regaine goes by in the US. The actual active ingredient – namely Minoxidil – is the same across the two different products.

Minoxidil is a treatment for male pattern baldness that works by encouraging blood flow to your scalp. With more blood flowing, oxygen and nutrients are brought with it, giving your hair follicles the vital resources to stay healthy. It is this simple mechanism that can improve your hair count.

Both Regaine and Rogaine come as a solution or as a foam. The ‘Extra Strength’ option is the most popular, with a 5% Minoxidil solution, while ‘Normal Strength’ is for those who experience side effects from the stronger alternative. 

Regaine vs Rogaine: Two Names for the Same Hair Loss Treatment

Despite an increasing number of new hair loss treatments on the market, only two are really reliable. One is Finasteride and the other, Minoxidil. So, where does Rogaine vs Regaine – two of the most famous names in the hair loss market – come in?

As Propecia is for Finasteride, Regaine and Rogaine are the brand names by which Minoxidil is sold. And, actually, there’s no difference between the two. Both products are produced by Johnson & Johnson. While in the UK, we know the product as Regaine, in the US the alternative is preferred. Don’t ask us why.

In this article, we’re going to talk you through what you can expect from both Regaine and Rogaine: their strength, their application, and how the science by which they are powered.

Minoxidil: The Active Ingredient behind Regaine and Rogaine

Both Regaine and Rogaine tackle androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness (MPB), a form of hereditary hair loss that is driven by genes and by hormonal changes in the male body. They do this with their active ingredient, Minoxidil.

While Finasteride tackles DHT, the hormone responsible for MPB, Minoxidil works slightly differently. It leaves your hormones alone and tackles balding by addressing the health of the affected areas – i.e. your hairline and the top of the scalp.

Minoxidil is the only topical hair loss product that promotes hair regrowth by encouraging blood flow to your scalp. It is a vasodilator, meaning that it widens your blood vessels, promoting a fuller supply of oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles. By doing this, it stimulates these follicles and encourages them to move from what’s known as their ‘rest phase’ back to their ‘growth phase’ – the moment in their growth cycle in which they actually produce new hair.

One of the famous clinical trials into the drug put its efficacy at 60%. However, in another study of the Minoxidil 5% solution, 74% of participants noticed an improvement in hair coverage. Meanwhile, over 90% said that their new hair growth was very effective, effective, or moderately effective.

Regaines and Rogaines: Knowing What You are Buying

In all Regaine and Rogaine products, the ingredient that really makes the difference, therefore, is Minoxidil. Despite the different names, it is this that matters in tackling that thinning hair.

Yet, these products come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and it is worth covering the benefits of each here. For example, where one strength might suit most people, you might prefer a gentler alternative. Let’s look at your options.

The Different Strengths

The first thing you should look out for when considering the right Minoxidil treatment for you is the strength. Depending on your overall health, your susceptibility to side effects, or your hair-care needs, different options are appropriate.

Minoxidil ‘Extra Strength’

It’s a bit of a misnomer, because there’s not much extra about it: Regaine or Rogaine ‘Extra Strength’ is, in fact, the normal. It is the 5% Minoxidil solution, and it is preferred by the majority of men seeking hair loss treatment.

That’s because it is the most effective. According to one study, those on the 5% solution showed 45% more hair growth compared to those on the 2%. And they responded to the treatment much more quickly.

However, this is not appropriate for all men. As with every medicine under the sun, Minoxidil can cause side effects that will affect some men more than others. These can include chest pain, weight gain, and allergic reactions in the area of application. Using a less strong alternative can reduce the risk of these side effects.

‘Normal Strength’

Regaine and Rogaine ‘Normal Strength’ is actually the lower strength offering. It uses a 2% solution of Minoxidil rather than a 5%. As a result, while it is not quite as effective, it is much better tolerated by those who have experienced side effects from the stronger product.

This is particularly important for those with low blood pressure. As a vasodilator, Minoxidil inevitably lowers your blood pressure (which is why it is sometimes used as a treatment for high blood pressure). Yet, if your blood pressure is low already, this makes the side effects of the treatment much more likely.

The lower strength treatment ameliorates this, without excessively affecting the ability of the drug to help your hairline.

Regaine Foam, Scalp Solution, or Spray

Where the famous Finasteride is usually taken as a pill, Minoxidil is a topical solution. This means that you apply it directly to the affected area – i.e. your scalp. However, where there are different ways that you can do this. And the most common offered by Regaine are the scalp foam, the liquid solution, and the topical spray.

The solution was the first product on the market and is slightly more effective, as it contains propylene glycol, a compound that enables the liquid to be more easily absorbed by your skin. However, some people are sensitive to the substance. That’s why the foam was invented, to enable easy application and Minoxidil absorption while limiting side effects.

However, these methods have both been superseded by the topical spray, which you can apply directly to your scalp without getting your hands dirty. In all cases – solution, foam, or spray – application needs to happen twice daily. But if an easy application will ensure you keep it up regularly, the spray is probably your best bet.

The Complete Hair Loss Plan

Finasteride & Minoxidil

This powerful combo promotes hair growth by blocking DHT – a hormone linked to hair loss – and by increasing blood flow around your follicles.


Best for
Overall thinning hair
Effectiveness
Over 9/10 Men
Contains
One-a-day tablets (Finasteride) / Daily Spray (Minoxidil)

Key Takeaways: Regaine vs Rogaine

So, Regaine vs Rogaine – really, it’s a false opposition. The two alternatives are really just different names for the same thing. What powers both, though, is Minoxidil, a topical solution famous for its effective treatment of male pattern baldness. Whether it’s a foam, solution, or spray, it’s this that will be doing the heavy lifting. And that’s good news – because the treatment is known to do the job very well.

References

  1. ResearchGate GmbH -A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11191067_A_randomized_clinical_trial_of_5_topical_minoxidil_versus_2_topical_minoxidil_and_placebo_in_the_treatment_of_androgenetic_alopecia_in_men

  2. EMC -Regaine for Men Extra Strength Scalp Solution 5% w/v Cutaneous Solution: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/5765/smpc#INDICATIONS

  3. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) -EFFECTIVENESS OF 5% MINOXIDIL IN TREATING MALE-PATTERN HAIR LOSS: https://ishrs.org/2012/08/26/effectiveness-of-5-minoxidil-in-treating-male-pattern-hair-loss/

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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