Nioxin vs Rogaine

If you’re considering investing in a hair loss product, then you’ve likely come across these two familiar names. Both Nioxin and Rogaine are popular names within the household and there’s no escaping their popularity. They both work for treating hair loss – but is there a difference between them, and is one better than the other?

Generally speaking, Nioxin and Rogaine actually work in very different ways to each other. Whilst Nioxin is the better choice for those experiencing temporary hair loss and thinning, Rogaine is a far better choice for those experiencing permanent hair loss like male pattern baldness.

While one of these is likely better for your circumstance than the other, you can be forgiven for getting confused between the two. Lets have a look at the two different hair loss products to find out which one you should opt for if you’re experiencing some form of hair loss.

Nioxin vs Rogaine – The Round Up


You’ve likely heard of Rogaine before – or if you’re in the UK or other countries, you’ll likely know it as Regaine. It’s by far the most popular brand of the hair loss medication minoxidil, which Rogaine popularised in the late 80s. It’s the only FDA approved product that you can use for hair loss, so it has the credentials to be worth considering.

Rogaine is the main hair loss product that you’ll want to start using if you’re dealing with male pattern baldness. Whilst you can consider other options like Finasteride, you’ll need to get a prescription for this to be able to use it. This is easy enough, and you may want to consider using Fin if you’re dealing with male pattern baldness – though it does have some side effects.

This is one of the reasons that many people choose to use Minoxidil – it has minimal side effects when compared to other hair loss products. The main side effects that you may experience from using minoxidil are;

  • Headaches – The most common side effect that you might experience from using Rogaine is getting headaches. This is likely because of the increase of blood flow to the scalp. Not all people experience from using Rogaine, but it is the most likely side effect you’re going to experience.
  • Scalp irritation – Another possible side effect of using Rogaine on your scalp is that you may experience some type of scalp irritation when you’re using their product. This is unlikely to be due to the minoxidil itself, but the other ingredients in the product. If you do experience this, then you could look at using other brands of minoxidil like Kirkland.
  • Weight gain – Although there is very little research regarding this, some people have reported gaining weight whilst using minoxidil. This is because it can cause you to retain water and salt in your body, which will in turn make you gain weight. If you do experience this whilst using Rogaine, you should consult your doctor. You’ll either have to stop the treatment or start using diuretic pills to help flush the retained water out of your body.

How does Rogaine work?

Essentially, the reason that people start to deal with male pattern baldness is because their hair follicles are shrinking and beginning to die. This is a natural occurrence for all men, and the majority will start to go bald by their 60s.

Although there’s a lot of research proving that Minoxidil does work for permanent hair loss, there’s not a lot of understanding why. The most reasonable explanation seems to be that Rogaine increases the blood flow to the scalp. All of the extra blood flow allows the hair follicles to regenerate and it actually increases the size of the hair follicles, allowing your hair to grow through like it has in the past. This also helps to explain the side effects of Minoxidil, like headaches.

If you want Rogaine to be at it’s most effective, you really need to start using it at the first signs of baldness. If you do this, then you can stop baldness before it becomes too prevalent. It should go without saying that if you’re already full bald, then minoxidil isn’t going to magically bring back your Herculean locks. But if you’re just starting to lose your hair and want to slow the process, then opting to use Rogaine is a good place to start.


Nioxin is not a solution for permanent baldness. If you are dealing with this, you should consider using things that are proven to help prevent it. Minoxidil, Finasteride and Nizoral are the big 3 hair loss products that are going to make a difference if you need help with this.

But that doesn’t mean to say that Nioxin is useless, and it definitely has it’s place within the hair loss industry. Where? Well, Nioxin is a good choice if you’re dealing with temporary hair loss. This can be caused by stress, aging or a variety of other factors. If your hair is thinner than it used to be, then you could consider a good hair loss shampoo like Nioxin to help deal with this.

Like any other hair loss shampoo, Nioxin does have it’s possible side effects – though they’re your usual run of the mill side effects and you’re unlikely to experience them.

  • Red scalp – Probably the most common side effect of Nioxin is your scalp starting to go red and itchy. This is likely because one of the main ingredients in Nioxin is Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3. If you’ve ever heard of Niacin Flush then you’ll already be aware of it’s effect, but if not then it’s essentially just a rush of blood to the skin which causes it to redden or ‘flush’. It’s pretty common and it’s not dangerous, but it can be a bit of a nuisance if you’re dealing with it.
  • Hair Loss – The irony is that this shampoo, specifically designed for dealing with hair loss, can actually end up causing hair loss too! Don’t worry too much though – this hair loss is only in the initial first few weeks of using the product, at which point it will stop.
  • General irritation – Sometimes a shampoo just won’t work well with your skin. And with Nioxin, this is no different. Your scalp is a particularly sensitive area, which means that it’s prone to irritation. This could be to any of the ingredients that are contained in your shampoo, so don’t worry if it affects you; just stop using the product.

The side effects of using Nioxin are generally considered as minimal – they’re not that much different than other shampoos you might use.

How does Nioxin work?

The main way that Nioxin works is to thoroughly cleanse your scalp, giving your hair a better environment for growth. If your scalp is too oily and you have too much excess sebum, then this can undoubtedly be a cause of hair loss. Nioxin helps to ensure your scalp is clean, giving it a healthy environment for growth.

This isn’t the only way that Nioxin can help with your hair loss. It also contains a variety of other ingredients that can undoubtedly help. Things like salicylic acid, most commonly found as the anti psoriasis ingredient in Neutrogena’s T Sal, are also great for keeping your hair and scalp clean.

There are also various DHT blocking ingredients that you’ll find in Nioxin products that can help reduce the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Things like Nettle Extract and Zinc Ferment are all relevant ingredients you’ll find in Nioxin, and they can all have a positive impact on your hair loss. DHT blockers have been proven to work to reduce hair loss, and in some cases even reverse it entirely.

Of course, you’ll find an abundance of the usual suspects in Nioxin – the B Vitamins like Niacin (B3) and Biotin (B7) are ingredients in Nioxin. Whilst you might not experience any hair loss unless you’re already deficient in these vitamins, they can ensure that you’re getting enough.

Overall Verdict

It’s easy to see that if you’re dealing with permanent hair loss, then your best friend is going to be Rogaine. The effects of Nioxin on permanent hair loss are going to be negligible if any, so it’s not worth your investment – you’re far better off going for a Ketoconazole shampoo along with Rogaine if you want the best chance of combatting hair loss. But if you’re dealing with temporary hair loss, then Nioxin is one of the better hair loss shampoos out there.

Rogaine has stood the test of time as one of the best hair loss prevention methods around. Aside from expensive hair transplants, it’s one of the only options that’s proven to help put a stop to balding.

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