Aside from Rogaine and Propecia – the two most popular treatments on the market – there are other products out there which claim to have positive results in the treatment of hair loss. Lipogaine is one such product, and in this article I’ll show you if it works.
I’ll look at how it works, its ingredients, how it compares to other products (including Rogaine and Kirkland Minoxidil), and how you can use it effectively.
What is Lipogaine?
Lipogaine is a product line for thinning and receding hair that consists of a number of products, for both men and women.
The main products in the line are Lipogaine, Lipogaine Sensitive, and Lipogaine Big 3 Shampoo.
How Does It Work?
Lipogaine is a combination treatment that combats hair loss in two ways:
- It reduces DHT levels on the scalp
- It stimulates hair growth by increased circulation
For men and women with Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), DHT is the main culprit that causes pattern baldness (1). This is an androgen produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme) interact.
The DHT itself isn’t really the problem; instead, it’s the sensitivity to DHT that’s the issue.
As DHT makes contact with the sensitive hair follicles’ androgen receptors, inflammation occurs.
As the inflammation continues (which it will if left untreated), a process known as hair miniaturization takes place (2). Eventually, the hair follicles can no longer produce hair and baldness occurs.
In addition to the hair miniaturization, circulation to the inflamed follicles decreases. As such, oxygen and essential nutrients have difficulty being delivered, and further damage to the follicle occurs.
As claimed by Lipogaine, both of these issues can be treated with use of the product.
While the science behind the product is certainly important to consider, it’s also nice to be able to see how real users of the product have fared.
Some users are quite gung-ho about the product.
While others are more cautiously optimistic, as they’ve seen little to no results in about one month of use.
Overall, though, the reviews seem to be quite positive in regards to Lipogaine use.
This is likely due to its infusion of natural ingredients, because even if minoxidil doesn’t work for the user (as its only effective in 40 percent of users), the natural ingredients may (3).
As balding is a common issue in the male population – two-thirds of American men will experience some level of baldness by 35 – it makes sense that most hair loss products are developed with men in mind (4).
The same can be said for Lipogaine.
In fact, Lipogaine has gone one step further than many other product ranges and created two separate product lines – Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women.
As with other minoxidil-containing products, the Lipogaine for Men line uses a 5 percent solution of minoxidil.
Lipogaine For Women
Lipogaine is a minoxidil-based topical hair loss treatment. As the only FDA-approved treatment for hair loss in women, minoxodil more recognizably is sold under the name of Rogaine.
Lipogaine claims to be a huge improvement on this popular hair loss treatment.
Compared to Rogaine, the Lipogaine solution that contains wider variety of ingredients that help with female hair loss.
Also, for those of us with sensitive scalps, Lipogaine claims to be a more tolerable formulation for our finicky skin.
Because I and probably most of my readers have a sensitive scalp, I will be focusing on that version of Lipogaine for Sensitive Scalp in this review.
While the ingredients within each product vary mildly, here are the ingredients for the two main products, Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women:
Water, propylene glycol, ethanol, minoxidil 5 percent (2 percent for Women), proprietary herb DHT blocker blend (saw palmetto extract, beta-sitosterol, oleic acid, linolenic acid, apple polyphenol), biotin, niacin, adenosine, vitamin B6 and B12, phosphatidylcholine.
As you can see, a great deal of the ingredients are natural ingredients and nutrients. However, it does contain a few harsher ingredients, such as propylene glycol and ethanol. And, of course minoxidil.
Now, let’s look more closely at some of the shampoo’s key ingredients.
Minoxidil is the FDA approved and most widely used ingredient in hair regrowth products as of today. It was first used as an oral drug to lower blood pressure (5). It was soon found to stimulate hair growth.
Rigorous clinical studies have confirmed this “side effect” and its FDA approvals for hair re-growth as topical solutions were granted (6).
Castor oil has long been used as a natural remedy to combat hair loss and help hair grow fast. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties make it beneficial against folliculitis, dandruff, and scalp infections, the most common causes of hair loss (7). Caster oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which helps increase circulation to the scalp and improve hair growth.
Ricinoleic acid also helps balance scalp pH and replenish the scalp’s natural oils and undo some of the damage of harsh chemical hair products. The antioxidants in castor oil also support the keratin in hair and help make hair stronger, smoother, and less frizzy (8).
Saw palmetto is a palm plant native to North America and primarily grows along the Atlantic coast in Georgia and Florida. The active ingredients are believed to be found in the plant’s brown-black berries.
It’s a popular dietary supplement for conditions associated with benign prostate gland enlargement (called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) (9). This is linked to AGA in that both conditions are linked to DHT levels (10).
Biotin is a vitamin often linked to nail, hair, and skin health (11). And while it may not directly lead to hair growth (though, the link has yet to be disproven), it supports a healthy environment on the scalp.
While retinol itself may not promote hair growth, it can be quite helpful when combined with minoxidil.
More specifically, a 2007 study showed that retinol enhances penetration of minoxidil when applied simultaneously to the scalp (12).
GLA, ALA, Linoleic Acid, and Oleic Acid
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), linoleic, and oleic acid are essential fatty acids found in plant oils. They have been shown to interfere with the binding of thyroid hormones and estrogens to proteins which effectively lowers the amount of free testosterone and DHT in the body (13).
Lipogaine vs. Lipogaine Sensitive
Alongside the two main products of Lipogaine for Men and Lipogaine for Women, the product also offers a sensitive product for both genders.
As a minoxidil-containing treatment, Lipogaine contains the ingredient propylene glycol. This ingredient has been linked to skin irritations, both mild and moderate, and is a common issue for those using Rogaine and other minoxidil brands.
Just as Rogaine created their foam product to remove propylene glycol from the formula, so too did Lipogaine. This new line is known as Lipogaine Sensitive, and it’s an effective treatment for those who react negatively to the regular product line.
Considering that the sensitive product line has the same dose of minoxidil as the original product line, there’s no reason to doubt its effectiveness.
In fact, you may experience better results as your scalp won’t be inflamed or otherwise irritated by the propylene glycol.
Big 3 Shampoo vs. Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo
Aside from the Lipogaine and Lipogaine Sensitive solutions, Lipogaine also has two shampoo formulas: Big 3 and Hair Loss Prevention.
Both of these products offer additional hair growth support; however, they do so in different ways.
The Big 3 Shampoo is for actively stimulating the growth of hair. It’s a blend of saw palmetto, emu oil, castor oil, and nettle extract.
On the other hand, the Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo is more concerned with strengthening your hair and creating a healthy environment for new hair to grow.
The shampoo you choose will depend on your goals, though you could also alternate between the two.
These shampoos can be used for both men and women.
Wet your hair thoroughly, apply shampoo to your scalp, and lather generously. Rinse completely.
Apply shampoo again, and gently massage into your hair and scalp for one minute. Let sit for 2-4 minutes (or 3-5 minutes for the Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo), and then rinse completely.
The Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo is recommended to be used 3 – 4 times per week, though The Big 3 Shampoo has no recommended usage frequency.
Lipogaine vs. Rogaine
Of course, many individuals with hair problems like to consider all options available to them. This include the big two – Rogaine and Propecia – but also treatments such as Lipogaine. So, how do Lipogaine and Rogaine compare?
First, Lipogaine does contain minoxidil. This is Rogaine’s active ingredient, so both drugs will work similarly in this regard.
In this regard, Lipogaine seemingly has a leg up on Rogaine.
While no studies have been done on Lipogaine specifically, a number of its ingredients have been studied. For example:
- Minoxidil has been proven to stimulate circulation, and it may even prolong the anagen phase of hair growth (14, 15).
- Saw Palmetto may be just as effective as Propecia, as it inhibits DHT and even targets free radicals (16, 17).
- Linoleic and Oliec Acids have been shown to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT) (18). With 5AR inhibited, less DHT is hair loss is slowed or even stopped.
Lipogaine vs. Kirkland
Another big name (albeit, non-brand) in the world of hair loss treatments is Kirkland Minoxidil. This is a generic form of Rogaine and, as such, it works just the same.
So, how does Lipogaine compare to Kirkland?
Similar to Rogaine, Kirkland has one major mechanism; that’s stimulation of circulation to the scalp.
However, it’s very likely that Lipogaine works better than Kirkland due to the fact that it has a two-pronged approach to the treatment.
Side Effects and Considerations
The side effects of Lipogaine can include, but aren’t limited to, the side effects to minoxidil.
The most common of these are dermatological in nature, including itching, redness, and flaking (19).
A few of the more severe side effects include unwanted facial/body hair, dizziness, fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, chest pain, swelling of hands/feet, unusual weight gain, tiredness, and difficulty breathing especially when lying down.
Stop using any minoxidil product immediately if this happens.
The sensitive formula does not include propylne glycol, which is responsible for many of the common negative reactions to other minoxidil formulations.
Also, Lipogaine (excluding only Lipogaine Shampoo) contains alcohol, which will cause burning or irritation of the eyes. If the hair regrowth solution accidentally gets into your eyes, rinse thoroughly with cool tap water.
In addition, you may experience side effects associated to other ingredients, such as saw palmetto or castor oil. While reactions to such natural products are rare, it can happen.
If you experience a severe reaction while using this product – such as difficulty breathing, hives, nausea/vomiting, or swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat – seek medical attention immediately and cease use of the product.
And while not a severe side effect, there is one more common reaction to the start of Lipogaine: an increase in shedding.
A well-known “side effect” of Lipogaine products (and, really, any minoxidil-containing treatment) is shedding. Why does it occur, and what does it mean?
First, it’s important to understand the hair growth cycle (20).
There are three main stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
- Anagen. This is the longest stage of the hair cycle (lasting 3-5 years), and it’s the only phase with active growth.
- Catagen. This is the shortest phase of the hair cycle (lasting about 10 days), and it’s simply a transition from active growth to rest.
- Telogen. This is a stage that lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and it involves rest of the hair follicles and shedding (about 80 – 100 hairs per day).
Thankfully, each hair follicle goes through the stages independently (otherwise, you’d be completely bald a few times each decade!).
But what does this have to do with shedding?
In order for your hair to enter the active phase of growth, it must first go through telogen phase and shed dead hairs. When you begin using a treatment such as Lipogaine that stimulates hair growth, you’re essentially pushing your follicles into anagen.
As a result, you’ll experience more shedding than usual.
However, the shedding will subside after a few months (typically, by month four). If it doesn’t, it’s best to speak with a physician.
How to Apply
For best results, you’ll want to apply the product as directed. Take a look at the instructions below.
When applying Lipogaine, the most important part of the process is to ensure maximum scalp exposure. To get this, here’s a step-by-step rundown of the application process:
Step 1: Part your hair into one or more sections. If your hair is long enough, consider using a bobby pin to hold the hair back firmly from the thinning/balding area.
Step 2: Use the included dropper to collect 1mL of Lipogaine.
Step 3: Using the dropper, add Lipogaine to the thinning areas of your scalp.
Step 4: Spread the Lipogaine evenly. There’s no need to massage, but you want a thin film of liquid to come into contact with all parts of the thinning/balding areas of your scalp.
Step 5: Wash your hands.
You’ll want to follow these steps twice per day, using no more than 1mL of product each time. Be sure each application is at least 8 hours apart, and let the product fully dry before using any other products on your scalp.
The application process for women is identical to men, but you’ll have to pay more attention to properly parting your hair. You want the majority of the product to make its way to the scalp.
Step 1: Part your hair into one or more rows. It’s best to use a bobby pin or hair clip to separate the hair most effectively, and to expose as much scalp as possible.
Step 2: Collect 1mL of Lipogaine in the included dropper.
Step 3: Add Lipogaine to the thinning areas of your scalp.
Step 4: Spread the Lipogaine evenly with your fingertips. You want to be sure a thin layer of solution covers the entire section of scalp.
Step 5: Wash your hands.
As with the men’s solution, apply twice per day with at least 8 hours between each application. Be sure to use only 1mL of solution each time.
NOTE: It’s interesting to note that Lipogaine for Women is the only minoxidil-containing product I’ve seen that advises women to use the same dose and application frequency as men.
This is because women are more sensitive to minoxidil. If you do experience side effects, cut back to once per day to see if that lessens them.
Can Lipogaine Be Used on the Hairline?
A common area of thinning for both men and women is the hairline. However, Rogaine and other minoxidil-containing products are only claimed to be useful for the crown. Does this mean Lipogaine can’t be used on the hairline?
Fortunately, Lipogaine, Rogaine, and other such products can be used on the hairline. Minoxidil applied to the hairline has been proven effective with very little risk of side effect.
In fact, a 2016 study showed that minoxidil used on the scalp had very favorable results (21):
As for the other ingredients within Lipogaine (such as saw palmetto, apply polyphenol, biotin, etc.), there’s no reason these cannot be applied to the hairline, either.
Keep in mind that the hairline does tend to have thinner skin (particularly near the temples), and this may increase your risk for side effects.
How to Apply to the Hairline
There are no official directions for the application of Lipogaine to the hairline. However, I can offer a few tips based on my knowledge of minoxidil and other such products.
First, you only need to apply a small amount to the hairline. All you need is enough solution for a thin layer, so two or three drops from the dropper should do the job.
Second, while Lipogaine doesn’t require massage, it doesn’t hurt to get the blood flow going. This will be especially helpful near the temples, and it’s a process that only takes a few minutes of your day.
Costs and Where to Buy
While Lipogaine Shampoo is seemingly available in multiple locations (including Amazon and eBay), it appears as if the solution (both Men’s and Women’s) is only available from the developer.
This may limit availability for individuals in certain countries, though Lipogaine does claim to mail to many countries around the world.
Similarly, only being available from the retailer will limit any savings as there is no competition.
A one-month supply of the product is $25 for men, and $20 for women. If you require the sensitive formula, the price will jump to $29.95 for men and $25 for women.
The Lipogaine Shampoo products are in the same price range, with Big 3 being $25 and Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo being $25.95.
Lipogaine is a product quickly growing in popularity, and one that seems to rival the results of Rogaine. Does this mean it’s the right product for you?
As with many of the products featured on this blog, whether Lipogaine will work for you is dependent on many factors. This is especially true if the underlying cause of your hair loss is unknown.
This is why I recommend you consider all of your options, and perhaps even speak with a doctor before you make a decision.
But most important, you need to discover the true cause of your hair loss so as to treat it as its source.
Do you have questions about Lipogaine? Please leave them in the comments below.