Rogaine (minoxidil) has been a go-to product for head hair regrowth for many years. Typically used for hereditary hair loss, Rogaine works by generating hair regrowth while also preventing further hair loss.

Now there’s buzz on the internet that the product may work on eyebrows, too.

Sparse eyebrows are common with age, but they can also be linked to underlying health conditions, such as hypothyroidism. Rogaine isn’t an established treatment for eyebrow hair loss, and it hasn’t been approved for this purpose. Still, some people insist that it works wonders.

Let’s take a closer look at what the research says about this trendy eyebrow treatment.

Rogaine traditionally works by generating new hair growth at the scalp. While Rogaine isn’t designed for eyebrows, researchers are looking at the role of minoxidil for the treatment of eyebrow hypotrichosis (sparse or thin hair).

One study looked at the efficacy of minoxidil 3 percent for eyebrows and compared it to another hair loss treatment called bimatoprost (Latisse) in a 0.03 percent concentration. After 16 weeks, about 50 percent of participants saw hair regeneration nearly equally with both products. Based on this one clinical study, Rogaine appears to modestly increase eyebrow growth and is comparable to Latisse.

A subsequent study compared Rogaine with a placebo to see if minoxidil can really treat eyebrows. Forty participants applied a 2 percent concentration to their brows over a period of 16 weeks. At the end of the study, participants who used Rogaine saw better results overall. The researchers deemed that, based on these results, Rogaine can be a safe and effective treatment for eyebrows.

Rogaine comes in 2 percent to 5 percent concentrations. Start with a 2-percent concentration. Your dermatologist can help you determine if you need to increase the strength if you’re not getting the desired results.

To work effectively, Rogaine must be applied daily. Discontinuing the product or applying just once in a while can actually disrupt the process by leading to hair loss but no regrowth in its place.

Apply carefully with either a small cosmetic stick or cotton swab. Wash hands thoroughly when you’re done.

Rogaine is designed for hair on the head, and one of the most common side effects at this location is scalp irritation. These effects can also occur on other parts of the skin where the product is used. The skin around your eyebrows (especially around the arches) is also likely at risk because it’s a more sensitive area.

Side effects from applying Rogaine to your eyebrows may include:

  • burning
  • dryness
  • itchiness
  • redness
  • scaling

Still, researchers in one study on minoxidil and eyebrows noted minimal side effects from the product.

It’s also possible to accidentally get the product on other parts of your face. As a result, you may end up seeing hair growth in these areas. You can help minimize this risk by using a cotton swab for a more precise application around the eyebrows.

It’s crucial that you don’t get the product in your eyes. If this happens, flush your eye immediately. If you have pain or swelling that persists, go to an emergency or urgent care center.

Rogaine may be harmful if used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before using Rogaine.

You should also take precautions if you have sensitive skin or skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea.

Depending on the severity of your thinning eyebrows, you may make some lifestyle changes or see a dermatologist for treatment.

Be sure to brush your brows with a spoolie (eyebrow brush) every day. You should also avoid over-grooming with waxing or plucking. While it’s a good idea to fill in your eyebrows with a brow pencil, you don’t want to press too hard during the application — this can cause more tears to the hair follicles.

You may also want to check out these five methods for growing thicker eyebrows. If home remedies don’t work, see your dermatologist. They might recommend other options that may help for hair loss, such as:

  • laser treatments
  • hair transplants
  • platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
  • Latisse
  • supplements, such as folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids
  • hair loss medications, such as finasteride and spironolactone

For thinning brows, Rogaine is being touted online as a way to help regrow eyebrow hairs from the comfort of your own home. There’s not a lot of evidence to support this use, but studies done so far suggest that it may modestly improve eyebrow hair growth. It needs to be applied carefully so it doesn't get in the eyes or other parts of the face. And some people can experience skin irritation where it’s applied.

Hair growth on any part of the body requires a bit of time and patience. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it takes about a year to see full results from using Rogaine on a daily basis. As your hair goes through the regeneration process, you may see increased hair loss within the first two months and then slowly start seeing hair regrowth. Such result patterns have been noted with hair on the head and will also likely translate to eyebrow hairs.