Hair loss hits both men and women, albeit unequally. It’s true that men suffer from hair loss and baldness more than women. As a society, we’re much more familiar with the phrase “male pattern baldness” than “female pattern hair loss” even though both exist. This is also why there are so many hair loss products out there that target male consumers. Products like Rogaine and SOMETHING ELSE explicitly state in one way or another that their products are for men. So where does that leave women, and can women use Minoxidil (the main component of anti-hair loss products) the same way men do?
If you’re in the business of selling hair loss supplements and bath products, you’re in luck: women can use the same products. It’s in the marketing and presentation that will act as the deciding factor between who buys your product, not the ingredients. And if you’re a new business, this might just be the targeted problem-solution product that’ll scale your venture to new heights.
How Minoxidil Is Marketed to Men vs. Women
We see marketing differences based on sex all the time. From bath products like soap and shampoo to kitchen products and utensils. Ultimately, these products do the exact same thing and often contain the exact percentage of each ingredient. The difference lies with marketing and presentation.
Marketing Hair Loss Supplements to Men
Hair loss products for men are a multi-billion-dollar industry. As the number of men experiencing hair loss increases, so does the demand for products that can help them combat the problem.
Losing your hair can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. It is estimated that roughly 80% of men experience some degree of hair loss by age 35, and nearly 50% of men over 60 have experienced significant hair loss. Hair is often seen as an important component of one’s physical appearance, which can lead to feelings of depression, anger, and even embarrassment in people who are losing their hair. In fact, a recent study found that men with a greater degree of hair loss were more likely to report negative feelings such as stress and embarrassment.
As the demand for products such as Rogaine and Propecia increases, the need for effective marketing strategies to sell these products also increases. In fact, research suggests that about 80% of people who suffer from androgenetic alopecia (commonly known as male pattern baldness; MPHL) are not currently using any treatment method or product designed to combat their condition.
In order to successfully market these products, it is important that marketers understand how male customers view their situation. Because of the tip-toe-y nature of selling hair regrowth products to men, marketing tactics have to be bold and strong and…manly. Usually, this results in ads with strong, dark colors and masculine men who go on multiple dates and go about their daily lives with their chest out, full of confidence.
But women? That’s a different marketing story.
Marketing Minoxidil to Women
There’s a lot of competition in the hair loss market, with dozens of products to choose from. But there’s one segment of the market that most companies ignore — women.
Treating hair loss is a billion-dollar industry worldwide, and men account for a huge chunk of those sales. This makes sense — we’re often taught that most baldness is the result of genetics, and women simply don’t go bald as often as men. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an untapped market out there for hair loss products targeting women.
40% of women suffer from permanent hair loss (androgenic alopecia; female hair loss; FPHL) in their lifetimes. That’s in comparison to 70% of men. It’s no wonder why hair loss products are marketed so heavily towards men. But why should we leave out the whopping 40% of women who suffer from hair loss?
Women also suffer from thinning hair and temporary baldness from other factors in life. Alopecia areata are both very common and can even happen after giving birth. Luckily, it’s not permanent and can be treated. However, at the time we’re sure the sufferer isn’t thinking too much on the bright side. They want a solution ASAP.
Marketing to women isn’t about the masculinity and strength that’s found in ads and packaging for hair loss supplements. Instead, it’s a beauty campaign. Feeling and looking younger. What marketing for both sexes do have in common is gaining confidence. There’s no doubt that losing hair takes a blow to one’s confidence, and these products should surely give that back to the consumer.
Minoxidil, the Solution for Both Sexes
Minoxidil is a prescription medication approved by the FDA to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. However, it was discovered in the 1980s that applying it directly to the scalp could help with hair loss due to male pattern baldness (MPB). Since then, more studies have established that it can also be used effectively by women as well.
Minoxidil works as a vasodilator, opening up blood vessels and allowing them to flow more freely throughout the body. In this case, blood can flow more easily to the affected areas of the scalp and salvage the living hair
Can Women Use Minoxidil for Hair Loss?
Yes, women can use minoxidil for hair loss. Minoxidil is a popular ingredient in many hair loss products for both men and women (Rogaine for women). It’s typically marketed as a treatment for male pattern baldness, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used by women who experience hair loss.
Minoxidil has been available since the 1980s. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved this drug as a prescription-only treatment for high blood pressure, but it was quickly realized that minoxidil was also an effective treatment for hair loss. It causes blood to flow more freely in the scalp, which leads to increased hair growth. This medication comes in topical form and can be applied directly to the scalp.
Topical and Pill Forms
There are two ways to sell (and consume) Minoxidil that apply equally to both men and women.
As an over-the-counter drug that you can use at home, topical Minoxidil comes in two forms: a liquid Minoxidil solution and Minoxidil foam. The maximum concentration of minoxidil in these two products is 5% and 2%, respectively. This method is more time consuming, so when marketing either of the topical solutions, it’s a good idea to mention how it can be added to morning/even routines easily. It’s best to avoid saying “fast-acting” or things like this because the FDA will come after your product for making untruthful claims on your marketing/packaging. However, you can say “absorbs in seconds”, especially with regard to the foam.
The other method is a pill form factor. This one is prescription-based, so unless you work as a tele-healthcare provider, it might be one to avoid. Having said that, it’s not incredibly difficult to sell prescription-based medications online. You’ll need to invest in the right telehealth software as well as become licensed and insured in the states you wish to sell in. You’ll also need to decide how you want to get it done. Will you employ your own physician to dole out prescriptions? If you only fill and ship the meds, how will you verify the validity of the prescription? These are just a couple of questions to get you thinking and aren’t meant to deter you from opening an online pharmacy.
If you do decide to work as a prescription-enabled telemedicine e-pharmacy, you can sell more than just Minoxidil. Finasteride is a popular drug that promotes new hair growth by targeting anagen, the growth phase of the hair follicle. There are many treatment options for hair loss. Spironolactone is another, albeit less common, treatment that slows down the production of androgens, which are hormones that can lead to hair loss. There are other active ingredients that help with hair loss out there. Do some research to find out what your customers are interested in and what you can potentially sell. You can even have your pharmacist give patient-specific medical advice remotely, like finding the cause of hair loss, keeping your customers in your ecosystem.
Also, please be upfront about potential side effects, like weight gain, unwanted hair growth, and allergic reactions, for any type of hair loss formulation you sell. It’s required by the FDA, and even if you find a workaround you’ll most likely look at a lawsuit from the consumer.
OTC Hair Loss Treatments Require a Specific Merchant Account
You can’t open up an online pharmacy and start selling Minoxidil for women with just any merchant account available. This is a pharmaceutical product, therefore standard merchant accounts will refuse to operate with you if they find out (which they will).
OTC pharmaceutical sales are high-risk, making it hard to get a merchant account. Fortunately, there are high-risk merchant accounts available specifically for selling products like Minoxidil. DirectPayNet has a long history of working directly with payment processors and banks to provide the account, processing, and gateway solutions companies like yours need to operate successfully.
Contact the expert merchant service representatives here at DPN and get set up with a shopping cart that simply works. You’ll get the processing power you need to operate your e-pharmacy storefront so you can focus on selling your products, not fixing you