Finasteride For Hair Loss: Dose, Results, And Side Effects

You will be surprised to learn how this FDA-approved drug benefits your locks.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Rekha Yadav, BHMS Dr. Rekha Yadav Dr. Rekha YadavBHMS facebook_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
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Finasteride for hair regrowth has taken the world by storm. It is a prescription drug used in small doses to treat androgenic alopecia (1). Androgenic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss in men and women. It affects about 50 million men and 30 million women in the US (2). Many factors cause hair thinning and hair loss – genetics, diet, stress, hormones, etc. Finasteride has shown promising results in combating hair loss. But, is it safe? What are the side effects of this hair loss medication? Read on to get all the answers along with scientific data. Scroll down!

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Finasteride

What Is It?
A medication used to treat the symptoms of hair loss and enlarged prostate in men.

What Are Its Benefits?
It can reduce the risk of female and male pattern hair loss.

Who Can Use It?
It should not be taken without the proper consultation of your doctor.

How Often?
The dose and frequency of the medication depend on your healthcare provider.

Caution
It can cause erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual desire, swelling of breast tissues in men, and low blood pressure.

What Is Finasteride And How Does It Work?

Finasteride is an FDA-approved prescription drug used for treating androgenic alopecia. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone, the male sex hormone, to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (3). High levels of DHT shrink the hair follicles and shorten the hair cell growth cycle, making hair prone to falling (4). The drug may be an effective hair loss therapy to reduce the risk of female pattern hair loss in women and male pattern hair loss in men.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Finasteride was approved as a medication for enlarged prostate in 1992. It was only in 1997 that it was approved as a medication for treating androgenic alopecia in men.

But is this mechanism backed by any scientific evidence? Read on to know what research has to say about finasteride as a treatment for hair loss.

What Does Research Say About Finasteride For Hair Loss?

Finasteride, in laboratory experiments, has shown to reduce male pattern baldness (‘M-shaped’ balding) in men and female pattern baldness (thinning of hair throughout the scalp) in women. Let us have a quick glance at those studies.

Japanese scientists tested the effect of 1 mg Finasteride on 2,561 Japanese men with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Hair count increased greatly in 11% men, moderately in 36.5% men, and slightly in 39.5% men. Also, the response rate had improved with an increase in the treatment duration (5).

Another study by American scientists found that 1 mg/day of finasteride slowed hair loss and boosted hair growth in men over a 2-year treatment period (6). A review paper in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology observed that topical application of finasteride decreased plasma DHT in men and women (7).

Sixty-five men with androgenic alopecia were treated with a combination of finasteride 1 mg/day and topical application of 5% Minoxidil. Both the medications could treat mild to severe male pattern baldness (8).

Excessive testosterone production in some women may lead to irregular periods, hirsutism (hair on the face, chest, and back), and androgenic alopecia (9). Finasteride is not effective and possibly dangerous for women of childbearing age. However, a 67-year-old lady without hyperandrogenism (excess body testosterone) showed significant hair growth when treated with finasteride 5 mg for a year (10).

In another study, 37 pre-menopausal women were administered with 2.5 mg finasteride and an oral contraceptive. 62% of the patients showed a reduction in hair loss. Finasteride 5 mg/day administered to 87 pre-menopausal women for a year showed increased hair thickness and density in a separate study (11).

Finasteride, alone or with minoxidil, is an effective drug for treating male pattern baldness. However, more studies on women with larger sample sizes are warranted (considering their menopausal and hyperandrogenism status). But at what optimal dose does finasteride work? Keep reading to find out.

Finasteride Dose To Reduce Hair Loss

Finasteride may help reduce hair loss in men
Image: Shutterstock

1 mg of finasteride is the prescribed dose for androgenic alopecia or hair fall in men and women. Clinical studies have also shown that 1 mg of finasteride per day can promote hair growth and prevent further hair loss in men (12). But how long should you take finasteride to see results? Find out in the next segment.

How Long Does It Take To Work?

According to the studies mentioned above, finasteride may take a year or two to show significant results. Talk to your doctor to chart out a treatment course that is most beneficial for you. Here are a few before-and-after pictures of results from finasteride treatment.

Finasteride Hair Growth Results

Finasteride hair growth results picture 1
Image: YouTube @BenArthur
Finasteride hair growth results picture 2
Image: YouTube @amxr
Finasteride hair growth results
Image: IStock

Jonathan, a blogger, recalls his personal experience of working on a 50-day trial of using Finasteride and Minoxidil foam. He states that he started experiencing massive hair loss from a very young age. He did some research and started using the combination to cover up the hair loss. In the very early days, he started noticing less shedding and also the growth of thicker hair on the crown and hairline. He could see better scalp coverage as well. On day 34, he adds, “My hair is coming in much thicker at the crown of my head. I haven’t noticed too much going on at the hairline, but overall my hair is thicker and feels softer…Not only have I not seen any side effects, I have been getting results. Real results! (i).”

While low doses of finasteride may help with hair regrowth and improve hair density, the drug does come with its set of side effects. We have discussed the same in the following section.

Side Effects Of Finasteride

Finasteride may cause side effects like erectile dysfunction
Image: Shutterstock

Here are a few side effects finasteride may cause (3), (13), (14):

  • Erectile dysfunctioni  A condition where men have trouble maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. .
  • Decreased libidoi  An individual's overall sexual desire or urge, impacted by psychological, biological, and social aspects. .
  • Gynecomastia, or swelling of breast tissues in men.
  • Orthostatic hypotensioni  Low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up after sitting or lying down, causing dizziness. , or low blood pressure as one stands up.
  • External genital deformity in male offspring.

Note: The side effects may continue despite the discontinuation of the therapy (also called post-finasteride syndrome) (3).

Can Women Take Finasteride?

Women of childbearing age should avoid taking finasteride as it increases the risk of external genital deformity in male offspring (15). Pre-menopausal and/or post-menopausal women can go for doctor-prescribed finasteride for reducing androgenic alopecia, only if other treatment options are not effective.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Ensure you store Finasteride at room temperature between 59°F to 86°F.

If finasteride does not seem like the right fit for you, the following alternatives might help.

Other Treatments For Hair Loss

Here are some other hair loss treatment options you may consider:

  • Minoxidil: Can help treat early hair loss by stimulating new hair growth and preventing future hair loss (16).
  • Spironolactone: Stops further hair loss and improves hair volume in female pattern baldness (17).
  • Antibiotic Medications: Can treat conditions like frontal fibrosing alopecia or fungal infections that cause hair loss (18).
  • Supplements: Can make up for the deficiency of nutrients like zinc, iron, and biotin, which may otherwise cause hair loss (19).
  • At-Home Laser Devices: May help improve overall hair thickness and promote regrowth (20).
  • At-Home Microneedle Device: May help improve hair growth significantly (21).

However, consult a dermatologist if your hair loss does not resolve from these treatment options. They may recommend certain other procedures like hair transplants or corticosteroid injections.

Infographic: Everything To Know About Finasteride For Hair Loss

Hair loss is common across all ages and genders. Although a little hair fall here and there is natural, severe hair loss can be very distressing. One way to address this issue is the use of Finasteride as a treatment. Check out the infographic below to learn all about using this prescription drug.

everything to know about finasteride for hair loss (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Hair loss is a common hair issue faced by all people of all genders. It affects your self-esteem and social life. One of the treatments recommended to manage and reduce hair loss is finasteride. While you can use finasteride for hair restoration, there are some side effects that it may cause.

Lactating and pregnant women should steer clear of this drug. They can try the PRP treatment instead, which shows results in 6 months to a year. To promote healthy hair growth naturally, you should focus on eating healthy, exercising daily, sleeping well, and stress relief. Following a regular hair care regimen with steps like oiling your hair can promote hair growth.

Since it has adverse effects, you can try other natural alternatives and some natural hair loss remedies that are healthier and safer. These alternatives and remedies work effectively without causing side effects. These natural ingredients contain anti-androgenici  A substance or property that interrupts the synthesis, functioning, and effects of testosterone and other male sex hormones. properties that can aid in hair loss prevention. But, you should use these anti DHT-blends with caution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is taking finasteride worth the risk?

Finasteride is generally safe to consume. However, there are a few side effects that have been reported in relation to finasteride. Though it helps regrow your hair, it may cause side effects like erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and gynecomastia. Be aware of these side effects to make an informed decision.

Do celebrities use finasteride?

Yes, celebrities do use finasteride. Celebrities like Pete Davidson have used finasteride to treat hair loss.

Will finasteride regrow hairline?

Yes, using finasteride can help regrow hair around the hairline. It can also help stop receding at the temples.

Is finasteride better than minoxidil?

Finasteride is said to be more effective than minoxidil. However, a combination of both can also help treat hair loss issues.

Can I take finasteride for a lifetime?

Yes, it is safe to use finasteride throughout your life. However, check with your doctor to determine the dosage.

Does finasteride cause white hair?

Finasteride does not cause white hair. However, a person with light gray or white hair may notice a grayish or yellowish tinge while using it.

Key Takeaways

  • Finasteride is an FDA-approved medication used for treating androgenic alopecia in men and women.
  • Studies indicate that taking 1mg of finasteride daily slows down hair fall and stimulates hair growth.
  • Women of reproductive age should avoid taking finasteride as it may increase the risk of external genital deformity in male children.
finasteride for hair loss

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Learn how to use finasteride for BPH and hair loss. Get the facts on doses, side effects, and more. Check out the video below!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Androgenetic alopecia.
    https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/#frequency
  2. Guidelines on the use of finasteride in androgenetic alopecia.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26924401/
  3. Finasteride
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
  4. Evaluation of efficacy and safety of finasteride 1 mg in 3177 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21980923/
  5. Androgenetic Alopecia in Women.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15529369#:~:text=Androgenetic%20alopecia%20(AGA)%2C%20also,the%20same%20as%20in%20men.
  6. Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9777765/
  7. A Systematic Review of Topical Finasteride in the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia in Men and Women.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6609098/
  8. An open, randomized, comparative study of oral finasteride and 5% topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15316165/
  9. Alopecia in Women.
    https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2003/0301/p1007.html
  10. Finasteride for Hair Loss in Women.
    http://www.dpic.org/article/professional/finasteride-hair-loss-women
  11. Hormonal therapy in female pattern hair loss.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5419033/#:~:text=However%2C%20one%20study%20of%2037,et%20al.%2C%202006).
  12. Finasteride: a review of its use in male pattern hair loss.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9951956/
  13. Controversies in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: The history of finasteride.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30253001/
  14. Finasteride: a review of its use in male pattern hair loss.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9951956/
  15. Finasteride and Its Potential for the Treatment of Female Pattern Hair Loss: Evidence to Date.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7060023/
  16. Minoxidil: a comprehensive review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34159872/
  17. The Efficacy and Safety of Oral and Topical Spironolactone in Androgenetic Alopecia Treatment: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10010138/
  18. A Multimodal Hair-Loss Treatment Strategy Using a New Topical Phytoactive Formulation: A Report of Five Cases
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7878086/
  19. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  20. Role of Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) in Androgenetic Alopecia
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8906269/
  21. Usefulness of home-use microneedle devices in the treatment of pattern hair loss
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32516497/
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Dr. Rekha Yadav is a certified trichologist from the International Association of Trichologists, Australia. She established her hair and scalp practice in 1999 in Mumbai, India, and has over 20 years of experience in this field. She specializes in treating hair and scalp problems through natural and safer treatments and diet and lifestyle changes whenever possible.read full bio

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