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Finasteride 101: Will It Grow Back My Hair?

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Finasteride 101: Will It Grow Back My Hair?
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on March 30, 2022

Research shows more than 80% of men and almost half of women experience significant hair loss during their lifetime. A typical scalp carries between 100,000 to 150,000 hairs, with 50 to 100 of them falling out daily once they complete their growth cycle. Experts reveal alopecia or hair loss typically occurs when shedding outpaces growth. If you are experiencing hair loss, you've probably heard Finasteride mentioned as a hair regrowth solution. This article looks at all you need to know about Finasteride.

What is Finasteride?

Finasteride is a popular medication used to treat male pattern hair loss. The product is available in tablet form only, meaning it should be taken orally. The drug blocks the body's male hormone production in the scalp, which stops hair growth. Finasteride is also used to treat men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) caused by an enlarged prostate. It is essential to note the effect of Finasteride on the prostate and scalp can only last as long as the medication is taken. If you stop taking the medication, you may experience continued hair loss, or your prostate will begin to grow once again.

How does it work for hair loss? Is it effective?

Finasteride works by blocking the action of an enzyme referred to as 5-alpha-reductase. Ideally, the enzyme changes testosterone to another hormone that causes hair loss or the prostrate to grow in males. The drug increases testosterone levels in the body, decreases the prostate size, and reduces hair growth on the scalp. Oral Finasteride effectively promotes scalp hair growth while preventing further hair loss in most males. Over time most patients find that apart from halting hair loss, Finasteride can also help regrow hair that has recently been lost.

It is recommended that your physician check your progress at regular visits to determine whether the medicine is working correctly and if you need to continue taking it regularly. Blood and urine tests may be carried out to determine the presence of unwanted effects.

It is essential to note the effect of Finasteride on the prostate and scalp can only last as long as the medication is taken.

What dosage is Finasteride available in?

Finasteride is only available in tablet form. The dose of this medicine differs from one patient to another. Ideally, the amount of medicine you take is determined by several factors, including the time allowed between doses, the length of time you take medicine, and the specific medical problem for which you are using the drug. The following is the average doses of the medication:

For benign prostatic hyperplasia

  • Adults: 5 milligrams (mg) once a day.
  • Children: Use is not recommended.

For male pattern hair loss

  • Adults: 1 milligram (mg) once a day.
  • Children: Use is not recommended.

 It is essential to take the drug at around the same time every day. Do not stop taking Finasteride without talking to your doctor.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of the drug, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Don't double the doses.

Side effects

Apart from its desired effects, Finasteride can cause unwanted side effects. These effects may not occur in each patient. However, you may need medical attention should you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Chills
  • confusion
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness, especially when you are getting up suddenly from sitting or lying
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Tingling of hands or feet

How to store Finasteride?

Finasteride should be stored safely in a closed container at room temperature. Keep the medicine at room temperatures, away from moisture, heat, and direct light. Do not freeze the drug. You should also keep the medicine out of reach of the children and avoid keeping outdated medicine. Seek advice from a healthcare professional on how to dispose of any drug you no longer use safely.

How to get better results from Finasteride

There are several things that you can do to get the best results from Finasteride. These include:

Take as recommended: Finasteride is used for long-term treatment. It is vital that you take the drug as prescribed to increase its efficacy and avoid severe risks. If you fail to take medicine as directed, you may not see an improvement in hair loss and hair regrowth. Similarly, if you take too much, you are at a higher risk for developing adverse reactions, including reduced sex drive, problems getting or keeping an erection, rashes, and more.

Incorporate a hair loss prevention shampoo into your treatment: Consider using shampoos formulated with saw palmetto or ketoconazole, designed to lower DHT levels and prevent male pattern baldness. Experts also reveal that you should not be washing your hair every day, but only when it gets oily. This is because most shampoos carry harsh chemicals such as sulphates, which strip away sebum, the crucial oil for strong and healthy hair.

Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet: A balanced diet ensures your body gets adequate vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential in the promotion of healthy hair growth. You should also eat sufficient zinc and iron, as these minerals are important for having strong, healthy hair. Some of the foods rich in zinc include oysters, crab, pork chop, baked beans, chicken peas, oatmeal, kidney beans, chicken breast, and more.

Change lifestyle: Consider making some hair-friendly changes to your lifestyle, such as avoiding irritating hair products and reducing stress levels. You should also stop smoking cigarettes. Researchers have long established a strong link between smoking and hair loss. Cigarettes actually cause damage to the DNA of your hair follicles, and smoking on a daily basis could be detrimental to the health of your hair.

Take biotin supplements: Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in the development of hair and nails. Biotin supplementation for hair growth is recommended when a biotinidase deficiency is at play for hair loss.

Are there any alternatives to Finasteride?

The following are some of the common options to Finasteride:

Hair transplant: Hair transplant is a surgery that involves the extraction of follicles from areas where hair still exists and is implanted in areas with significant loss. In a nutshell, the surgeon takes hair from one area to transplant it to another. Although it is an effective treatment with permanent results, its costs can be prohibitively high.

Minoxidil: Minoxidil was initially intended to lower blood vessel tension. It has long been established the drug helps hair regrowth. The medication shortens the telogen phase while increasing follicles in the anagen (hair growth) phase.

Low-level laser therapy: LLLT is a non-invasive hair loss treatment solution based on medical-grade laser light. A red light is passed through the skin surface, stimulating capillary blood circulation and activating the cellular function of the follicle. The LLLT typically slows down and minimizes the progression of hair loss while promoting new hair growth.

Saw palmetto: Saw palmetto is an oil that works simirlaly as fisteride. The oil which is obtained from Serenoa repens plant doesn't have any side effects common with other medications. Saw palmetto works by blocking the enzyme alphas five reductases that raises DHT blood levels and causes hair loss. It can be used in many forms, either as a food supplement, tea, or herbal medication. The oil can also be applied topically to the scalp.

How safe is Finasteride?

Finasteride is typically safe to take for a long time. Most people take the medication for months or even years without any problems. However, if you have other underlying conditions, it is safe to consult your doctor before taking the drug.

FAQs about Finasteride for hair loss

Who should not use Finasteride?

Before using the medicine, the risks of taking the drug must be weighed against the good it will do. The following categories of people should not take Finasteride:

Allergies: before taking this drug, tell your doctor whether you have ever experienced any unusual or allergic reaction to the medicine or any other medicine. You should also inform the doctor about your other allergies, such as food, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Pediatric: Finasteride should not be used in the pediatric population. To date, safety and efficacy are yet to be established for these population groups.

Women: Children and women should not use this drug. Expectant women or those planning to get pregnant should not also handle crushed or broken tablets. Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin to cause congenital disabilities in male babies. If you come in contact with the medicine, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water.

Breastfeeding: Although there are currently no adequate studies on women to determine infant risk when using the medication during breastfeeding, weigh potential benefits against the potential risk of taking the drug.

Drug interactions: some medicines should not be used together with Finasteride. If you are taking Finasteride, it is vital to inform your doctor before other medications.

How long does it take for Finasteride to work for hair loss?

Like other hair loss treatments, results from Finasteride are not instant. If you are starting to lose your hair, you should expect to see some results in three to four months once you begin using Finasteride. More significant results are usually recorded after approximately one year.

Are there some foods or drinks I need to avoid when taking Finasteride?

You can eat and drink your normal foods or drinks when taking Finasteride. You can drink alcohol with Finasteride.

Final Thoughts 

Finasteride is currently one of the most effective medications available to treat hair loss. The medicine helps men stop hair loss, keep the hair they still have and even grow back "lost" hair. Although Finasteride has a proven track record, it is not entirely free of side effects and may not work in all patients the same way. Before using the medication, consult first with your trusted medical provider. If you have further questions, contact us today.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.