Should you opt for finasteride if you're dealing with hair loss?
Posted by Superhairpieces on Aug 15, 2022
When it comes to men’s hair loss, there are a number of solutions out there. One of the most prominent non-surgical replacement solutions that have increased in popularity in recent years is finasteride. But what is it and does it really stop and/or prevent hair loss? Does it actually help regrow hair or is that a myth? We will dive deep into all things finasteride in this blog so you can determine whether it’s the right option for you.
What is finasteride?
Finasteride is a prescription drug promoted to stop and prevent hair loss as well as regrow hair follicles. It is sold under the brand name Propecia or Proscar; Propecia is usually sold in 1mg tablets while Proscar is sold in 5mg tablets. But did you know that it was actually discovered as a hair loss solution by accident?
Finasteride was originally used as a means to treat men who were experiencing enlarged prostates. However, patients — particular balding ones — started noticing another side effect while they were prescribed; the regrowth of their hair! That is how finasteride eventually became a solution for hair loss. Today, millions of people are prescribed the drug with over 2.4 million in the United States alone as of the year 2020. This is notably double the amount compared to 2015 as per data from IQVIA.
How does finasteride help with hair loss?
Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that is designed to stop testosterone from creating dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can cause the prostates of men to enlarge (otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) and so, taking the prescription drug not only reduces the amount of DHT created, but stops the enlarging of the prostate.
DHT, however, plays a major role in hair loss. The androgen blocks hair growth by causing hair follicles to shrink and miniaturize before they eventually shed for good. The end result is male pattern baldness which is also known as androgenic alopecia, the most common form of alopecia. This is when men lose hair in the front hairline and center of their heads with hair usually remaining on the sides and back of their scalp.
READ: Alopecia, misconceptions and how to combat it
With finasteride stopping the production of DHT, further hair loss is not only stopped, but in some cases, hair can regrow thicker. According to information from Felix, 48% of people experienced hair regrowth after one year of being prescribed finasteride. A further 66% of people saw hair regrowth after a period of two years. Additionally, the general estimate to first start noticing results is three to four months. Serious results can usually be noticed between nine to 12 months.
How do you take finasteride?
Finasteride is most commonly taken orally. As aforementioned, men dealing with hair loss take either Propecia (1mg) or Proscar (5mg) which come in the form of tablets or pills. With that said, there is also topical finasteride where you can apply it with the help of a dropper.
What are the side effects of finasteride?
Finasteride has been known to help a good majority of people who are prescribed for its hair loss benefits. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect prescription drug. Like most drugs, it comes with potential side effects including the following:
- Decreased sex drive
- Brain fog
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculation disorder
- Increase in breast size and tenderness
- Skin rash
These side effects are a big reason why the drug is not recommended for adolescents or young male adults. And while they are very real, the reality is it only affects a minute percentage of users. If you are experiencing any of these side effects, you should cease use until the effects go away before trying it again in smaller, gradual doses. In some cases, the side effects may not dissipate even after discontinued use in a condition that has been commonly referred to as post-finasteride syndrome. It should also be noted that finasteride could increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Users can also experience regular shedding of their current hair while taking finasteride, especially in the early stages. However, this is a more positive side effect as it shows the medicine is working. The old existing hair follicles are pushed out for the newer, stronger follicles.
Can women take finasteride?
Finasteride is not for women and is generally never recommended by doctors or dermatologists. This is especially the case for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.
How much finasteride should one take?
The dosage and frequency one should take finasteride depends on the instructions of your doctor. In most cases, users take 1mg per day, but can go with a smaller dose by cutting the tablet with a pill cutter. This is also a good preventive measure to gauge if there are any potential side effects. Those taking Proscar can also cut the 5mg tablet into four smaller pills.
Can you stop taking finasteride? Is finasteride permanent?
Unfortunately, one downside of finasteride is that the results aren’t permanent. Any hair regrowth experienced or hair loss prevented will only last as long as you keep taking finasteride. This essentially means you will have to end up taking finasteride forever until it’s no longer effective or you no longer worry about your hair.
Who is finasteride ideal for?
Finasteride is recommended for men dealing with thinning hair or hair loss in their mid-twenties and above. This is the stage where the male body has fully developed but with that said, teenagers and men in their early twenties have taken finasteride with next to no problems.
Ideally, the user should still have a good amount of hair remaining for any results to be effective. In some cases, people with no hair loss take finasteride so as to maintain their current hair and prevent any future shedding. However, someone with a more advanced stage or total hair loss will likely not benefit from finasteride unless they have a hair transplant first.Conclusion
Finasteride can be an extremely effective solution for any male dealing with hair loss. But as stated in this blog, it’s not perfect and does have its risks and side effects. If you prefer a safer and more instant solution, you can always opt for hairpieces such as toupees and wigs for men.
Interested in learning more about getting started with hair systems? Browse through our website at www.superhairpieces.com (US & International) or superhairpieces.ca (CAN)
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