Is Finasteride Right for Me? A Simple Guide to This Powerful Hair Growth Product

Is Finasteride Right for Me? A Simple Guide to This Powerful Hair Growth Product

Discover Finasteride's amazing results, learn how it works, and educate yourself about benefits and side effects.

Hair loss can be devastating. When you look in the mirror or see photos of yourself and notice the change, you may feel less confident and less like yourself. Things become even more upsetting after you've tried every home remedy and product on the market, and nothing has helped. If this sounds familiar, a medication called Finasteride may be the right solution for you. Not sure if you should try it? Read on to learn more about what Finasteride is, its effectiveness, how it works, and any side effects or considerations you should be aware of.

What Causes Chronic Hair Loss?

There are many reasons why people suffer from hair loss. In some cases, genetics are the culprit; in others, hair loss could be caused by medical issues, stress, shock, infections, and more. 

Different causes of hair loss require their own unique treatments. This means that if you've attempted remedies or treatments before and they haven't worked, they could simply be the wrong solution for your problem. Continuing to try methods that aren't working is a waste of time. For this reason, it's very important to determine the root cause of your hair loss problem.

Fortunately, for the majority of people, genetics are at play. The American Hair Loss Association states that the overwhelming majority (95%) of problems associated with hair loss are tied to androgenetic alopecia. This condition is commonly known as "male pattern baldness." It can impact men of all ages, sometimes striking before age 21, and it is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Knowing this means that the majority of men can find suitable treatment.

How Does DHT Impact Hair Loss?

All men produce testosterone, and as a byproduct of testosterone, their bodies have a male steroid hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The conversion of testosterone into DHT is a natural process, and DHT is useful in many essential bodily functions – especially early in life and throughout puberty. Unfortunately, however, for men with a genetic predisposition to baldness, DHT can be detrimental. With these individuals, DHT binds to androgen receptors within hair follicles and interrupts the natural hair growth cycle by causing the hair follicles to "minimize" or shrink and eventually stop growing. This results in receding hairlines, bald patches, and all-over baldness.

What is Finasteride?

(Fortero Oral Finasteride & Topical Finasteride)

Finasteride is an FDA-approved prescription medication that's used to treat hair loss. It works as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI). In short, it prevents the action of the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT. In doing so, Finasteride reduces the amount of DHT in your bloodstream. It leaves enough for essential bodily functions but protects your hair follicles from being attacked by DHT. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that Finasteride is one of the most reliable, effective treatments for slowing down hair loss and promoting regrowth. Finasteride can be taken orally or can be used topically, depending on your preference.

How Does It Work?

As mentioned, Finasteride works by blocking the 5-ARI enzyme so that your body produces less DHT. It's important to understand that this safe process will still allow your body to function normally. DHT is still present in levels to allow for health and hormonal balance, but it is significantly reduced to the point where it can no longer damage your hair follicles. Not only does this stop male pattern baldness from progressing, but there is also evidence that Finasteride also encourages hair regrowth.

According to research, Finasteride has prevented hair loss and increased hair growth in more than 85% of users.

How Does Finasteride Compare to Other Treatments?

Now that you understand how and why Finasteride is so effective, you may be wondering how it compares to other products designed to treat hair loss. It's important to educate yourself and be cautious when treating hair loss. Here is a quick comparison of Finasteride and two other common hair loss treatments – Minoxidil and Dutasteride.

Minoxidil vs. Finasteride for Hair Loss

Minoxidil and Finasteride are the only two hair loss treatments approved by the FDA. Both have been around for decades and are supported by significant research and study. Using either product alone or simultaneously can stop hair loss and allow for the growth of a fuller, thicker head of hair. These two solutions, however, are quite different in the way they work to counter hair loss.

Unlike Finasteride, which effectively treats hair loss by blocking DHT production, Minoxidil acts as a hair growth stimulator. It widens the blood vessels inside your scalp, thus promoting blood flow to your hair follicles. In this way, it stimulates hair follicles from the resting phase to the growth phase and also extends the amount of time that hair spends in the growth phase. Although Minoxidil does not block DHT production, it is a fantastic product to use in conjunction with Finasteride. While one blocks the enzymes slowing hair growth and starts to allow for new growth (Finasteride), the other stimulates longer growth phases (Minoxidil). And because these two solutions work through different mechanisms to treat male pattern baldness, there's no risk in taking the two at the same time.

A large study published in the Dermatologic Therapy journal reviewed the effects of Finasteride and Minoxidil when used in conjunction with one another to treat male pattern baldness. The results showed that the men who used both simultaneously showed better, faster results and improvements than those treated with Finasteride or Minoxidil alone. Another 2015 study published by the Indian Dermatology Online Journal revealed that topical Minoxidil and Finasteride helped establish good hair density levels. Therefore, it can be used for hair density maintenance after initial improvement with oral Finasteride, ensuring that the indefinite use of oral Finasteride is unnecessary.

Although Minoxidil and Finasteride are safe when taken together, it's always important to ensure your healthcare provider knows about any medications you're currently using or have recently used and your medical history. (Take the Fortero Online Questionnaire now to find your treatment)

Dutasteride vs. Finasteride for Hair Loss

Like Finasteride, Dutasteride is a 5-ARI and prevents the body from converting testosterone into DHT. Still, there are some key differences:

  • Only Finasteride is FDA-approved to treat hair loss (The FDA only approves Dutasteride as a treatment for BPH).
  • Finasteride was developed and patented much early than Dutasteride and has undergone more scientific research and studies.

Some limited research has made claims that Dutasteride is more effective in treating hair loss than Finasteride, but Dutasteride is not approved by FDA for this purpose. There's also no need to use a product that is not FDA-approved when it has been proven that continual use (> 12 months) of Finasteride for hair loss is extremely effective, with some studies showing the effectiveness to be above 90%. This proves Finasteride is effective and safe for long-term use and is why Finasteride is the gold standard for hair loss treatment today. Because Dutasteride is not considered safe for hair loss by the FDA, and it can take many years for the FDA to approve new products, it's wise to stay away from Dutasteride in favor of Finasteride, which is FDA-approved and can be used right now. 

In short, compared to Dutasteride, Finasteride is the best and safest way to treat hair loss, as it's been approved by the FDA and is supported by volumes of research.

What are the Side Effects of Finasteride?

Like any other medication, Finasteride may result in certain side effects. Although side effects are rare, it's vital to educate yourself on the facts before beginning any treatment. Clinical trials conducted by Propecia found that only 3.8% of men experienced side effects. These may include difficulties obtaining or maintaining an erection, reduced sperm count, or mood changes. Suppose you are in the minority group of people who experience these side effects. In that case, you can transition from oral Finasteride to a topical solution, which comes with an even lower risk of unpleasant side effects. It is also worth noting that Finasteride's side effects are not permanent. Therefore, it can be used temporarily to block DHT before switching to a maintenance program with a topical solution.

Finasteride Real Results (With Photo Evidence)

Finasteride is generally highly effective at protecting your existing hair and stimulating hair regrowth when used properly. However, the best way to demonstrate the efficiency of Finasteride is to provide visual evidence.

Here are some photos provided by Fortero haircare.

a. initial stage before starting treatment

b.improvement after oral finasteride treatment at eight months

B. S. Chandrashekar, T. Nandhini, Vani Vasanth, Rashmi Sriram, Shreya Navale(2016), Topical Minoxidil fortified with Finasteride: An account of maintenance of hair density after replacing oral Finasteride, Department of Trichology, CUTIS Academy of Cutaneous Sciences.

Evaluation of Hair Growth, Rajendrasingh aka Rajesh Rajput, M.Ch. Fellow ISHRS, Hair Restore, Mumbai

To Summarize:

  • Finasteride is approved by the FDA to address male pattern hair loss.
  • Most men have hair loss issues because of a male steroid hormone called DHT.
  • Finasteride can stop hair loss and encourage regrowth by effectively blocking DHT.
  • Both oral and topical Finasteride is very safe and effective in treating hair loss.
  • Topical Finasteride has a reduced risk of side effects than oral Finasteride (although the likelihood of side effects is only 3.8% for oral Finasteride).
  • Minoxidil, Finasteride & Dutasteride are all proven effective in treating hair loss, but the FDA hasn't approved Dutasteride as a hair loss treatment.
  • Minoxidil and Finasteride are safe and yield better results when used together. (Learn more about Finasteride and Minoxidil solutions at Fortero)

Although hair loss was once considered a natural aging process, it doesn't have to be that way anymore. Reach out to learn more about Finasteride treatment for hair loss and to determine if it's the right fit for you!