What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a treatment for hair loss in men, also known as male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the actions of specific enzymes that cause the hair follicles to shrink (which is what triggers hair loss).
Finasteride is also used to treat men with an enlarged prostate, or benign prostate enlargement (BPH for short) but at a higher dose.
When used for hair loss, 4 in 5 men find finasteride either stops hair loss or slows it down, and between 3 and 4 out of 5 men get some regrowth.
Male pattern baldness is usually pretty easy to identify. You can start to lose hair from the scalp or top of the head, but it can also start at the front of the head, which is what’s known as a receding hairline.
How does Finasteride work?
There’s an enzyme in the body called 5-alpha reductase. It converts the hormone testosterone into another hormone, dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT can make hair follicles shrink, and trigger hair loss, if your body is sensitive to it.
Finasteride stops the enzyme from converting testosterone into DHT, reducing the amount of the enzyme in the blood and the scalp. This helps to bolster hair growth, and prevent any more hair loss.
How long does Finasteride take to work?
It starts working in the body immediately, so it’s likely that your DHT levels will be lower as soon as you’ve taken your first dose. Generally speaking, Finasteride reduces DHT in the body by around 70%.
But it can take longer before you see any results. Because male pattern hair loss is a condition that develops slowly, it may take between 3 and 6 months before you see any improvement in the thickness of your hair, or any reduction in hair loss, with Finasteride. It can take 12-24 months of continuous use to observe hair regrowth. Patience and consistency are key with this medication.
Your hair will still fall out when you’re using Finasteride as part of its natural growth cycle (stray hairs being replaced by new hairs), so you’ll continue to see stray hairs either in the shower, bath, brush or comb or on your hands. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about.
You should know that Finasteride doesn’t always trigger hair regrowth. It’s a treatment that’s often taken to stop any further loss of hair, rather than as a means of getting hair to grow back. Due to the fact that everyone reacts differently to different medications, it is impossible to predict how your body will react to the Finasteride.
You can stop Finasteride at any time if you are not happy with the results of treatment. Your DHT levels will return to normal if you stop taking this medication though and you could start to observe that you start to lose hair again.