Finasteride is not completely new to the market – in fact, it is currently one of the only two FDA-approved products in the market for hair loss treatment, the other being minoxidil.
However, due to the many side effects of the pill, the need for a safer, equally effective solution is needed.
Despite its effectiveness in treating androgenetic alopecia (AGA), there has been increasing evidence of its adverse effects – and shifts towards a topical solution which might be able to provide the success, but with minimal side effects.
But first, it is crucial to understand how finasteride works to treat hair loss in the first place.
How finasteride works
It is shown that men suffering from AGA have higher levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) present in the scalp as compared to men with a full head of hair. This means that reducing DHT levels is key to stopping hair loss.
By preventing an enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT – finasteride essentially reduces DHT levels and prevents the shrinking of hair follicles that eventually leads to balding.
So far, it does a great job at stopping hair loss and encouraging the growth of new hair in a large percentage of men, but adverse side effects start to pop up in the long term – with 1.4% of men who take finasteride seeing permanent and persistent side effects.
Given that DHT is an important regulator of sexual development and mood, it is no surprise that some men notice side effects such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and even depression, especially when taken in the oral form.
Even though such risks typically fall below 2%, it is still extremely alarming regardless.
What research tells us
A study conducted by a Dutch research group studied the effects of both topical and oral finasteride on DHT levels in the scalp and blood. The results? Topical finasteride not only decreased DHT levels in the scalp, but it also had far less side effects being reported as compared to its oral form.
Other clinical studies have confirmed these results – another study group in Thailand compared results with the application of 3% minoxidil (MNX) versus a combined 3% MNX and 0.1% finasteride (MFX) lotion in men with alopecia. Once again, men in the MFX group showed greater improvement in the amount of hair growth, with no increased side effects!
Another 2009 study also found the therapeutic effects of both topical and oral finasteride to be almost the same. This is good news, as topical finasteride offers a promising solution that is equally, if not more effective than oral finasteride, while bringing little to no side effects at all.
While side effects are always a possibility, it is still less than that of the consumption of finasteride.
Interesting to note is that there seems to be a combination effect when minoxidil and finasteride are added together and used as a topical solution. Finasteride works to stop hair loss and grow new hair by blocking DHT, while minoxidil works to grow new hair thicker, stronger and faster than before.
Making topical finasteride by yourself
A pro of topical finasteride is that patients can easily alter the dosage should they start noticing side effects. Should 1.0ml (1mg) be too much, simply drop the dosage to 0.5ml (0.5mg), or even 0.25ml (0.25mg) accordingly.
You can save both money and time by making your own topical finasteride at home. All you need is to weigh 60mg of pure finasteride powder and pour it into a bottle of 60ml minoxidil solution – shaking it thoroughly for about 10 minutes.
After which, you can easily retrieve the appropriate dose with the use of a dropper, and gentle massage into areas of the scalp that is experiencing hair loss or thinning.
Using it once a day should be sufficient for most people, but in case of any doubt, it is always wise to consult with a doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Our best recommendation? Studies have shown that the efficacy of hair loss treatment increases when combined with one another. While topical finasteride proves to be a promising solution, there are a plethora of other hair loss treatments available that also deliver exceptional results – all without the hassle of side effects!
At The Clifford Clinic, we currently offer a range of hair loss treatments, including hair restoration surgery such as FUE hair transplant – a technique that involves retrieving hair grafts from your scalp and transporting it to areas that are balding in order to give it a fuller appearance.
We also offer ARTAS, a state-of-the-art surgical technology that assists doctors with the difficult and tedious process of the surgery. Fun fact: our doctors are actually the first to bring the technology into Singapore back in 2013!
With the wide range of solutions that we offer at our clinic – let our doctors be the one to tailor a hair loss treatment plan that best suits your needs. Whether it be a hair transplant procedure, or our Fraxel 1927 laser for hair loss – The Clifford Clinic has an extensive range of treatment plans suitable for anyone!
Apart from hair loss treatments, we are also experts in acne scar removal – consult us today to take the first step towards a more bold and confident you!