Finasteride is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor drug mainly used to treat male pattern hair loss (gradually thinning of the scalp), scientifically known as androgenic alopecia in men only. Finasteride is also used to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate gland). However, when conventional treatment options for hair loss in women fail, they may be prescribed Finasteride.

This article will help you understand how Finasteride works and prevents hair loss. Some frequently asked questions with regards to the usage of Finasteride. 

How does Finasteride help with hair loss?

Finasteride helps in hair loss by blocking the body’s male hormone production (5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone) in the scalp, stopping hair growth. Thus, helping with an increase in scalp hair, but it will not increase the amount of body hair. 

In men suffering from male pattern hair loss, the balding scalp has increased concentrations of 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and miniaturized hair follicles. Finasteride helps to lower DHT concentration in the scalp and serum in men. 

Can both men and women use Finasteride to help with hair loss?

1 mg Finasteride is an FDA-approved medication for treating male pattern hair loss in men only. The safety and efficacy of the drug are not defined in women for treating hair loss. 

Currently, only topical minoxidil is approved for female pattern hair loss treatment. The data regarding the use of Finasteride in females for hair loss treatment is not available due to the potential teratogenic (an agent that causes an abnormality to an unborn baby when exposed during pregnancy) effect of the drug. 

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Can Finasteride help with postmenopausal hair loss?

Finasteride is not indicated for females because of the drug’s teratogenic effect. However, a recent study in premenopausal and postmenopausal women with hair loss treated with Finasteride 2.5 mg dose per day for more than 3 months showed improvement. 30% of the females showed slight improvement. On the other hand, 65% of the women showed significant improvement. Lastly, the dose was well tolerated without any side effects. 

However, more such research needs to be conducted to establish the safety and efficacy of the drug in females for hair loss treatment. 

Does Finasteride cause beard loss?

Finasteride consumption does cause a reduction of DHT levels. DHT is believed to act on scalp hair follicles. Beard and chest hair are stimulated by testosterone and DHT; however, this effect is most often not noticed. In other words, taking Finasteride does not cause beard or chest hair loss. 

However, in very rare cases, Finasteride may cause a reduction of body hair in women. 

Will taking Finasteride cause women to grow a beard or mustache?

As mentioned above, Finasteride is currently only approved by the FDA to treat hair loss due to male pattern baldness in men only. Finasteride does not affect facial or body hair growth in men. 

However, in the case of females, since the drug is not approved to treat female pattern hair loss due to its teratogenic effects, data with its usage is not available. 

How’s Finasteride taken orally or topical?

Finasteride is available as a 1 mg tablet to be taken once daily. The tablet can be taken with or without food. Finasteride is also available in 0.1% or less concentration. Still, its efficacy is unclear since how much of the drug reaches the bloodstream is unknown compared to systemic therapy.

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