Topical Finasteride Results: What the Scientific Studies Say

Dealing with hair loss can be a frustrating experience. Losing your hair can make you feel stressed out, less confident, and it’s often hard to know what to do next about it. 

This can be even more frustrating if you can’t find the information you need, about how to effectively treat your hair loss.

When choosing which hair loss treatment to use, you need to know how effective it is going to be, and the best way to find this out is to look at scientific studies that clearly show the kind of results you can achieve. 

What is Topical Finasteride?

There are two key types of medicines; oral medicines, ingested in either tablet or liquid form, and topical medicines, such as creams and gels, which are applied directly to the area you are treating. 

Topical Finasteride is a hair loss treatment which is applied directly to your scalp, as opposed to oral Finasteride tablets.

The Difference Between Topical Finasteride and Finasteride Tablets

Topical Finasteride is becoming a more attractive choice for many men who are experiencing hair loss. That’s because there are some key differences between Topical Finasteride and oral Finasteride tablets. 

Some guys are anxious to take oral Finasteride because the treatment can sometimes have unpleasant side effects, such as rashes and swelling. 

However, men who use Topical Finasteride don’t experience these side effects, and the treatment has been shown to be as effective for combating hair loss. 

Take a look for yourself – we’ve summarised multiple studies on the effectiveness of Topical Finasteride below.

Additionally, using Topical Finasteride can be more convenient, since it can be combined with Minoxidil into a single treatment. 

This is great for guys who would otherwise need to both take a pill and apply a solution to their scalp every day. 

How Effective is Topical Finasteride for Combating Hair Loss?

Finasteride works by reducing your levels of DHT, the hormone primarily responsible for Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), stopping hair loss and promoting hair regrowth for up to 90% of guys. 

It is by far the most effective prescription-strength medicine available today.

In addition, multiple studies have shown that Topical Finasteride is at least as effective at treating hair loss as oral Finasteride tablets – a really positive sign for those considering it as their choice of treatment.

For example, one study comparing the effectiveness of Finasteride gel against tablet treatments, conducted in 2009, showed that “the therapeutic effects of both Finasteride gel and Finasteride tablet were relatively similar to each other”. 

In both groups of patients, those who took Finasteride tablets, and those who used Topical Finasteride, hair loss was reduced.

Another study, conducted in 2018 looked at the effectiveness of a combined Topical solution of Finasteride and Minoxidil compared to Minoxidil alone. 

Firstly, the results showed that of all the patients who used the combined topical solution, 90% “experienced moderate to marked improvement.” 

In addition, the Topical Finasteride and Minoxidil solution was shown to be “significantly superior to Minoxidil alone” in improving hair density and hair diameter.

Another study in 2009 looked solely at the effectiveness of topical finasteride for treating hair loss. 

The study took place over a 16-month period with 52 patients experiencing male pattern baldness, comparing a topical finasteride solution against a placebo.

Results from the study showed that the outcome of the treatment was encouraging “in terms of both hair regrowth and balding areas reduction.” 

It’s also worth pointing out that in the study, researchers used 0.05% Topical Finasteride solution.

Topical Finasteride Can be Even More Effective than Finasteride Tablets

While some studies show that both forms of Finasteride are equally effective, others actually suggest that Topical Finasteride is sometimes even more effective than oral Finasteride. 

One study, conducted in 2018, put participants into two groups: Group A used a combination of Topical Minoxidil (another popular hair loss treatment) and Finasteride tablets, while Group B used a Topical Minoxidil and Finasteride combo.

In Group B, 83% of the participants “demonstrated good hair growth and maintenance”, while in Group A, only 65% showed clinical improvements. 

In this study, Topical Finasteride with Topical Minoxidil was much more effective at treating hair loss than oral Finasteride and Topical Minoxidil.

The Difference in Side Effects

While it is clear that Topical Finasteride can be just as effective as oral Finasteride when it comes to treating hair loss, studies have also shown guys who take Topical Finasteride also tend to have far fewer unpleasant side effects. 

For example, one study conducted in 2018 observed the effectiveness of a topical solution of Finasteride and Minoxidil, compared with topical Minoxidil and oral Finasteride tablets. 

Side effects were reported in only 12% of patients who used Topical Finasteride, and these were fairly mild – skin irritation and itchiness – compared with 21% of patients who took oral Finasteride, where side effects included erectile dysfunction and feelings of anxiety.

Another study, conducted in 2016, observed the side effects of Topical Finasteride compared with oral Finasteride, when given to patients aged 18-40 years. 

The results of the study show that while 2 out of 52 patients given the topical treatment complained of a “mild burning sensation on the skin (compared to 3 patients who took oral Finasteride), no patients who used Topical Finasteride complained of any sexual side effects. 

The study goes on to say that Topical Finasteride is “a much safer and equally effective drug, with high compliance that avoids the unnecessary fear of sexual side effects in patients”

Key Takeaways

  • Multiple studies have shown that Topical Finasteride solution is at least as effective at treating hair loss as oral Finasteride tablets. 
  • In one study, a solution of Topical Minoxidil with Topical Finasteride was shown to be more effective than Topical Minoxidil with oral Finasteride tablets.
  • Studies have also shown that guys who take topical Finasteride are far less likely to have unpleasant side effects than if they take oral Finasteride tablets. 

Find Out if Topical Finasteride is Right For You

Topical Finasteride treatments should only be taken by men aged 18 and over who are experiencing male pattern baldness. Finasteride has been shown to effectively prevent hair loss by blocking DHT, the hormone primarily responsible for MPB.

As we mentioned earlier, Topical Finasteride does not carry the same risk of side effects as oral Finasteride tablets, meaning it’s also a good choice for guys who want to treat their hair loss but are anxious about the risk of side effects.

If you’re not sure about whether the treatment is right for you, why not get in touch with Hims? Our team is happy to answer any questions you have about hair loss treatments.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.