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Do You Initially Lose Hair With Finasteride?

Do You Initially Lose Hair With Finasteride?

Chances are you hope to see immediate results if you are using a medication to combat hair loss. However, no matter whether you are using a topical or oral medication, it will likely take some time to start seeing noticeable results. What is more, some medications actually appear to worsen your hair loss initially–and finasteride is one of them. Let’s see why this happens and how you can minimize your losses.

What is finasteride?

Finasteride is an oral medication approved for men to combat male pattern hair loss. This medication works by preventing testosterone from turning into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). More specifically, it is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, which is a medication class that blocks the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme from making this conversion to DHT.  


A sensitivity to DHT is thought to be the cause of male pattern hair loss, whereby exposure to this form of the hormone causes perifollicular fibrosis (which is shrinkage of the hair follicle and eventual dormancy). Male pattern hair loss is usually the result of a person’s genetics, and there is no cure for it at this time. Oral medications like finasteride and topical solutions like Nanoxidil are the best ways you can currently manage this form of hair loss.


Finasteride is also used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (or BPH), a condition where the prostate gland grows larger and can interfere with specific body processes.

Why does finasteride cause initial hair loss?

Most providers believe that hair falling out after starting finasteride is a positive sign that the medication is working. While it may seem counterintuitive, something very important is happening: hair that was once stuck in the resting phase is now being shed for new healthy strands to start growing.


The good news is finasteride doesn’t cause hair loss per se but rather causes initial shedding. Hair loss is the term we use when follicles no longer grow hair. On the other hand, shedding is a normal process of the hair growth cycle, whereby old or damaged hair falls out in replace of new hair. There are three phases of the hair growth cycle:


  • Anagen
  • Catagen
  • Telogen


Anagen is the growing phase, typically lasting between 4-7 years. People with androgenic alopecia often see a shortening of this phase and have fewer hairs in the growing phase as the condition worsens. Catagen is a short transitional phase that lasts about two weeks, where the hair follicle “transitions” from a state of growth to one of rest. The final phase is telogen, where the hair follicle detaches from the hair itself. After about three months, the hair fully separates and is shed. Following this shedding process, the cycle starts all over again, except for people with androgenic alopecia, who may see a lengthening of this resting phase or who may never see new hair growth after shedding.


How long does shedding last with finasteride?

Most people find that they start shedding hair about 2-3 months after they begin finasteride treatment. Shedding picks up at this point because hair in the resting phase is now starting to fall out per the hair growth cycle. Of course, hair shedding may also occur earlier as well, but it will typically peak around the 2-3 month window.


Incidentally, while your hair is shedding, you may also notice new hair growth in previously sparse areas, as the new hairs have had a chance to emerge from the follicle. And by six months, you should no longer see higher levels of shedding, and it should return to what is normal for you (usually between 50-100 hairs per day).

Are there side effects to using finasteride?

Like most systemic medications, there are side effects that may occur. The most common side effects interfere with sexual function, such as the ability to have or keep an erection and loss of libido. For many men, these side effects can impact their quality of life, so they look for other solutions for hair loss, such as topical solutions.


With topical medications like minoxidil and Nanoxidil, men (and women) can put a stop to their hair loss with consistent use. And, with no side effects, it can be much easier to maintain this treatment option while reaping the benefits of a healthy head of hair. Shop the SPECTRAL.DNC-N and SPECTRAL.UHP products to combat male-pattern baldness without the untoward side effects of oral products like finasteride.





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