Finasteride pill (brand name Propecia) is one of the only two FDA approved products for hair loss treatment, the other being minoxidil. Topical finasteride has been explored by many users to lower side effects of finasteride pill. This blog will discuss (1) if the topical finasteride works, (2) whether its side effects is less than oral finasteride, (3) what is the best way to avoid side effects, and (4) how to make topical finasteride yourself.
Does Topical Finasteride Work?
For topical finasteride to work, it needs to be able to lower the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) level in the scalp, meanwhile it shall have minimum impact on the serum DHT level to avoid any side effects.
In the 7th World Congress on Hair Research, a Dutch research group reported the effect of topical and oral administration of finasteride on DHT levels in the scalp and serum. Results showed the topical finasteride not only decrease the DHT level in the scalp but also in the serum. The good news is that topical finasteride decreases the scalp DHT level more than oral version does, meanwhile it has far less impact on the serum DHT level than oral finasteride. Thus the data supports topical finasteride works better than oral finasteride in two aspects: a) better hair growth; b) lower chance of side effects.
The results were confirmed by several clinical studies, In 2012, a Thailand group compared the efficacy and safety of the 24 weeks application of 3% minoxidil lotion (MNX) versus combined 3% minoxidil and 0.1% finasteride lotion (MFX) in men with AGA. Results show the MFX group had significantly greater improvement than the MNX group in the amount of hair regrowth, and no side effect was reported (see the details of this study below, study 2).
In 2009, an Iranian group compared the therapeutic effects of topical finasteride gel and tablet in treatment of male pattern hair loss, and found that the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablet were relatively similar to each other ( (see the details of this study below, study 3).
Topical Finasteride Side Effects:
Table below shows the drug-Related Adverse Experiences for oral finasteride 1 mg (Propecia) after one year use in a large clinical study (Nearly 2000 participants). This is the data submitted and reviewed by FDA when Propecia was approved. As shown, the side effects of taking 1mg finasteide daily is slightly higher than then placebo group (Read the more detailed finasteide side effects here)
|Ejaculation Disorder (Decreased Volume of Ejaculate)
|Discontinuation due to drug-related sexual adverse experiences
As the aforementioned data suggested that the systemic effect of topical finasteride is less than that of oral finasteride. It does not decrease the serum DHT level as much as oral finasteride. DHT is an important sex hormone. Lowering the serum DHT level is believed to be the cause of sexual side effects by finasteride (such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction) . A lot of people including some hair loss professionals believe topical finasteride has zero sexual side effects, which is most likely untrue. Keep in mind that even placebo could cause side effects as shown in a large clinical study for oral finasteride. But there is little doubt that topical finasteride is much safer oral finasteride.
How to avoid finasteride side effects:
Topical finasteride helps reduce the chance of getting side effects. If someone still get unwanted side effects, one can avoid it by reducing the dosage. A big convenience of topical finasteride is that you can easily change the dosage. There is exactly 1 mg of finasteride in every 1 ml of 0.1% topical finasteride solution, which means you receive the same amount of finasteride in Propecia if you use 1.0 mL of 0.1% topical finasteride. If that is still too much for you, you use can 0.5ml (equals to 0.5 mg finasteride ) or even 0.25 ml (equals to 0.25mg finasteride). That can be easily done by measuring up less volume by the dropper that comes with the product. When using finasteride pill, you will need to cut the pill, which is far less convenient.
How to make topical finasteride yourself.
If you want to make your own topical finasteride to save money, you should be able to do that with the right tools and material. No need to be a scientist to do so. The only tool you need is a scale that is accurate to 1mg level. All you need to do is to weigh 60 mg of pure finasteride power and pour it into a bottle of 60 ml minoxidil solution, close the bottle and shake it for 10 minutes.
The real challenge here is not how to make it but how to obtain pour finasteride material. Some people choose to use 5 mg finasteride pills (Proscar). In this case, you will need to pulverize 12 pills and then put the powder into a bottle of 60 ml minoxidil solution. Shake it very hard for 10 minutes. Let the bottle stand still for overnight and pour the clear solution to another bottle for use. The reason why it is recommended to dissolve the powder into a minoxidil solution is that it has right solvent that ensures the good absorption of the topical finasteride. You can't just use pure alcohol as the solvent, because it evaporates too faster and you will end up with flakes of finasteride on your scalp that will never be absorbed.
Where to buy topical finasteride:
You wish you could buy topical finasteride product from Amazon or Ebay like you shop for any other products. Unfortunately, neither Amazon nor Ebay offers it. The good news is that you can get it from our store with affordable price. Check it out here.
Topical Finasteride Results:
You can view the topical finasteride results from our customers on the testimonial page. We have a lot of customers who enjoyed great success that they didn't have when not using topical finasteride. As one customer writes in his testimonial "I have tried numerous different hair regrowth products, Minoxidilmax's topical finasteride (Dualgen-15 NO PG plus) is the only product that did stop my hair loss and grew my hair back. Topical finasteride may not be for everyone. But if you have tried minoxidil and din't receive good results, you should definitely put on topical finasteride. It is much more effective than minoxidil alone, and it is more cost effective than taking oral finasteride.". See the testimonial page here.
✔ STUDY 1:
Pharmacodynamic of P-3074 (finasteride 0.25% topical solution) in subjects with androgenetic alopecia
M Caserini1, R Palmieri1, M Radicioni2 and E Terragni2 1Polichem S.A., Lugano, Switzerland and 2Cross Research S.A., Arzo, USA.
A new proprietary topical formulation, P-3074, containing finasteride 0.25% as active ingredient and hydroxypropyl-chitosan (HPCH) as film-forming agent, was developed for androgenetic alopecia. The present study was aimed at investigating the pharmacodynamic profile of finasteride in terms of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations in the scalp and in serum after multiple topical application of P-3074 or oral finasteride intake in subjects with androgenetic alopecia. Eighteen healthy men were randomly allocated to P-3074 or oral treatment after providing written informed consent. Twelve volunteers applied P-3074 topical solution for 7 days: six subjects once daily (o.d.) in the morning and the others twice daily (b.i.d.) in the morning and in the evening. The third group of six volunteers was administered 1 mg oral finasteride once daily in the morning for 1 week. Scalp (vertex) biopsies were collected at baseline and 6 hours after last dose administration, while serum samples were collected at baseline, before last administration, and 6 and 12 hours after the last multiple dose. A marked decrease in scalp DHT levels was observed: by 47.22% with P-3074 b.i.d., from 1.91 (±0.54) to 1.01 ng ml−1 (±0.39), by 71.20% with P-3074 o.d., from 1.52 (±0.41) to 0.44 ng ml−1 (±0.08), and by 51.11% with the oral formulation, from 1.39 (±0.25) to 0.68 ng ml−1 (±0.34). Serum DHT was reduced by 69.3–74.0% with P-3074 b.i.d., 67.6–80.4% with P-3074 o.d., and 69.7–76.1%with the oral formulation. These results showed a similar inhibition of serum DHT after 1 week of finasteride administration with the three dose regimens and were consistent with the results obtained in a previous P-3074 PK study. These findings show that DHT concentration in the scalp, after 7-day treatment course of P-3074 o.d., was more reduced (about 40%) than after 1 mg oral finasteride administration for the same treatment period.
✔ STUDY 2:
J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 Oct;95(10):1312-6.
Efficacy and safety of 3% minoxidil versus combined 3% minoxidil / 0.1% finasteride in male pattern hair loss: a randomized, double-blind, comparative study.
Topical minoxidil and oral finasteride have been used to treat men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA). There are concerns about side effects of oral finasteride especially erectile dysfunction.
To compare the efficacy and safety of the 24 weeks application of 3% minoxidil lotion (MNX) versus combined 3% minoxidil and 0.1% finasteride lotion (MFX) in men with AGA.
MATERIAL AND METHOD:
Forty men with AGA were randomized treated with MNX or MFX. Efficacy was evaluated by hair counts and global photographic assessment. Safety assessment was performed by history and physical examination.
At week 24, hair counts were increased from baseline in both groups. However paired t-test revealed statistical difference only in MFX group (p = 0.044). Unpaired t-test revealed no statistical difference between two groups with respect to change of hair counts at 24 weeks from baseline (p = 0.503). MFX showed significantly higher efficacy than MNX by global photographic assessment (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in side effects between both groups.
Although change of hair counts was not statistically different between two groups, global photographic assessment showed significantly greater improvement in the MFX group than the MNX group. There was no sexual side effect. MFX may be a safe and effective treatment option.
✔ STUDY 3:
ndian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009 Jan-Feb;75(1):47-51.
Comparing the therapeutic effects of finasteride gel and tablet in treatment of the androgenetic alopecia.
Hajheydari Z1, Akbari J, Saeedi M, Shokoohi L.
Finasteride, a type II-selective 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, as a causative agent of decreasing dihydroxy testosterone (DHT) level, is effective in the treatment of male androgenic alopecia.
We compared the local and oral finasteride in the treatment of androgenic alopecia.
This is a double blind, randomized clinical trial study of 45 male patients, who were referred with alopecia to the private clinics and departments in Boo-Ali Sina Hospital, in Sari. Patients with male androgenic alopecia were selected according to the history and physical examinations. The patients were randomly divided into two: topical finasteride (A) and oral finasteride (B) groups. Topical finasteride group (A) received a topical gel of 1% finasteride and placebo tablets, while the oral finasteride group (B) received finasteride tablets (1 mg) and gel base (without drug) as placebo for 6 months. The patients were followed by clinical observation and recording of side effects prior to the treatment and at the end of first week, and then by a monthly follow-up. The size of bald area, total hair count, and terminal hair were studied. Data were analyzed by descriptive and Chi-square statistical test.
The mean duration of hair loss was 18.8+/-23.10 months. Each month the terminal hair, size of bald area and hair count between the two groups were compared. There were no significant differences between the two groups as a viewpoint of hair thickness, hair counts and the size of bald area. Serial measurements indicated a significant increase in hair counts and terminal hair counts between the two groups.
The results of this study showed that the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablet were relatively similar to each other.