Updated: Jul 9
Finasteride is one of the most effective hair loss treatments available to date. It has contributed to many people’s success in overcoming hair loss. Unfortunately, even though it works well, most people do not fully understand finasteride, and therefore are not aware of the most effective ways to use it.
Although finasteride is a powerful drug in and of itself, there are several simple tips and tricks that you can use to potentially make finasteride more effective, and possibly get better results from it.
In this article, I am going to cover three simple, yet powerful tricks that you can implement into your routine to get the most out of finasteride. But first, let’s take a quick look at how finasteride works.
How finasteride works
(I have written an in depth article on finasteride, link here)
There is an enzyme present in everyone’s body called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). It is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). According to scientists, DHT is the hormone that is primarily responsible for male and female pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). So, how does this all connect to finasteride?
Well, the most effective way to combat hair loss is to block DHT from attacking hair follicles. Finasteride doesn’t block DHT directly, instead it blocks 5-AR, which in turn results in around a 70% reduction in DHT. Essentially finasteride stops testosterone from being converted into DHT, and therefore stops hair loss at the source.
Now, you may be thinking, if all you do is take a pill, how can you make it more effective?
Tips to boost finasteride’s effectiveness
To be clear, these tips do not make finasteride itself more effective (i.e. block more DHT), but instead they are more so habits that will ensure that finasteride works how it is supposed to so that you can reap the benefits to their full potential.
Tip one: don’t use finasteride alone
Like I stated earlier, finasteride’s primary benefit is that it blocks DHT at the source, meaning that it is good for stopping the progression of hair loss.
Where finasteride falls short is with hair regrowth. Although some people do experience regrowth, most do not because that is not what finasteride is designed to do. This is why one of the worst mistakes you can make if you are trying to overcome hair loss is to use finasteride alone.
You need to use treatment(s) that are specifically designed to target regrowth, and there are many of them. Minoxidil,Low-level laser therapy, and scalp massages are just a few of the many treatment options for regrowth. Do your research and find a treatment that will work for you to use alongside finasteride, that way you will have both bases covered: blocking DHT and hair regrowth.
Tip two: take finasteride at the same time everyday
This is important to touch on because although some doctors will tell you to take finasteride at the same time every day, most do no emphasize it enough.
Finasteride has a half-life of between 4.7 and 7.1 hours, but what is a half-life?
The half-life of a drug is essentially a way to measure how long it takes for the concentration of a drug in the body to be reduced by 50%. So, since finasteride’s half-life is about 4.7 hours, that means that after 4.7 hours there is only 50% as much finasteride in your body actively blocking DHT, and every 4.7 hours after that it is further reduced by 50%. Quick calculations reveal that after 24 hours the drug is almost completely removed from the body, meaning DHT levels will start to rise again.
By taking finasteride at roughly the same time every day you can ensure that your body never runs out of it completely and is always actively blocking DHT. Now will missing a day or taking it at different times for a couple of days have a huge impact on your hair loss? Probably not, but if you make a habit of inconsistency your hair will suffer because you will not be utilizing finasteride’s full potential.
Tip three: expect a shedding phase
All too often I hear about people who did not know that finasteride can cause a shedding phase. Even though it is actually a sign that it’s working, if you are not mentally prepared for a shed it can be extremely emotionally distressing and may even cause you to stop taking finasteride all together.
Shedding happens because the DHT levels in the body are quickly reduced. This causes hair follicles that were in the telogen (resting) phase to be moved into the anagen (growth) phase. When this happens, telogen hairs must fall out to be replaced by anagen hairs, per the natural cycle of hair growth, which is the reason for the shed.
Some people may mistake this for hairs just plain falling out, but the reality is that healthy hairs are actively replacing dying hairs, meaning that in the long run it is very beneficial for hair loss.
Normally the shed happens around the 1-3 month mark and lasts a couple of weeks, but everyone is different. Even though it can be discouraging to see more hair falling out, constantly try to remind yourself that healthy hairs are replacing unhealthy ones. Giving up is the worst thing you can do. Also, keep in mind that hair takes time to grow and you may not start to see results until the 6+ month mark. Remain consistent, patient, and optimistic throughout the process and you will achieve better results.
Hair loss is just as much about getting over the mental barriers as it is the physical barriers.
Finasteride is a powerful hair loss treatment that has helped millions, but there are things you can do to make even the most effective treatment work better.
By using finasteride alongside a treatment that targets regrowth, making sure you take it at the same time every day, and mentally preparing for the shedding phase, you will be giving you hair a much better chance at responding well to it.