Finasteride Results Timeline | Ashcroft Pharmacy
If you've noticed your hair thinning and have checked out treatments, you've probably come across a drug called finasteride. Finasteride is a prescription medicine used for hair loss. It's approved by the FDA and supported by a lot of studies showing real improvements in things like hair count and density.
While it can't permanently cure male pattern baldness, it's one of the best treatments for slowing hair loss and promoting regrowth. Finasteride works well, but the results aren't instant. Generally, you'll need to wait a few months before you'll see better hair growth or overall density from it.
Here, we provide more info about how long it takes for finasteride to work, as well as the usual timeline for results after starting treatment. We've also talked about what you can do to get the best results from using finasteride and possible side effects to be aware of.
How Finasteride Helps
To know how finasteride tackles hair loss, let's first wrap our heads around why male pattern baldness happens. It's a mix of genes and a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to being male. When you were growing up, DHT and other hormones gave you guy traits, from your voice to muscles and body hair.
But as an adult, DHT isn't all that great. It's connected to hair loss and even issues like a bigger prostate. DHT sticks to parts of your scalp and messes with your hair follicles, making them stop growing. Over time, this can lead to less hair up top—receding hairlines, bald spots, you name it.
DHT comes from testosterone, and that's where finasteride steps in. It blocks an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which stops testosterone from becoming DHT. By doing this, finasteride cuts down the DHT in your body. This slows down or often stops the damage DHT does to your hair follicles, which means less hair loss and more hair growth.
In the end, you get less hair saying goodbye and more saying hello, especially around spots like your In the end, you get less hair saying goodbye and more saying hello, especially around spots like your hairline and crown.
Finasteride Results Timeline Overview
Before we explore the specific timeline for finasteride's effects, let's cover the essential aspects of what finasteride is and how it functions as a solution for hair loss:
- Finasteride belongs to a group of medications known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Its mechanism involves hindering the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your body.DHT is the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness
- You can get finasteride in its generic prescription form. Additionally, it's a key component of Propecia® and Proscar® both prescription medications designed to counteract prostate enlargement.
- Although finasteride starts blocking DHT promptly, noticing a tangible decrease in the rate of hair loss or an improvement in hair appearance typically takes several months.
- For many men using finasteride, minor enhancements are usually noticeable after about three to four months of consistent use. Generally, the conclusive results of finasteride treatment become apparent over approximately one year.
- Combining finasteride with minoxidil , a topical medication that promotes hair regrowth by accelerating your hair's natural growth cycle, usually boosts its effectiveness.
- If you're using finasteride, a helpful practice involves taking monthly photos of your hair and making regular comparisons. This practice aids in tracking your progress and promptly identifying any reduction in hair loss as it happens.
Finasteride Results Timeline
The hair follicles on both your head and body follow a four-phase hair growth cycle. This cycle starts with each hair sprouting from a root within the hair follicle during its anagen phase. As the hair elongates, it eventually emerges through your skin's surface, becoming noticeable. The anagen phase, or growth phase, of each hair, can stretch out for several years.
Finasteride swiftly enters your bloodstream and commences the task of reducing DHT levels as soon as it becomes active within your system. However, given that new hairs require time to grow to a length where they're visible, the outcomes of finasteride aren't instantaneous. Typically, you'll observe a gradual and consistent enhancement in your hair's condition over several months.
Months 1 to 3: Finasteride Takes Action
Right after your body processes finasteride, it springs into action, starting to lower DHT levels within your bloodstream. On average, finasteride decreases DHT in your bloodstream by approximately 70%, a significant reduction that can effectively slow down, halt, or even reverse hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.
However, don't expect immediate changes. Your hair needs time to step into the first phase of its natural growth cycle, so early outcomes might not be noticeable. During the initial months of finasteride usage, substantial changes in your hair might not be immediately visible. Your hairline, crown area, and overall hair thickness might maintain a very similar appearance to usual.
This isn't due to finasteride not working correctly. Instead, it's simply because your hair demands time to grow before noticeable results start becoming visible. Keep up with daily finasteride use during this period, even if you don't see much change. The medicine's working, but it takes time for hair effects to show.
Months 3 to 6: Early Results
In most situations, you'll start noticing early changes from finasteride after using it daily for about 3 to six months. After this time, you might see that your hair loss has slowed or stopped, and you're not experiencing further visible thinning. You could also see improvements in your hair, especially in areas like your hairline and crown.
In a study published in the European Journal of Dermatology in 2004, researchers found that men with pattern hair loss saw a "big improvement" after using finasteride for 12 weeks, or a bit less than three months. Because your hair needs time to grow, the effects after three to six months usually won't be your "final" results from finasteride.
However, noticing an improvement after three to six months—even if it's somewhat subtle—is usually a positive sign that finasteride is starting to work for you.
12 Month: Noticeable Changes
Once you've consistently used finasteride for a year, you should observe additional enhancements in your hair, building upon the progress seen in 3 to 6 months.
Numerous finasteride studies illustrate marked and quantifiable increases in hair count, thickness, and reduction in hair loss after 12 months of treatment.
For instance, a 1999 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that men who utilized finasteride for one year experienced a notable rise in hair count along the frontal scalp (hairline) region.
Clinical trials also revealed that roughly 65% of men treated with finasteride exhibit some degree of heightened hair growth after a year. Given that everyone's hair has its unique qualities, there is no precise result to anticipate at the 12-month mark. You might witness a modest surge in hair growth that is visible when you brush your hair or glance in the mirror. Alternatively, you might experience significant improvements that are easily noticeable.
In certain instances, taking finasteride for 12 months might not yield a noticeable change in hair thickness or growth. However, it could simply prevent further deterioration of your hair loss.
If, after a year of finasteride use, you haven't noticed any enhancements in your hair volume or overall growth, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider. If finasteride isn’t effective for you after this amount of time, further, treatment might not substantially influence your hair loss.
Long-Term Results with Finasteride
The effects of finasteride extend well beyond the initial year. Most studies reveal that men who stick with this medication for the long haul continue to enjoy reduced hair loss and improved hair growth.
A 2003 study tracked finasteride's effects over two years. The results showed that men who used finasteride experienced a 14 percent increase in hair count after one year of treatment, followed by a 16% improvement after two years.
A more extensive study from Japan delved into the effects of finasteride on hair loss over a five-year treatment period. The researchers noted an impressive 99.4 % of men using oral finasteride tablets during the study displayed positive changes.
In simple terms, the enduring impact of finasteride appears to mirror its short-term effects -- less hair shedding, enhanced hair growth, and noticeable improvements in hair thickness and scalp coverage. Months 12 – 24: You may also find that hair becomes darker and fuller than it was before treatment began. Months 24 – 36: Hair should be reaching its fullest potential in terms of thickness, strength, and color.
After 3 years of using finasteride, most people will have seen a significant improvement in hair growth, compared to when they started. However, it's important to take regular photos so that you can track your progress over time. Good maintenance plays an important role here too - if you are not careful and don’t keep up with proper treatments (such as using minoxidil) then your hair may start to thin again.
4 years :
After using 4 years, it's a good idea to keep taking it to maintain the results. After this time, you might be able to stop, but it's best to ask your doctor first. Some people choose to keep using finasteride forever if they like how it's working. Keep in mind everyone's result with finasteride is different, so discuss with your health professional about what is best for you. If you want to continue with it and stay patient, you should start to see positive changes in a few months.
After four years or more of taking finasteride orally, most people will have achieved the maximum benefit from the medication. Continued use of finasteride may help maintain these results for as long as you take it. To wrap up, it’s important to stick to your chosen treatments or products consistently to get the results you want. Giving yourself periodic breaks from Finasteride can help maintain its effects over the long haul. Typically, it might take around 12 months for noticeable changes to show up, so it's important to stay patient as you go along.
Remember, using Finasteride correctly and regularly is the secret to achieving the results you're aiming for. With a combination of patience and commitment, you'll discover that Finasteride can be a fantastic solution for reaching your hair goals.
Possible Side Effects of Finasteride
Just like most medications, finasteride can come with side effects, although they're not very common and affect only a small percentage of men. It's important to know about them before using this medication.
The most common side effects of finasteride are linked to sexual health. These can include a lowered sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and reduced ejaculatory volume. Though these effects might sound concerning, remember that sexual issues occur in only a small number of men using finasteride.
For instance, data from finasteride trials show that the most common systemic side effect, reduced sex drive, affects only 1.8 percent of men using this medication for male pattern baldness. To put it in context, the same research shows that 1.3 percent of men using a non-active placebo also reported the same side effects during treatment.
Other mild side effects are rare too. For instance, erectile dysfunction and a drop in ejaculatory volume were reported by 1.3 and 1.2 percent of men in finasteride clinical trials, respectively.
Similar to reduced libido, these side effects were also reported by men using a non-active placebo, hinting that some cases might not be because of finasteride itself.
Other side effects linked to finasteride include testicular discomfort, clinical depression, and, in very rare instances, changes in breast size, nipple discharge, rash, itching, hives, facial and/or lip swelling, as well as breathing and/or swallowing issues. All in all, finasteride's potential side effects are quite mild, affecting only a small percentage of users.
While serious side effects from finasteride are not common, it's crucial to inform your healthcare provider if you experience ongoing and/or bothersome side effects while using finasteride for hair loss.
Your healthcare provider might suggest altering how you take the medication or switching to a topical hair loss treatment, like topical finasteride. Remember to closely follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and let them know if you have any side effects or concerns about your well-being while on finasteride.
Get the Best Results from Finasteride
Using finasteride is pretty straightforward—just take one pill every day and keep an eye on any changes in your hairline over the next few months.
However, like with any other treatment, there are several steps you can take to make sure you get the best results from finasteride, keep track of your progress, and maintain your new hair growth once you notice improvements. Consider:
Use It Every Day: Take finasteride daily. It's designed for daily use. Remember to take your medication each day, even if you don’t notice any changes in your hairline, hair density, or thickness when you start using it. Skipping doses or using the medication intermittently might decrease its effectiveness and compromise your results. So, ensure you use it consistently every day.
Pair Finasteride with Minoxidil: Although finasteride does a good job on its own, it works even better when teamed up with minoxidil—an over-the-counter treatment that encourages hair growth. If you're dealing with noticeable hair loss and aiming for the most significant boost in hair growth and density, think about using both of these medications together. These two will give you the best results.
Use a Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo: Get a DHT-blocking shampoo like our Thick Fix Shampoo. It helps break down scalp buildup that can hurt hair follicles and make hair loss worse. Try using a hair loss shampoo in your routine with finasteride and minoxidil to boost growth.
Track Your Results Regularly: Since you see yourself in the mirror every day, noticing the small hair changes over months of using finasteride can be tough. To keep track, take pics of your hairline, crown, and other affected spots every month. Try to use similar lighting for accurate comparisons of hairline, hair count, and thickness over time.
Most Important, Keep Using Finasteride After Results: Once you notice results, don't quit Finasteride. Keep using it. If you stop, your DHT levels can rise and hair loss might come back. To learn more about what to do when you've stopped hair loss, check out this guide.
The Final Takeaway on Finasteride and Hair Growth
Waiting for a hair loss treatment to show results can feel frustrating, but hang in there once you begin using finasteride. While finasteride starts its work right away, your hair follicles need some time to get into action and grow new hair. So, give it around three to six months before you notice changes in your hairline or hair thickness after starting finasteride.
Concerned about your hair? We've got your back with a variety of easy-to-use online hair loss treatments, including FDA-approved choices like finasteride and minoxidil.