Hair loss can be a difficult situation for anyone, as it can hinder confidence and negatively impact one’s self-perception. Hair loss can occur to either men or women and can be caused by either genetics or disease. Many people who suffer from hair loss turn to a medical solution, and there are two particular options that are far more popular than any others.
If you’ve been investigating your options for fighting hair loss, you’ve probably heard that the medications Rogaine and Propecia have been clinically proven to help fight hair loss. The question is: Which one is a better option for treating hair loss?
While these medications both work to improve the fullness of your hair and treat hair loss, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Rogaine and Propecia work in different ways, and the effectiveness of each medication depends on your stage and type of hair loss.
Hair loss never stops, but Rogaine and Propecia are excellent, medically proven ways to slow down hair loss. In fact, in your battle against hair loss, a comprehensive treatment plan that includes Rogaine and Propecia might be more effective than using either one alone.
Finasteride is an oral prescription medication sold generically and under the brand name Propecia. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for male pattern baldness. Finasteride slows down hair loss and stimulates the growth of new hair.
How does finasteride work?
Propecia inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes hair follicles to shrink, which eventually leads to baldness.
Finasteride may be most effective if you take it before you notice too much hair loss.
Propecia is used to treat pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men only. Treatment slows further hair loss, with effectiveness persisting only as long as the drug is taken. Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, works by attacking the problem at its source in the dermis by inhibiting the production of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into a powerful androgen known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the hormone that triggers genetic male pattern baldness.
How Long Does it Take to Work?
It can take 3 to 6 months before you start seeing results with finasteride. It’s also not a permanent fix. If you stop taking it, hair loss will resume.
Rogaine is a topical treatment that includes minoxidil, a medication that is clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair. Unlike Propecia, Rogaine works by stimulating the hair follicle itself to help encourage hair regrowth. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, Rogaine is now used primarily to stop the advancement of hair loss and increase blood flow to the scalp by widening the blood vessels. It’s thought that the increase in blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the scalp is what stimulates the growth of new hair. It’s important to note, however, that if there’s been damage to the hair follicle itself, Rogaine won’t be effective.
About 40% of men experience hair regrowth after three to six months. Rogaine must be used indefinitely for continued support of existing hair follicles and the maintenance of any hair regrowth.
Side Effects of Rogaine
The most common side effects of Rogaine are burning or irritation of the eye and itching, redness, or irritation of the area of use.
Minoxidil vs Finasteride: What’s The Difference?
Minoxidil and finasteride are two of the most popular hair loss treatments on the market. Both treatments are backed up by scientific research, although there are several major differences between the two drugs.
The biggest difference between minoxidil and finasteride is the dosage form each medication takes.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that’s available as a liquid solution or foam. It’s formulated for use directly on your scalp and works by promoting hair growth locally.
Finasteride, on the other hand, comes in tablet form. Instead of working locally to promote hair growth on your scalp, it has a more systemic effect throughout your body.
Are Minoxidil and Finasteride Effective?
Put simply, yes. Both minoxidil and finasteride have been scientifically proven to help either stop hair loss and, for some men, promote hair growth.
Finasteride has been proven to work in numerous studies. In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1998, researchers looked at the effects of finasteride on more than 1,500 men with male pattern hair loss.
They found that finasteride improved hair growth on the scalp, with an average increase of more than 15% after two years of treatment.
Numerous other studies have also found that finasteride helps to stop hair loss in most men and stimulate hair growth for many.
In a five-year study of finasteride published in the European Journal of Dermatology, men given finasteride saw improvements in scalp hair growth and reduced progression of hair loss.
An even longer 10-year study conducted in Japan found that daily use of finasteride prevented male pattern baldness from worsening in more than 99 men and caused improvements in hair growth in more than 91 percent of study participants.
In short, for most men, finasteride is effective at preventing hair loss and stimulating the growth of new hair.
How do Finasteride and Minoxidil Help Treat Hair Loss?
Finasteride helps stop hair loss and grows new hair by blocking DHT.
Minoxidil doesn’t stop hair loss, but it does help grow new hair thicker and faster than before.
Finasteride and minoxidil (the only two FDA-approved products to treat men’s hair loss) have been proven successful at treating hair loss in men, according to multiple studies.
A five-year study on the efficacy of finasteride in men with androgenetic alopecia showed improvement in 90% of participants. A 120-week study of male subjects with androgenetic alopecia showed that minoxidil was statistically significantly superior to the placebo in increasing hair count.
So, Which Should You Use?
Finasteride and minoxidil are different medications, and each serves a different purpose. Because finasteride stops hair loss at its source by blocking DHT production, many doctors will recommend it as the first step to combat male pattern baldness.
Ultimately, combatting hair loss is a commitment—in order for the treatments to work, you need to use finasteride and minoxidil daily. Increase your chances of success by picking the right solution for your needs and lifestyle.