You've heard stories of incredible results of people using topical finasteride for male hair loss.
You want to try it out, but you don't know where to start.
How and where do you get topical finasteride in the UK? How much does it cost?
Let's look into the practicals of getting this topical formulation treatment plan.
You can get topical finasteride in UK pharmacies and topical finasteride minoxidil in online stores.
In other countries, the process is similar.
You can also get an alternative to finasteride in the UK.
Topical finasteride is one of the medicines used to treat men's hair loss. The medicine works by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone as a DHT blocker that works.
Topical finasteride is most effective when combined with active ingredients, such as minoxidil to improve blood flow. It is also combined with other active ingredients to create a DHT blocker shampoo.
You may start to see new hair growth and increased hair density within four months, but it can take up to six months to see the full effects. Topical finasteride is not FDA-approved, but a physician can prescribe it off-label.
How to get topical finasteride in the UK?
To get topical finasteride treatment in the UK, there are two options:
This is the only method to get the original licensed version of finasteride.
Here's how to get topical finasteride in UK pharmacies:
- Visit a doctor who can check that you can take finasteride without posing a threat to your health, this can be an online consultation or in-person consultation.
- They will prescribe you finasteride or recommend other medicines.
- You take the prescription to any good pharmacy to get it.
You can rarely get only topical finasteride this way, it's usually a topical combination like topical finasteride minoxidil (it could be an unlicensed treatment plan).
Here's how to buy topical finasteride in UK online stores:
- Pick one from the available treatments - topical finasteride minoxidil combination or topical minoxidil.
- Go through their free consultation and prescription process.
- Buy and have them shipped to you.
The same process also applies to getting a finasteride tablet.
Why is it so complicated to buy finasteride?
To protect your health from the nasty side effects of finasteride, government health officials have put in place restrictions so you can only get finasteride when it's safe to do so.
Finasteride side effects are catastrophic, to say the least.
Common side effects include decreased sex drive, inability to keep an erection, ejaculation disorders, and skin rash.
Serious side effects include depression, swelling, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
It's not guaranteed to stop when you stop using, either.
After stopping, people have experienced memory loss, decreased cognitive ability, depression, sexual inability, infertility, and constant fatigue.
Fret not, there's an alternative version of this licensed medicine.
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What is topical finasteride?
Topical finasteride is a form of the medication finasteride, traditionally used in tablet form to treat male pattern hair loss. Unlike oral finasteride, which can have systemic side effects like sexual dysfunction, topical finasteride is applied directly to the scalp, reducing the risk of such side effects.
Studies, including a 2009 comparison, have shown that topical finasteride offers similar therapeutic benefits in treating androgenetic alopecia as the oral form, making it a promising alternative for those concerned about the side effects of oral finasteride.
How does the topical solution of finasteride work for my male pattern hair loss?
Finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Taking finasteride orally reduces DHT by 50%, while serum DHT is also reduced by 60-70%. Studies have shown that it significantly reduces levels of DHT in the body.
Comparatively, topical liquid formulation applied at a specific dosage caused a suitable suppression of DHT (47-52%), whereas serum DHT levels decreased only by 24-26%, potentially decreasing the adverse sexual side effects of a systemic DHT reduction.
According to this study, since this treatment does not affect serum DHT, its potential sexual side effects may be reduced.
What are the benefits of using topical finasteride?
Here are some benefits that have been associated with using topical finasteride:
1. Compared to finasteride tablets, this may help reduce full-body side effects
Finasteride is an excellent treatment for androgenic alopecia and has demonstrated efficacy in reducing male pattern hair loss and maintaining existing hair follicles. It works as a topical DHT blocker.
It's a derivative of testosterone that causes hair follicles to shrink and fall out. However, some men avoid or discontinue treatment because of adverse effects, such as reduced ejaculation, sexual disorders, testicular pain, and the possibility of male infertility.
The fact that finasteride is typically taken as tablets contributes to the development of these symptoms. Instead of going straight to the scalp, the body absorbs the finasteride from the tablet form and distributes it throughout the entire body.
The drug is a DHT blocker, which can cause DHT blocker side effects in the testicles and prostate region, throwing things out of balance and interfering with DHT hanging out around hair follicles.
This treatment stays where you want it, and many of its side effects are reduced or avoided.
2. Applied once a day at night
People who dislike taking tablets and capsules regularly or forget if they have taken their dose that day might not find tablet medications the best option.
This hair loss medication can be incorporated into your evening routine before bed. One spray, leaving the product overnight, and washing it off the next day can be effective.
Since you can reach into your hair to check if you applied the gel, you'll never be confused about whether it's on or not. Once-daily topical application of finasteride is ideal, generally at night, so you can just apply it and sleep with it on.
3. Avoid taking pills
For some people, taking it in pill form can be difficult. The topical spray may be a better option for you if you have trouble swallowing pills. It comes in a gel form applied directly to the scalp. The active ingredient, finasteride, is the same as what is in the pill form.
How effective is topical finasteride compared to oral tablets?
Topical finasteride is as effective as oral in treating androgenetic alopecia but with markedly lower systemic exposure and less impact on dihydrotestosterone concentrations. This makes it a safer option for those concerned about the risks of oral tablets, such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
In 2009, a study compared the therapeutic effects of finasteride gel and finasteride tablets for treating androgenetic alopecia. The results showed that the therapeutic effects of both finasteride gel and finasteride tablets were similar.
In addition, this 2009 study used a 0.005% finasteride solution for a 16-month trial on 52 patients. Both hair regrowth and balding area reduction were encouraging, without any evidence of systemic side effects, including percutaneous absorption orally.
This study found that topical is as effective as oral but with a lower risk of negative reactions.
What is the difference between oral finasteride and topical finasteride?
Oral finasteride, taken in pill form, is effective in treating hair loss and prostate issues but can cause systemic side effects like sexual dysfunction and decreased libido due to its absorption into the bloodstream. Topical finasteride, applied directly to the scalp, targets hair loss with a lower risk of these systemic side effects, as it is less likely to be absorbed into the body.
Both forms reduce dihydrotestosterone, a hormone linked to hair loss, but topical finasteride offers a safer alternative for those concerned about the side effects of the oral medication.
What are common topical finasteride side effects?
Several clinical studies have shown that topical finasteride is well tolerated by most men who suffer from male pattern baldness. It is important to note that topical finasteride has not been thoroughly studied as a treatment for hair loss as oral finasteride has.
Topical application may cause side effects like all medications. A 2018 study found that serum dihydrotestosterone levels decreased when the topical application of finasteride was used, indicating that the medication can travel through the body even when applied topically.
The studies of topical finasteride did not report systemic side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, and low libido, often associated with oral finasteride.
Additional research will be required to better understand the systemic risks.
However, topical finasteride can cause the following common side effects when applied to the scalp:
- Burning sensation
Typically, these are mild and resolve on their own. But there are things you can do to stop finasteride shedding.
If you experience more severe reactions, contact your doctor.
How long does it take for topical finasteride to work?
It works almost immediately to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone on the scalp when finasteride is applied topically.
Since hair grows slowly, it takes between four and six months to see an finasteride results and hair regrowth. There are four stages in the growth cycle.
In clinical studies, finasteride was shown to promote noticeable new hair growth within three to six months of consistent use. In six months, most participants reported significant, visible improvement like these finasteride before and after.
You may start to see new growth within four months. However, it can take up to six months to see the full effects of this treatment. This treatment is most effective when combined with other hair loss treatments, such as minoxidil.
However, if it is over a year, it's likely that finasteride is not working.
Is topical finasteride FDA approved?
Currently, FDA approval for topical finasteride to treat hair loss is still awaiting clinical trials. The FDA has approved oral medication of finasteride (generic for Propecia) for treating hair loss in men since 1997. Female hair loss treatment with oral treatments is not FDA-approved, but a physician can prescribe it off-label.
How to use topical finasteride for best results?
A typical combination for hair loss treatment is topical finasteride with topical minoxidil. Minoxidil is a medication applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. It is available in over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription forms. Topical finasteride and minoxidil treatments are thought to work together to increase hair growth.
A 2018 study found that combining topical finasteride and minoxidil was more effective than minoxidil alone in treating hair loss. The study participants who used both medications had a more significant increase in hair count than those who only used minoxidil.
What happens when you stop taking topical finasteride?
Your body cannot continue blocking the enzyme that turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone once you stop using topical finasteride.
As a consequence, dihydrotestosterone inhibits the growth of hair and hairline.
Some patients have experienced finasteride side effects after stopping.