Biotin Vs Finasteride For Hair Loss: Which One Is Better For You?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Hair loss is a problem that spares no one and has a way of creeping up when least expected. When this happens, two names often crop up as potential saviours: Biotin and Finasteride. 

However, choosing between the two can only be made clear with a solid understanding of their functionality and effectiveness. 

That's why we've put together this detailed guide, focusing on the clash of the titans, 'Biotin vs Finasteride for hair loss.' 

We'll delve into the science behind these hair saviours, compare their merits, demystify their side effects, and help you make an informed decision. 

So, if you're grappling with hair loss and debating whether to pick Biotin or Finasteride, this article offers invaluable insights to navigate this personal journey.

Summary

Both Biotin and Finasteride offer benefits in the fight against hair loss but serve different roles and work best in specific scenarios. 

Biotin, a vitamin essential for keratin production, can bolster hair health and growth, especially in those with a deficiency. 

However, its effectiveness for those who lack is more specific. 

Conversely, finasteride is a medication specifically designed to treat male pattern baldness by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT. 

Its effectiveness is well-established, but potential side effects warrant careful consideration and consultation with a healthcare provider.

What causes hair loss?

biotin vs finasteride

Hair loss, also called alopecia, can be caused by several factors. Key among them is genetics, hormonal changes, ageing, nutritional deficiencies, stress, certain medical conditions like thyroid problems or autoimmune diseases, and the side effects of some medications.

Hair loss due to genetic factors, known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common cause affecting men and women. It's often characterised by a receding hairline and hair thinning in men and general hair thinning in women. 

This hair loss is usually inherited and becomes more noticeable as one age.

Hormonal changes, often experienced during pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or due to thyroid problems, can also cause temporary or permanent hair loss. 

Additionally, a lack of certain nutrients like iron and protein can weaken hair and cause it to fall out. 

Chronic stress has also been linked to severe hair loss due to the physiological changes it causes in the body. 

Some medical conditions like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the hair follicles or scalp infections can also cause hair loss. 

Finally, certain medications used to treat conditions like cancer, arthritis, heart problems, and high blood pressure can cause temporary or permanent hair loss as a side effect.

What is biotin?

biotin vs finasteride

Biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin crucial in converting certain nutrients into energy. It's also essential for the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

Biotin is vital for maintaining healthy hair and skin, as it plays a significant role in keratin production, a protein that makes up these structures. 

Its rare deficiency can lead to hair loss, leading to the widespread use of biotin supplements to improve hair health. 

However, the effectiveness of biotin in hair growth is more pronounced in individuals with a deficiency. 

Its effectiveness remains controversial for those without a deficiency and varies from person to person. 

It's found naturally in foods like eggs, almonds, cauliflower, cheese, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and spinach. 

Biotin supplements are also widely available for those who need more through their diet. However, before starting any supplement regimen, it's recommended to consult a healthcare provider.

How does biotin help with hair loss?

Biotin helps with hair loss by playing a vital role in producing keratin, the primary protein that makes up hair. When you have enough biotin in your body, it can support the health and strength of your hair, potentially preventing it from falling out or breaking. However, biotin's effectiveness in treating hair loss is more evident in individuals with biotin deficiency. 

It's important to note that while biotin can support hair health, it's not a cure-all for all types of hair loss, especially those caused by genetic factors or other underlying health conditions.

Are there any side effects of biotin? 

Like any supplement, biotin can have side effects, although they are relatively rare. Not everyone experiences these side effects, typically associated with high doses. 

Here are some possible side effects to be aware of:

  • Skin rashes: Some people may experience skin rashes, particularly on the face and body.
  • Digestive issues: Biotin can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea, or nausea in some individuals.
  • Potential interaction with lab tests: High doses of biotin can interfere with specific laboratory tests, leading to falsely high or low results. These include tests for heart problems, thyroid disorders, and iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to biotin, resulting in symptoms like itching, swelling, and respiratory problems.

What is finasteride?

biotin vs finasteride

Finasteride is a prescription medication for male pattern baldness and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). It works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can contribute to hair loss and prostate growth.

Further, finasteride's mechanism of action makes it a valuable tool in managing conditions sensitive to DHT. 

In the case of hair loss, DHT can shrink hair follicles, leading to thinner, shorter hairs and, eventually, hair loss. 

Finasteride can slow down or even reverse this process in some individuals by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT. 

While it's typically prescribed for men due to its potential side effects in women, it has been used off-label in post-menopausal women or those not planning to conceive. 

However, women of childbearing age should not use finasteride due to the risk of birth defects.

How does finasteride help with hair loss?

Finasteride works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into its more potent form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By reducing DHT levels, finasteride can help slow down or even reverse the process of hair miniaturisation and hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia.

Are there any side effects of finasteride? 

Like any medication, finasteride can also have side effects. They're usually mild and tend to improve or stop once the drug is discontinued. Not everyone experiences these side effects, but it's essential to be aware of them:

  • Sexual side effects: Some men may experience a decrease in sex drive, difficulty achieving an erection, or a decrease in the amount of semen.
  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some men can have an allergic reaction to finasteride, resulting in a rash, itching, hives, and swelling of the lips and face.
  • Depression and anxiety: There have been some reports of mood changes, including depression and anxiety, in men taking finasteride.
  • Breast changes: Some men may experience changes in their breasts, such as enlargement or tenderness.
  • Potential increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer: Although finasteride can lower the risk of developing low-grade prostate cancer, some studies suggest it may slightly increase the risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer.

An effective alternative to biotin and finasteride

biotin vs finasteride

The Bio-Pilixin® Serum by Scandinavian Biolabs is a total instant recovery serum expertly formulated to help combat hair loss, improve hair growth and thickness.

Uniquely designed with multiple plant growth factors cultivated through advanced stem cell technology, this serum nourishes hair follicles and promotes healthy hair growth at the root.

Clinical studies have shown that users have seen results with this serum in as little as 45 days.

In a clinical study involving the Bio-Pilixin® Serum, 93% of users reported seeing a reduction in hair shedding and an encouragement of hair growth.

This plant-powered serum is safe for daily use and designed to give your hair the care and stimulation it needs to thrive.

Every ingredient in the serum is of the highest quality, carefully selected based on a thorough review of scientific literature. 

Clinical studies have shown that Capilia Longa, a nutrient-rich medium derived from Curcuma longa stem cells, can reduce hair loss by up to 89–90% and improve hair density by 52%

Niacinamide provides the strength needed for sustained hair growth by improving blood flow and protecting hair follicles from premature death due to oxidative stress caused by pollution and UV rays.

The combination of these key ingredients contributes to the unique formulation of the Bio-Pilixin® Serum in hair care.

We offer a 150-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your experience using Bio-Pilixin® Serum.

Bio-Pilixin® Activation Serum | For Men
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What is the difference between biotin and finasteride?

Biotin and finasteride are both commonly used to combat hair loss, but they function differently and are used for different types of hair loss. Biotin is a vital vitamin in hair, skin, and nail health, while finasteride is a prescription medication mainly used to treat male pattern baldness.

Mechanism of action

As a vitamin, biotin supports the body's keratin infrastructure, a protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails. 

On the other hand, finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss in men.

Side effects

While both can have side effects, they differ significantly. Biotin's side effects are generally milder, including skin rashes and digestive problems. 

Finasteride, however, can have more severe side effects like sexual dysfunction, mood changes, and breast changes.

Availability and use

Biotin is available over the counter in various doses and is generally considered safe for both men and women to use. 

Finasteride, on the other hand, is a prescription medication primarily used for treating male pattern baldness.

Efficacy in hair growth

Biotin may help with hair health and growth, but it's most effective for people who have a biotin deficiency. 

Finasteride has been shown to effectively prevent hair loss and promote hair regrowth in men with male pattern baldness.

Remember, it's always essential to consult with a healthcare provider when considering treatments for hair loss to ensure that the treatment aligns with your individual health needs and conditions.

Biotin vs finasteride: Which one is right for you?

Biotin can be a good choice if your hair loss is due to a biotin deficiency, and it's generally safe for both men and women. On the other hand, finasteride is specifically designed for treating male pattern baldness and is typically more effective in this regard. However, it can have more severe side effects. 

Can you use biotin and finasteride together?

Yes, you can use biotin and finasteride together. Biotin, a vitamin, and finasteride, a medication, work differently and do not interfere with each other's mechanisms. Both may help enhance hair health and growth—finasteride can reduce hair loss from male pattern baldness, while biotin can help strengthen the hair. 

However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting this or any combined regimen to ensure it's safe and suitable for your specific circumstances.

Conclusion

Both Biotin and Finasteride offer benefits in the fight against hair loss but serve different roles and work best in specific scenarios. 

Biotin, a vitamin essential for keratin production, can bolster hair health and growth, especially in those with a deficiency. 

However, its effectiveness for those who lack is more specific. 

Conversely, finasteride is a medication specifically designed to treat male pattern baldness by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT. 

Its effectiveness is well-established, but potential side effects warrant careful consideration and consultation with a healthcare provider.

FAQs

Can women use finasteride for hair loss? 

Finasteride is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. While some studies suggest it might help with hair loss in women, it's generally not the first line of treatment due to potential side effects. It's also contraindicated in pregnant women due to the risk of birth defects.

Can I take biotin without a deficiency? 

Yes, you can take biotin even if you don't have a deficiency. While its effects on hair growth are most noticeable in those with a deficiency, many people use biotin supplements to support overall hair health.

How long does it take to see results from finasteride? 

It typically takes at least three to four months of consistent use to see noticeable results from finasteride. However, for maximum effect, it may take up to a year.

Does biotin cause weight gain? 

There's currently no scientific evidence to suggest that biotin causes weight gain.

Is there a natural alternative to finasteride? 

Some natural alternatives reported for hair loss include pumpkin seed oil, saw palmetto and scalp massage to stimulate hair follicles. However, their effectiveness varies and is less well-established than finasteride.

 References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/ 
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/357737989_Development_and_Evaluation_of_Herbal_Hair_Serum_A_traditional_way_to_Improve_Hair_Quality 

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Dr Amy Revene M.B.B.S. graduated from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as a General Physician at New Hope Medical Center. Amy has a passion for research and offers her expertise and opinions to help people in their quest to lead healthy, happy lives.