Does Finasteride Work For hair Loss In Women? 2024 Research

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

When the hair on our head begins to thin or fall out, it can be a difficult and emotional experience. But there's hope as science and medicine evolve, providing new solutions to tackle this common problem.

Finasteride is one such medication, traditionally used to treat hair loss in men, but it is now being explored for its effectiveness in women.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of finasteride, exploring its potential benefits, side effects, and alternative options.

What is finasteride?

finasteride in women

Finasteride is a drug used to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men who have an enlarged prostate. It may be taken alone or in combination with other medications.

It is considered a powerful ally in the fight against hair loss. This medicine goes straight for the cause of male pattern baldness, which is a sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that comes from genes. 

Finasteride slows down how quickly hair loss gets worse and can even help hair grow back in some cases by stopping DHT from being made. But finasteride is not just a simple pill.

It works hard to keep the delicate balance of hormones that keeps hair healthy and strong. It's like a master key that unlocks the secrets of the scalp.

It gives people who are struggling with the emotional effects of hair loss a chance to regain their confidence and sense of self-worth.

Finasteride is a true champion of hair health, but it's important to note that it's only FDA-approved for men's use, and it's not recommended for the treatment of female pattern hair loss.

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How does finasteride work for hair loss?

benign prostatic hyperplasia and thinning hair

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. It is a genetic disorder that affects both men and women. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) sensitivity is suspected to be at the root of the problem.

Finasteride helps slow down the progression of hair loss and even promotes hair regrowth in some cases by inhibiting the production of DHT.

Finasteride is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the hair follicles when taken orally. It binds to an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT.

Finasteride works to reduce the amount of DHT in the body by binding to this enzyme.

Does finasteride work for hair loss in women?

Finasteride work in treating hair loss in women, but it is not approved by the FDA for this use. The dosage used is typically lower than for men, such as 1 mg daily instead of the approved 5 mg dose for men. This is because women are more sensitive to the side effects.

Some studies have found finasteride helped regrow hair or reduce shedding in women with a condition called female pattern hair loss. Results tend to be smaller than in men.

Common potential side effects in women include menstrual irregularities, breast pain or tenderness, headache, decreased sex drive. These effects are usually mild to moderate.

Success varies between individuals. Patients may need to use it for at least 6-12 months to see benefits, as with male pattern baldness treatment.

finasteride in women

 

 

Is it safe for women to use finasteride?

While finasteride treatment is FDA-approved for men, it is not recommended for women. This is because finasteride can cause congenital disabilities if a woman is exposed to it during pregnancy.

Additionally, female pattern hair loss differs from male pattern hair loss and is typically caused by hormonal changes, genetics, or a combination of both.

Finasteride is ineffective in treating these underlying causes of hair loss in women. Instead, other treatments, such as minoxidil (Rogaine), may be more appropriate.

Hence, to avoid the potential for harm to the developing male embryo, finasteride should only be taken by postmenopausal women or those who are unable to have children.

Finasteride side effects in women

Here are some of the side effects that can be caused in women by using finasteride:

  • Harm to a fetus: Finasteride should not be used by pregnant women or may become pregnant, as it can cause harm to a developing fetus.
  • Fatigue: Some women may experience fatigue or a general feeling of being tired when taking Finasteride.
  • Weight gain: Some women may experience weight gain while taking Finasteride.
  • Depression and anxiety: Finasteride can cause depression and anxiety in some women.
  • Decreased libido and sexual dysfunction: Some women may experience decreased libido or sexual dysfunction while taking Finasteride.
  • Hair shedding: Finasteride can cause hair shedding in some women.
  • Breast tenderness and enlargement: Some women may experience tenderness or enlargement while taking Finasteride.
  • Changes in platelet count: Finasteride can cause changes in platelet counts in some women, which may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
  • Muscle injury (myopathy): Finasteride can cause muscle injury (myopathy) in some women, which may cause muscle weakness or muscle pain.

It's important to note that these side effects may vary from person to person and may not occur in every case. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional to weigh the benefits and risks of taking Finasteride.

Other treatments for hair loss in women 

Given the potential for adverse consequences, Finasteride usage is discouraged in females.

For females experiencing hair thinning, several alternative therapies are safer and more tolerable. Here are a few examples:

Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

hair growth routine for female and male pattern hair loss

This Hair Growth Routine for Women is a revolutionary hair care system designed to help reduce hair loss, support new hair growth, and maintain strong, vibrant hair.

The routine uses a set of specially made products with plant growth factors and stem cell technology to nourish hair follicles and help hair grow.

According to clinical studies, it takes at least 45 days to see a reduction in hair loss and 150 days to activate new hair growth.

The hair growth routine also includes Hair Strength Shampoo, which helps remove excess sebum oil, rebalance the scalp, and keep the hair moist, and Hair Recovery Conditioner, which helps prevent split and damaged ends and gives the hair more bounce and elasticity. 

One of the key advantages of this hair growth routine is that it is designed for women, unlike Finasteride, which is only approved for men.

Additionally, it is drug-free, inspired by nature, and dermatologically tested, unlike Finasteride, which may have some side effects.

Also, the Hair Growth Routine uses a combination of products that work on the scalp and help hair roots to stop hair loss from more than one cause. Finasteride, on the other hand, mainly lowers the level of the hormone DHT.

Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Minoxidil

minoxidil for postmenopausal women

The only medication the FDA has approved to treat female hair loss is minoxidil. It works by keeping the hair follicles in the growth phase for longer.

It is advised that women utilize the minoxidil 2% formula. Minoxidil prevents or significantly reduces hair loss in the majority of women.

Minoxidil, a topical treatment for hair loss, is a safer alternative to oral finasteride. Unlike finasteride, which targets the hormonal root of hair loss, minoxidil directly stimulates hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp.

This makes Minoxidil a more targeted and localized way to treat hair loss, which lowers the risk of side effects.

Minoxidil has a long history of safe use, with many studies supporting its effectiveness as a hair loss treatment. Topical minoxidil application allows for a controlled and measured dose, allowing users to adjust their treatment as needed.

Minoxidil is a better way to treat hair loss because it is gentler and more targeted. It puts safety and effectiveness first without sacrificing results. It is a great alternative to oral finasteride because it is easy to use and doesn't have any major side effects.

Hair serum

hair serum for hair loss

Most of the time, hair serums are thought to be a safe and non-invasive way to treat hair loss. Bio-Pilixin Activation Serum is one option. It is a hair growth serum that is meant to help stop hair loss and make hair stronger and thicker.

This serum is unique in that it is powered by ingredients inspired by nature, such as plant growth factors developed through stem cell technology.

One of the best things about Bio-Pilixin is that it has been tested in clinical trials and shown to help stop hair loss, make hair thicker, and make users happy with the results.

The product is a non-binding subscription that lets you choose how often you want to receive it.

Another critical advantage of Bio-Pilixin is that it is a safer alternative to Finasteride. Bio-Pilixin is a drug-free, natural alternative that does not have the same risks associated with finasteride.

This Activation Serum is also dermatologically tested and made in Denmark, ensuring its quality and safety. Furthermore, it is a 100% vegan formula, and a third-party laboratory evaluates all ingredients to ensure quality.

Bio-Pilixin® Activation Serum | For Women
Bio-Pilixin® Activation Serum | For Women
Drug-free & clinically tested

Hair loss shampoo 

hair loss shampoo

While several products available on the market claim to address hair loss, not all of them are created equal. One alternative to traditional hair loss treatments is the use of specialized shampoos.

The Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Strength Shampoo is made for women and works gently and naturally to help reduce hair loss.

The shampoo is made with ingredients inspired by nature and is designed to reduce excess sebum and encourage a balanced scalp. This helps create the optimal environment for healthy hair growth.

One of the key ingredients in this shampoo is Capilia longa, a natural compound shown in individual studies to reduce hair loss by up to 89% and improve hair density by 52% after 150 days of use.

Capilia longa is also known as Curcuma longa, a plant that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for hair and scalp health.

In addition to Capilia longa, such a shampoo also contains an amino acid complex. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is what hair is made of.

More specifically, the protein keratin. A formula contains amino acids to support and promote overall hair shaft integrity, resulting in stronger and more durable hair.

Such a shampoo also contains Niacinamide, an isoform of Vitamin B3, which has been proven to increase keratin levels in the hair, resulting in stronger and more vibrant hair. It is dermatologically tested and 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

With this Hair Strength Shampoo, you can take the first step towards stronger, healthier hair. Try it today and see the difference for yourself!

Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp

Hair growth vitamins

hair nutrient tablets

Hair Nutrient Tablets are dietary supplements containing a blend of active ingredients designed to support the health of your hair.

The key ingredients in the formulation include apple extract, horsetail extract, and amino acids.

These ingredients were chosen and put together to provide a concentrated source of B vitamins, C vitamins, zinc, and riboflavin, all of which are important for keeping hair healthy.

For example, horsetail extract is a natural source of silica, a mineral that is known to help keep hair, skin, and nails in good shape.

On the other hand, apple extract contains procyanidin B-2, an antioxidant that helps protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Zinc is another essential ingredient in Hair Nutrient Tablets. It is a mineral that plays a role in the cell division process, which is necessary for the growth and maintenance of hair. Additionally, zinc is known to contribute to the care of normal hair.

Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is also included in the formulation. It is known to contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, which can cause damage to the hair and other parts of the body. 

Compared to Finasteride, hair nutrient tablets are a natural, oral supplement that aims to nourish hair from within by providing essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support healthy hair growth and maintenance.

Hair Nutrient Tablets
Hair Nutrient Tablets
Contains zinc for the maintenance of normal hair, as well as niacin and riboflavin for the maintenance of normal skin.

Hair transplant surgery

Hair transplant surgery is a permanent solution for hair loss, in which hair follicles are taken from one area of the scalp (the "donor site") and transplanted to the bald or thinning area (the "recipient site").

It is considered a safer alternative to finasteride, a medication commonly used to treat male pattern baldness, as it does not come with the same potential side effects.

The result is a natural-looking head of hair that can give you the confidence boost you need. Unlike medications like finasteride, hair transplant surgery does not come with potential side effects. It's a safe and effective solution that can give you the results you're looking for.

It's important to note that hair transplant surgery can be expensive, but it's a small price to pay for a lifetime of confidence and a head full of hair.

The procedure can take multiple sessions, and the results can vary based on factors like the surgeon's skill, the quality of the hair used for the transplant, and the individual's growth patterns.

But with a qualified and experienced surgeon, you can be sure you'll get the best possible results.

All in all, hair transplant surgery is an exciting and effective solution for those dealing with hair loss. With the right surgeon, you can achieve the head full of hair you've always wanted and boost your confidence for a lifetime.

What dosage of finasteride works for hair loss in women? 

Since the FDA does not regulate this drug, there are no set dosage guidelines for female patients. Finasteride, at doses of 1.25 mg or 2.5 mg daily, is effective in treating hair loss in women.

It's important to talk to a doctor who can look at your situation and decide if finasteride is right for you and, if so, what dose you should take.

Read this: Finasteride Every Other Day: Right Finasteride Dosage

Do higher finasteride doses work better for women's hair loss?  

Several studies found that increasing the daily dose of finasteride to 5 milligrams made the hair thicker and denser.

But many of the women who took part in the study said they had bad side effects like low libido, headaches, dizziness, irregular periods, etc. However, these adverse effects were often modest and eventually disappeared.

It hasn't been found out yet if higher doses of finasteride would help stop hair loss in women more. Nevertheless, women may get the same, if not better, outcomes with finasteride at dosages as low as 1.25 mg or 2.5 mg daily with fewer adverse effects.

However, additional study is required to discover the optimal dosage and frequency of administration.

How much does finasteride cost? 

The cost of finasteride can vary depending on several factors, including the dosage and the number of tablets in the package.

The average retail price for a 30-day supply of finasteride 1 mg tablets is around $30 to $40. However, prices can be higher or lower depending on the location and the pharmacy.

It's also worth noting that finasteride is available in both brand-name and generic forms. Brand-name finasteride, such as Propecia, can be more expensive than generic finasteride.

Conclusion

As we come to the end of our discussion on the use of finasteride in women, it's clear that this medication is not without its controversies and potential side effects.

However, for those who suffer from hair loss, the benefits may outweigh the risks. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it's the right choice for you and to explore other alternatives such as minoxidil, a hair care routine, etc.

Ultimately, the key is finding a solution that works for you and helps you feel confident and comfortable in your skin. So, let's raise a glass to hair growth and the journey to finding the perfect solution.

So, let's enjoy the journey of trying to grow hair and finding the best solution for each person.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.