Does Finasteride Thicken Hair: What Science Says

Does Finasteride Thicken Hair

16% of men between 18-29 years of age suffer from moderate to excessive hair loss. Facing hair loss can be distressing, especially when treatment options fail. But recently, Finasteride has gained popularity for its amazing hair-thickening results. It is a prescription-only medication that helps with male pattern baldness.

If you are thinking of introducing Finasteride to help with your hair loss journey, you might have questions like: Does Finasteride thicken hair? Well, according to research, Finasteride can be an effective hair-thickening treatment, especially when coupled with other treatment options.     

This article answers all your queries. Read to gain an in-depth understanding of finasteride as a hair-thickening treatment option.

What is Finasteride? 

Finasteride is a prescription medication that comes in the form of a generic drug, as well as under the brand name ‘Propecia’. It was approved by the FDA in the USA in 1997. 

It functions as a type II 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks hair follicles, leading to the scalp growing less hair. So, by inhibiting DHT, Finasteride improves hair loss. A regular dosage of Finasteride decreases DHT levels in the scalp by around 70%.

Does Finasteride Work for Everyone? 

Understanding Finasteride

Finasteride is found to be 90% effective for men experiencing pattern baldness. However, it is important to note that Finasteride cannot be prescribed to women, as well as those under the age of 18. This is because female pattern hair loss is not found to be correlated with DHT levels in any way. So, using Finasteride would be useless in case of female pattern hair loss. 

Despite that, it is sometimes used as an ‘off-label’ drug to treat hirsutism in women, which is excessive hair growth in regions of the body such as the face and chest. Moreover, it is considered to be especially harmful for pregnant women because it carries the potential risk of teratogenicity in women bearing male fetuses. This means that if taken in weeks 8 to 12 of pregnancy, Finasteride might cause defects in the sex organs of a male fetus. 

If used during pregnancy, Finasteride might also cause memory issues in the offspring, therefore negatively impacting their learning abilities. 

Does Finasteride Thicken Hair?

As per research, Finasteride helps patients achieve long and thick hair by blocking DHT levels, thus targeting the very biology of hair regrowth. Moreover, some practitioners, such as Dr. Amiya Prasad (M.D), advocate that Finasteride ‘slows down’ hair loss. 

Finasteride lowers DHT serum levels on the scalp immediately after usage. A 65% reduction in DHT levels has been recorded within 24 hours of using the drug in the form of a 1 mg pill.  However, visible results come with consistent usage. In some cases, results can be seen as early as 3 months into the treatment, yet it may take around 6 to 12 months in other cases. 

In a long-term study that included a 10-year follow-up of Finasteride users, 21% of the cases reported better results after continuing the treatment beyond 5 years. 

This means that while consistency is the key, the treatment can look different for everyone. Therefore, it is important to develop a treatment continuation plan through regular consultations with a healthcare professional.

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Changes in Hair Weight After Finasteride Hair Thickening Treatment

In a research study, the effects of Finasteride on scalp hair weight were recorded over 4 years of treatment. The study involved randomized control trials including male patients with androgenetic alopecia. The patients were divided into two categories, with one being treated with Finasteride, while the other was not (placebo). 

It was concluded that long-term Finasteride usage in these patients improved hair weight. When compared to the placebo group, the group being treated with the drug showed a 21.6% increase in hair weight at 144 and 192 weeks. 

How is Finasteride Administered for Hair Thickening? 

The most commonly prescribed dosage of Finasteride for hair thickening is 1 mg per day. The pill should always be taken whole, as cutting or breaking it might reduce the efficacy of the drug. 

In case of a missed dose, you must take a make-up dose as soon as possible. It is important to note that you should never take 2 doses together to make up for a missed dose, as double dosing increases the risk of side effects. It can be taken at any time of the day, pre or post-meal. However, it must be taken around the same time each day, as changing the routine too much can make it less effective. 

Finasteride is considered to be safe for long-term use. You should never stop usage immediately without consulting a healthcare professional first.

If you are taking an off-label topical solution which might come in spray or gel form, you should use it in the following manner:

  • Prepare your scalp: Make sure your scalp is clean and dry before you apply the topical solution. Having washed your hair before application helps with absorption. 
  • Apply evenly: If you are using a dropper, measure the right dosage and apply evenly on bald patches. If you are applying the solution using a spray bottle, maintain a 2 to 3-inch distance from your scalp before spraying it in even amounts. 
  • Massage the area: Use the tips of your fingers to gently massage the bald areas on your scalp for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Remember to wash your hands before touching your skin, as Finasteride can be absorbed through the skin. 
  • Let it sit: For the best results, let the treatment settle on your scalp for 6 to 8 hours. It can even be left overnight to ensure effective absorption. 

Clinically Backed Treatment Options with Finasteride for Hair Thickening

Finasteride can be used together with other treatment options to achieve optimal results. 

Combined treatment options with finasteride

Finasteride and Dutasteride 

Dutasteride works by blocking an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase (5-AR), which is responsible for male pattern hair loss. 

What research studies say:

In a study conducted by the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, the effectiveness of treating female pattern hair loss using Finasteride and Dutasteride was recorded. The research was conducted over 3 years and involved 3500 women. The patients were divided into two groups: below and above 50 years of age. It was observed that in both groups, using these treatments improved hair density. Improved hair thickness was noted in 81.7% of women in the Finasteride group and 83.3% of women in the Dutasteride group. 

In another study involving a 47-year-old male, similar results were recorded. Despite 4 years of continuous Finasteride-only treatment, the patient did not display signs of improved hair density. However, when 0.5 mg of Dutasteride was added to his existing treatment, the thickness of his hair improved drastically. This case highlights the benefits of combined treatment options. 

These studies prove the effectiveness of both treatment options in improving the thickness of hair. As it is safe to take monitored dosages of both medications together, patients might want to consider using a combination treatment to achieve fuller hair. 

Some side effects that Dutasteride might cause include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Dilated veins around the neck region
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Swelling around the face, fingers, and lower legs
  • Fatigue

To reduce the risk of these side effects, it is important to consult a proper healthcare professional. Moreover, it is not considered safe to take this drug along with some medications due to the risk of interactions. These include:

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Diltiazem
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ritonavir
  • Verapamil 

If you are already taking these drugs, your doctor might recommend changing the dosage to reduce the risk of potential side effects. 

Finasteride and Minoxidil 

Minoxidil helps with hair loss by increasing the blood flow around hair follicles and stimulating the scalp. It comes in the form of oral medication, as well as topical solutions. 

What research studies say: 

In a study involving 50 male patients, the efficacy of using Finasteride alongside Minoxidil was observed. The patients were given a topical solution containing 5% Minoxidil, fortified with 0.1% Finasteride. 

After a period of continuous treatment, 84.44% of the patients were able to maintain good hair density. Therefore, using Finasteride in combination with Minoxidil can be effective if patients are trying to maintain hair thickness. 

However, applying too much topical Minoxidil can lead to unwanted side effects such as:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness 
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Tingling sensation in hands, feet, and face.

It is important to consult a doctor before incorporating Minoxidil into your routine.

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Finasteride and Microneedling 

Microneedling is a procedure that works by inducing micro-injuries on the scalp. By doing so, it promotes stem cell production in the hair follicles. This leads to hair growth and hair thickening.  The procedure also helps with the absorption of medication such as Finasteride, thereby speeding up patients’ hair growth process. 

What research studies say: 

The efficacy of microneedling was recorded in a study conducted by the Indian Journal of Dermatology. Four male patients, who had been undergoing Finasteride and Minoxidil treatment for 2 years, were unsatisfied with their therapy. They were exposed to microneedling therapy over 6 months, and the results recorded after that period were promising. 

Along with their existing therapy, microneedling helped in improving their hair density. Out of the four patients, 3 reported 75% satisfaction, while 1 reported 50% satisfaction. Hence, patients can try to incorporate microneedling to speed up their Finasteride hair thickening journey. 

Please note that it is important to get a licensed professional to do your micro-needling procedure to reduce the risk of the following side effects:

  • Bruising
  • Oozing from wounds on the scalp
  • Headache 
  • Redness, swelling, and pain

While the area might be inflamed immediately after the treatment, the side effects diminish after 5 to 7 days in most cases. 

Finasteride and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy 

PRP is a form of medical procedure that involves extracting plasma-rich blood from the patient’s body. That blood is then reinjected into the patient’s scalp, helping regenerate cells and tissues. PRP energizes the hair follicles by providing them with essential nutrients found in plasma-rich blood, thus stimulating the generation of thicker hair. 

A 2013 review of multiple scientific studies reported that PRP helped in improving hair density and thickness, meaning it can be used as an effective add-on to Finasteride treatment. 

As PRP derives blood from your own body, there is a reduced risk of allergies. However, here are some side effects that have been reported:

  • Infection
  • Nerve injuries
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Tissue damage

If you are thinking of undergoing a PRP treatment, it is important to let a trusted and licensed professional perform the procedure. 

How to Get the Best Results With Finasteride for Hair Thickening

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see overnight results with Finasteride, as it is a gradual process that requires patience and consistency. If you wish to speed up your hair-thickening journey with Finasteride, you can try out these complementary methods. 

Low-level Laser Therapy 

LLLT is an FDA-approved method that you can use along with your Finasteride treatment. It is considered to be an easy-to-use, drug-free, and painless treatment. 

Low-level laser therapy can be administered using a laser cap which resembles a baseball cap. The treatment works by placing the cap on your head for 30 minutes every other day. It helps to quicken the scalp’s natural hair growth cycle by stimulating hair follicles.

In a research study involving male and female alopecia patients, LLLT proved to be beneficial, as it significantly improved hair density and diameter. So, keeping in mind this scientific evidence, LLLT, along with Finasteride, might help patients achieve faster results.

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Biotin is a form of Vitamin B that is naturally found in foods such as eggs and bananas. It is also available as a supplement in the form of pills and syrups. Biotin promotes keratin production, which helps in achieving healthy skin and nails.

In a study involving healthy females with thinning hair, the efficacy of oral biotin supplements was evaluated. After continuous usage, the subjects reported increased hair volume. As biotin deficiency might cause hair thinning, taking biotin supplements may help you achieve fuller hair if you are already using Finasteride. 

Scalp Massage

By massaging your scalp, you are causing your blood vessels to expand. This generates increased blood flow and stretches out the cells of hair follicles, therefore causing them to produce thicker strands of hair. 

The impact of standardized scalp massages was seen in a study that involved Japanese men. The subjects received 4-minute long scalp massages every day for 24 weeks. By the end of this period, most patients reported increased hair thickness. 

Scalp massages can be delivered manually, as well as through massaging devices. Here’s how to deliver a standardized, manual scalp massage to promote the growth of thicker, fuller hair: 

  • Use the fingertips of both your hands to massage your scalp in short-circulation motions
  • Move your fingers around to cover the entire area of your scalp
  • Do this process for 5 minutes each day.

You can incorporate essential oils such as lavender oil, jojoba oil, and rosemary oil into your massaging routine. Doing so might make the experience more relaxing, and these oils also help with hair growth. 

A scalp massage is a quick, low-effort, and free method that you can add to your Finasteride treatment to achieve better results. 

DHT Blocking Shampoos

As Finasteride works by blocking the production of DHT, using shampoos that serve the same purpose might boost the results. 

These shampoos contain ingredients that help in reducing DHT serum levels in the scalp, such as: 

  • Pumpkin seed oil: Pumpkin seed oil is a natural DHT blocker. It prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT. A study showed that men who took 400 mg of this oil each day reported decreased DHT levels. 
  • Ketoconazole: This anti-inflammatory drug helps in promoting healthy hair growth. In a study involving alopecia patients, Ketoconazole showed improved hair growth in as little as 30 days. 
  • Saw palmetto: This natural berry extract is famous for its hair-thickening properties. It also helps in lowering DHT levels, making it perfect for usage alongside Finasteride. 


Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is an Ayurvedic medicine used for hair growth. It works by stimulating hair follicles to achieve healthier hair. Amla can be added to your hair care regimen by using it in the form of a shampoo, oil, or pills. 

Its efficacy was evaluated in a clinical study involving 42 subjects who were treated with an amla hair serum for 92 days. By the end of the 92 days, their hair density improved significantly. This proves that amla can be a good add-on to your Finasteride hair thickening treatment. 

Managing Risks When Using Finasteride for Hair Thickening

Using Finasteride for hair thickening comes with some important considerations. Keeping these in mind can help you achieve optimal results, as well as keep you safe from potential hazards and side effects. 

Side Effects of Using Finasteride 

Side Effects of Using Finasteride 

Although Finasteride is an FDA-approved, safe drug, it might lead to some unwanted effects. Contact your doctor in case you experience the following side effects upon taking Finasteride in the form of oral medication.

More Common: 

  • Chills
  • Cold sweats
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness.

Less Common: 

  • Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Redness of the skin
  • Swelling around the lips and face
  • Tingling of the hands or feet.

Drug Interactions

To ensure safe consumption, keep in mind that Finasteride interacts with some drugs. If you are taking any of these, contact your doctor so they can adjust your routine and recommend safe dosages:

  • Abametapir topical
  • Adagrasib
  • Avacopan
  • Diltiazem
  • Duvelisib
  • Fluconazole
  • Fluvoxamine

Please note that these are just generic drug names, and can come in the form of different brand names.

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Key Takeaways

  • People wonder, ‘Does Finasteride Thicken hair’? Finasteride is a prescription drug that is used for treating male pattern baldness. It works by lowering DHT levels in the scalp, a hormone that contributes to hair loss by shrinking hair follicles. 
  • Finasteride is an effective treatment for men with alopecia. However, it is not considered to be safe or effective for women, especially pregnant women. 
  • It takes anywhere from 3 months to 5 years to see desired results with Finasteride. The typical dosage is 1 mg per day. 
  • Combining Finasteride with other treatments like Dutasteride, Minoxidil, or microneedling can boost results and help patients with Finasteride hair thickening. 
  • Side effects include dizziness, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. Finasteride interacts with some drugs, so it is important to consult your doctor before taking Finasteride pills. 
  • Finasteride, when used in combination with low-level laser therapy, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and biotin, can help in achieving enhanced results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Results are normally seen after 3 to 12 months of consistent usage. 

While its main purpose is hair regrowth, some studies suggest that Finasteride can also thicken hair. 

Yes, Finasteride can potentially regrow hair around the crown area. 

It depends on your specific situation. But in most cases, continuous treatment is often necessary to maintain results. 

Finasteride has a high success rate, but it might not work for everyone. Consider using other treatment options such as platelet-rich plasma therapy. 

Finasteride is found to be 90% effective for men experiencing male pattern baldness.

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