Do hair loss treatments work?
30 November 2023 / 8 minutes read /
Finasteride is among the two medicines (along with Minoxidil) proven clinically to aid people suffering from hair loss. Although Finasteride works immediately, it takes several months before you notice any tangible effects. In this article we’ve set out a timeline in order to show you what you can expect.
After you have taken your first pill, Finasteride will get to begin working and take immediate effects on your system. It works by reducing DHT production. DHT is the primary hormone responsible for male hair loss. Studies show Finasteride to reduce DHT levels by up to 70%. On day one you’ve taken your first step towards succesfully treating your hair loss, but even so, it’s not enough to produce significant results just yet. For the results to become noticeable, you have a few more weeks to go.
Between month one and three is where the magic happens. After a few months of regular use you may experience something a phenomena called “shedding”. A proces in which Finasteride causes your old hairs to shed and to be replaced by new hair that’s thicker, stronger and able to grow longer. This is because Finasteride positively impacts the hair growth cycle; prolonging the hair growth phase.
The shedding phase last about 1 to 2 weeks. During this time you will lose a bit more hair then usual. This is a normal and expected process. Hair lost will grow back stronger and thicker so it’s nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s a pretty good indicator that Finasteride is doing its job.
Between the thirth and sixth month the effects of Finasteride become noticable. Hair loss has stabilised, meaning it should have stopped completely. While running your hands through your hair you should expect to see a lot less hair between your fingers compared to before your treatment with Finasteride.
You should also notice a difference in hair texture, namely that you hair has become thicker. Some men also experience some regrowh, as in regrowing hair on previously bald places. If you’re one of them, you’re lucky. Having said all that, the effect on hair regrowth is usually minimal, so don’t expect any miracles here. The primary function of Finasteride is to stop hair loss, not to cause hair regrowth.
This makes it all the more important to start taking Finasteride before you’re already bald. Because ones you’re are, there is pretty much nothing you can do about it.
Between the sixth and twelfth month you can expect further improvements. Some men that didn’t respond well to Finasteride during the first few months, might notice an effect now. Studies also show that some side effects, such as a decrease in libido, resolve on its own during this period.
The risk of getting side affects is around 3% to 5%, which is considered to be low. Especially if you compare it with the efficacy rate Finasteride has, which lies between 70% en 99%. Anyway, a study encompassing a time period of 5 years showed the following data: 1.9% decreased libido at year 1, 1.3% at year 2, 0.5% at year 4.
As you can see, the amount of men who experienced a decrease in libido as a result of a treatment with Finasteride decreased with continuous use. From 1.9% in year 1 to 0.5% at year 4.
The one year mark is the time at which you are able to tell if Finasteride has been effective or not. Did it stop your hair loss are you one of the unlucky ones that didn’t benefit from Finasteride? If Finasteride failed to have an effect at the one year mark, it is generally adviced to quit taking Finasteride, given that a sudden improvement is highly unlikely.
For those that benefitted from the use of Finasteride - they are expected to maintain their results with continued use. This has been confirmed in long term studies in which hair loss was stopped in 84% en 99% of men during a study period of 5 and 10 years.
It’s is important to note that continuing your regimen is crucial to sustaining your gains. It is essential to keep in mind that these treatments are only effective for the time you're taking them. Discontinuing the treatment will cause your DHT levels to return to baseline, causing your hair loss to resume.
Patience and perserverence are essential traits when it comes down to treating your hair loss. Consistency is key.