Propecia® (Finasteride)

Propecia® (Finasteride) is a drug clinically indicated for enlarged prostate glands. It prevents testosterone from being converted into DHT. It can prevent and improve male-pattern baldness, and may now be prescribed by doctors in the U.S. for this purpose. Since Finasteride is an oral medication, rather than a solution, it is more convenient than Minoxidil.

It is most effective when the areas of concern have many fine, thin hairs. Also, younger patients seem to respond better than older patients. If your hair loss is extensive, it is unlikely to provide you with your desired result. For hair growth to continue, it must be taken indefinitely.

Recognized side effects, experienced by about 2% of users, include erectile dysfunction. In trial studies, side effects ceased after the dosage was discontinued. If you have any questions, call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Yael Halaas. We can provide an expert opinion on your hair loss.


Minoxidil is a vasodilator that was originally exclusively used as an oral drug (Loniten®) to treat high blood pressure. It was, however, discovered to have the interesting side effect of hair growth and reversing baldness. In the 1980s, Upjohn Corporation produced a topical solution that contained 2% Minoxidil, to treat baldness and hair loss, called Rogaine. Treatments usually include a 5% concentration solution designed for men, while the 2% concentration solution is designed for women.

As a drug to combat hair loss, the most common side effect is an itchy scalp.

If a person uses Minoxidil to stop hair loss, it will work until the product is discontinued.

Treatments With Low Success

Thousands of products for baldness are advertised on TV and on the Internet. They claim to make hair regrow, or simply to stop further loss. Most charge high prices and use Minoxidil, which can be purchased over-the-counter in your local pharmacy for approximately $10.

Other products have not been assessed by proper research studies. They aim to persuade the consumer with a ‘true life’ success story. Since hair loss is often noticeable for a month or two and then stops for a few months it is easy to imagine that the product is having an effect. Without a reputable research study, the effectiveness and safety are unknown. Be sure to use treatments that have been FDA approved for your own safety.


Wash your hair a few times a week with a mild shampoo. The more you wash your hair, the more you strip the hair of its natural oils (which promote growth). Although the hair may appear oily for the first week or two, the oil production will regulate itself as it adjusts to your new pattern. You should avoid anything that could make your hair likely to break. For example, avoid putting your hair up, or pulling it back, when it is wet. Don’t rub your hair vigorously, or use a hot hairdryer. Rather, pat the hair dry with a soft towel, or use a low setting on the dryer. It is best to let the hair dry naturally. Be sure to use a brush with soft bristles. Additionally, always use a conditioner, and a detangler after you shower, to undo any tangles. You should never pull tangled hair with a comb. Finally, be sure to protect any bald areas from sun damage.

  • Propecia® is a registered trademark of Merck Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Rogaine® is a registered trademark of Pfizer, Inc.

Written by Dr. Halaas

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