Finasteride has long been used to stimulate scalp hair growth in men with male pattern baldness. In fact, Finasteride 1mg is the most recommended men’s hair loss treatment, with 69.1% of hair restoration specialists always or often recommending it .
But Finasteride for beard growth isn’t as popular. That’s because there’s limited evidence showing that Finasteride can boost your beard — in fact, Finasteride might actually limit your facial hair growth.
In this article, discover the impact of Finasteride for beard growth, and whether it’s the right medication for treating your hair loss.
Finasteride slows scalp hair loss by inhibiting production of the androgen DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. It works by limiting the activity of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone to DHT.
DHT binds to androgen receptors in your scalp hair follicles, leading to hair loss. But beard follicles aren’t vulnerable to DHT in the same way. In fact, DHT has the opposite effect on facial hair follicles: it can accelerate beard growth.
Androgens have a significant effect on scalp and body hair, especially in men . DHT in particular is necessary for accelerating beard growth; a lack of 5-alpha reductase has been shown to result in almost no beard growth or scalp hair loss.
Research has shown that DHT stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which has a positive growth effect on beard follicle cells .
DHT isn’t the only androgen that’s important for beard growth; testosterone plays a part, too. DHT promotes linear facial hair growth, while testosterone primes the hair follicles, leading to greater beard density .
The concentration of DHT in your body is linked with androgen-induced hair follicle development . That means higher levels of DHT can lead to better beard growth.
As a result, reducing DHT levels by taking Finasteride can theoretically inhibit facial hair growth.
Yes, it’s possible to grow a beard on Finasteride. Many men who take Finasteride for their scalp hair loss see no impact on their facial hair.
In fact, some research shows that men with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) actually have more facial hair than others, due to their high levels of DHT .
Because oral Finasteride lowers serum DHT levels — that is, the amount of DHT circulating in your body — it can inhibit beard growth in theory.
Studies investigating this link are limited, but the ones that do exist don’t necessarily support this idea. In one study, 88.9% of male pattern baldness patients with high levels of body and facial hair agreed that Finasteride was effective . None of these patients — or the patients with low levels of body and facial hair — reported any effect on their beard or body hair when using Finasteride.
So while oral Finasteride doesn’t necessarily help with beard growth, it won’t always lead to beard bald spots, either.
However, topical Finasteride is a different matter. Studies have shown that applying topical Finasteride to the face could significantly reduce facial hair growth in women [6-7].
Finasteride may be linked with beard thinning, though more research is needed to establish whether this is the case. One small study suggests Finasteride has no effect on facial hair growth .
Other evidence suggests DHT production is higher in the beard follicles than the scalp follicles . If this is the case, Finasteride may be unable to fully suppress facial DHT production, which is why beard hair is less sensitive to Finasteride than scalp hair.
There are a few anecdotal reports claiming that Finasteride use led to beard thinning. But ultimately, every patient will have a different experience when using Finasteride.
If you have scalp hair loss, Finasteride can still be one of the most effective ways to slow thinning and even promote regrowth — and the evidence linking it to beard hair loss is limited and largely theoretical.
Finasteride is just one of a number of DHT blockers, but it’s popular because it’s licensed as a hair loss treatment in the UK. Other DHT blockers like Dutasteride haven’t yet been approved, but it’s likely they will have a similar effect to Finasteride for beard growth.
If you’re worried about thinning facial hair or lack of beard growth while taking Finasteride, there are ways to counteract this:
Speaking to a beard hair loss specialist is the best way to diagnose and treat your thinning facial hair. Book a free consultation at your nearest Wimpole Clinic location to get started.
Men with male pattern baldness often have a good chance of growing a full beard, thanks to their high DHT levels. And while research is limited, studies have shown that this beard growth is unlikely to be affected by taking Finasteride. So if you haven’t taken Finasteride before, there’s a good chance it will help you regrow your scalp hair without hindering beard growth too much (though it’s possible higher doses may slow down facial hair growth).
If you’re already taking Finasteride and believe it might be causing you to lose facial hair, speak to your doctor or trichologist. They may be able to offer beard growth solutions to counteract this or help you find an alternative to Finasteride that doesn’t impact your facial hair.
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