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Finasteride Shedding: Everything You Need To Know
Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Updated on December 5, 2023

Finasteride has been used to treat hair loss and even hair regrowth for many years now. It’s a hugely successful men’s hair loss treatment, with one study finding that 83% of men suffering from male pattern baldness stopped losing hair while taking Finasteride [1].

As with all medicines, however, there are some side effects to this drug, including hair shedding. This temporary hair loss happens within the first few months of use, and it can cause alarm.

Fortunately, hair shedding is a perfectly normal part of the Finasteride treatment process, even when taking the recommended dosage which is usually one tablet (1 mg) taken once daily.

So what causes Finasteride shedding — and when can you expect to see sustained results from taking Finasteride?

Table of Contents

What is Finasteride and how does it work?

Usually available under the brand name Propecia, Finasteride is a tablet that helps to treat hair loss in men who are experiencing male pattern baldness. It works by blocking the production of certain hormones in the body.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the main cause of pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). The body converts testosterone into DHT, an androgen (male sex hormone). DHT is why men are more commonly affected by hair loss than women.

It’s also why Finasteride is generally unsuitable for addressing female hair loss. Finasteride reduces DHT production, which can prevent further hair loss. When you stop taking Finasteride, DHT production resumes, so hair loss may continue if you stop taking the drug.

In the initial months of Finasteride use, many men actually notice more hair loss than usual. This is Finasteride shedding.

Why does Finasteride cause hair shedding?

Hair grows in cycles. The cycle starts with the growth phase (anagen), then transitions to a resting phase (catagen, followed by telogen – the resting stage of the hair growth cycle). The final stage of the cycle is the shedding phase, exogen.

hair growth cycle

When you start using Finasteride, hair follicles in the resting or telogen phase skip ahead to the growth phase and begin to produce new hair.

However, before new hair can grow, these resting hair follicles must shed any existing hair. By doing this, they make way for healthy new hair in your dormant follicles.

How much Finasteride shedding is normal?

It’s normal to see a noticeable amount of hair shedding in the first few months of using Finasteride. Even people who don’t experience any kind of hair loss can expect to shed 50-100 hairs each day [2], so don’t worry if you see even more than this.

Different people will notice shedding at different stages of Finasteride use. Mostly it happens 2-3 months after you begin using the hair loss medication, though for some people Finasteride shedding can happen as early as 2 weeks after treatment.

How long does Finasteride shedding last?

Finasteride shedding usually lasts no more than approximately 2 weeks. While the shedding stage is ongoing, it’s important to remember that you’re shedding hair to make way for new hair growth — so try not to be too concerned about your hair loss during this phase.

If you’re really worried about your thinning hair, or the shedding has lasted much longer than 2 weeks, speak to your hair loss consultant for advice.

Learn more about how long it takes for Finasteride to work to see how shedding affects hair growth on Finasteride.

Can you stop or slow Finasteride shedding?

The only way to stop or slow Finasteride shedding is to stop taking the drug. However, Finasteride isn’t a permanent solution to hair loss — if you stop taking it, DHT production will resume, and your natural hair loss will continue.

Finasteride shedding is a normal part of the hair growth process when taking this medication, and is actually a sign that the drug is working — so you shouldn’t try to prevent it.

The best thing to do is continue with your prescribed course of the hair loss medication and speak to your trichologist about any concerns. Learn more about whether Finasteride works.

How long does it take to see sustained hair growth from Finasteride?

Like other types of hair loss treatment, it usually takes a few months to see sustained, noticeable hair growth after you start taking Finasteride. Most men start to see results 6-8 months after treatment, with final results usually visible after around 12-18 months.

You can promote healthy hair growth by living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet that contains all the hair growth nutrients you need, getting plenty of exercise, and taking care of your existing hair by minimising the use of harsh styling products.

What are some other side effects of taking Finasteride?

To learn more about the side effects of finasteride please read our complete finasteride guide.

Are there alternative hair loss treatments?

Finasteride isn’t the best hair loss treatment for everyone. It’s unsuitable for most women, and the potential side effects can deter some men from opting for this treatment. (Get in touch to discover the best female hair loss treatment service based at the Wimpole Clinic.)

However, there are plenty of alternative hair loss products that work available, including other medications, vitamin therapy, laser hair loss treatment, and hair transplants.

Studies suggest that combining treatments such as Finasteride and Minoxidil can improve the chances of successful hair growth even more [3], so getting a personalised treatment plan is the best way to stimulate sustained hair growth. 

How can you tell if Finasteride is working for you?

When you’re anxious to see results, it can be tempting to constantly monitor your hair for signs of growth. However, hair restoration is a slow process that needs time, care and patience.

The good news is that there are some signs you can look for to see the effectiveness of your hair loss treatment. Learn more about how you can tell if your hair loss product is working.

What can I do if I am worried about hair thinning?

If you find that hair loss is getting you down and affecting your confidence and mental health, then there is no need to suffer in silence.

Our award-winning hair restoration clinic has helped thousands of individuals over the years get the treatment they need to restore their hair. Whether it be through hair loss medications, alternative therapies, or hair transplants, our hair loss specialists remain dedicated to creating the right treatment play for you based on your needs and goals.

Check out our reviews page and take a peek at our gallery to get an idea of the type of high-quality services we can provide for you.

When you are ready to learn more, book a consultation with us to find out more about what we can do for you.

Finasteride Shedding: Everything You Need To Know, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Luciano Sciacca (GMC)Updated on December 5, 2023
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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