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The Best Way to Apply Topical Finasteride For Excellent Results
Dr Peter Thomas (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Peter Thomas (GMC)
Updated on May 9, 2024

Figuring out how to apply topical Finasteride can be tricky for new users. It is natural to want to do everything perfectly, so you can achieve the best possible results in curbing your male pattern baldness. However, you will be happy to know that using this medication is quite simple once you follow a few easy steps. 

Applying the topical hair loss treatment on a clean scalp, respecting the recommended dosage and creating a consistent routine is key to promoting hair regrowth. But there are also a few tips and tricks you can use to enhance your Finasteride results.   

Keep reading this article to learn all you need to know about:

  • How does topical Finasteride compare to oral Finasteride
  • The best way to apply topical Finasteride 
  • Pro tips for enhancing the effect of this medication
  • Topical Finasteride alternatives for hair loss 
Table of Contents

What is the difference between topical and oral Finasteride?

The main difference between topical and oral Finasteride consists in the form under which this substance can be found and used. Presently, only oral tablets (either Finasteride 1 mg or Finasteride 5 mg) have been approved by the FDA for treating androgenetic alopecia. But its topical variety – usually encountered as a spray, a solution or a gel – can also be prescribed off-label.

Research shows that both forms of Finasteride are just as effective in reducing hair shedding caused by male pattern baldness and stimulating new hair growth [1][2]. Moreover, the topical variety is likely to have fewer systemic side effects, as it is merely absorbed through your scalp, not ingested. 

Best Way to Apply Topical Finasteride

What is the best way to apply topical Finasteride for outstanding results?

There are a few simple steps you need to follow to properly apply topical Finasteride to your scalp:

1. Make sure your scalp is clean and dry

A clean scalp can absorb topical medication more easily and a dry one can prevent the substance from becoming diluted in water. Having washed your hair earlier during the day is probably best to ensure the right conditions for applying Finasteride.  

2. Use the recommended dosage on your thinning areas

When prescribing topical Finasteride, your trichologist will let you know how many drops of solution, puffs of spray or what size blob of gel/foam to apply with each use. If you are using a dropper, carefully and patiently measure the right dose of solution and drop small amounts evenly across your balding areas. If it is a spray, keep it 2-3 inches from your head and firmly press the cap to release the right number of puffs. 

3. Gently rub the solution into your scalp

Use your finger pads to gently rub the solution in and distribute it evenly across the problem areas on your scalp. After you are done, remember to wash your hands before touching other parts of your body.  

4. Let it absorb for 6-8 hours

Topical Finasteride needs an extended amount of time – normally, approximately 6-8 hours – to effectively penetrate your scalp and produce results. Leaving it on overnight is a very good option to ensure it has had enough time to be properly absorbed. 

5. Follow a consistent hair loss treatment routine 

Consistency is key in taking any medication, and topical Finasteride is no different. If your trichologist prescribed a single dose per day, applying it right before bedtime can be convenient and help you remember to use your medication at approximately the same time each day.

If you need to use Finasteride twice a day, most people find it comfortable to apply the additional dose in the morning, before leaving for work. This ensures sufficient distance between applications and creates good hair-care habits.   

6. Bonus Pro Tips

Now that you have mastered the basics of applying topical Finasteride, here are some additional, optional tips that can help you use this treatment like a pro, for enhanced results:

  • Try dermarolling for hair growth before using topical Finasteride – research shows that using a derma roller on your scalp can have significant benefits in improving hair density in androgenetic alopecia [3]. And it has also been found to increase the absorption of topical medication, such as topical Minoxidil or Finasteride if used 24 hours before their application, leading to a more powerful effect [4].  
  • Use Minoxidil alongside Finasteride –  Using Minoxidil combined with Finasteride has been proven to enhance both their effects [5]. And there are convenient topical formulas on the market which contain the optimal dose of both substances. 
  • Have a prolonged scalp massage after applying topical Finasteride – rubbing your Finasteride solution in is optional, the medication works even if you don’t do so. However, taking some time to relax with a gentle 5-minute scalp massage after each application can help stimulate your follicles for hair growth. That is because it increases blood flow to your hair roots and the mechanical stretching of the scalp can even activate certain genes which play a role in hair production [6].
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How long does it take for topical Finasteride to absorb?

The exact absorption rate changes from one person to another. However, experts agree that it is generally a good idea to leave the Finasteride on for at least 4 hours (ideally,  6-8 hours), for optimal scalp penetration. That is why if your trichologist only recommended one application per day, it is best to do so before bedtime, so you can wash your hair in the morning. 

Does topical Finasteride only work where applied?

While it is best to apply topical Finasteride directly on your thinning areas, don’t worry if you don’t manage to cover them all perfectly. Just do your best to get as close as possible to where you need the medicine to act and rub the solution across your scalp to help spread it more evenly.   

Would you like to know more about your hair growth treatment?

If you still have questions about your hair loss treatment or would like the recommendation of an expert to ensure it is the best option for you, we are here to help. Book a consultation with one of our top-tier trichologists and get clear, competent advice, personalised to your type of alopecia, your general health status and your individual preferences.

If you find that your non-surgical hair growth treatments fail to produce the results you have been hoping for, our specialist can also determine whether you are a good candidate for a hair transplant. This painless procedure, which requires no hospitalisation, can solve your hair problems indefinitely because hair transplants are permanent. Check out our before and after hair transplant gallery to see the kind of excellent results you could obtain.

The Best Way to Apply Topical Finasteride For Excellent Results, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Peter Thomas (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Peter Thomas (GMC)Updated on May 9, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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