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Why Isn’t Finasteride Working For My Hair Loss?
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on April 9, 2024

If you’ve been using Finasteride for a while, you may be expecting hair growth to kick in any day now. After all, it’s one of the most effective drugs for male hair loss, second only to Dutasteride [1]. Studies show that 83% of men with crown hair loss can stop balding using Finasteride [2].

Unfortunately, sometimes Finasteride doesn’t work. This can happen for several reasons, so if you’re concerned about your male pattern baldness, it’s important to uncover why Finasteride is not working for you. Here, you’ll learn why Finasteride might not be working, and what you can do to improve the effectiveness of Finasteride.

Table of Contents
Why am I still going bald on Finasteride?

Why am I still going bald on Finasteride?

To answer this question, you need to consider how long you’ve been taking Finasteride. Finasteride hair shedding is a common side effect in the first few months, as your hair growth cycle adjusts to this new hair loss medication.

Growth cycle of hair follicles
Hair growth cycle

While this shedding may make it seem like Finasteride isn’t working, it’s actually a normal part of the process. So if you haven’t been using Finasteride for long, stick with the treatment for a few more months to see if it resolves itself.

However, if you’ve been using Finasteride for longer than six months and it doesn’t seem to be working for your hair loss, there may be other factors in play.

5 reasons Finasteride may not be working

Here are five reasons Finasteride may not be working for you.

1. You’re using it for the wrong type of hair loss

Finasteride is only effective for male pattern baldness (and, in some very limited cases, female pattern hair loss). If you have alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, or another type of alopecia, you probably won’t respond to Finasteride treatment.

The Norwood Scale is often used to diagnose male pattern baldness. See if your hair matches the patterns in this scale. If it doesn’t, you may have a different type of hair loss:

The Hamilton-Norwood scale shows the different stages of male pattern hair loss
The Norwood Scale used to diagnose the stage of male pattern baldness

2. Your hair loss is too extensive

Finasteride works best when used in the earlier stages of hair loss. If your hair loss is already in the latter stages, you may find it’s too late to see much impact from Finasteride.

In these cases, you may want to speak to a UK hair transplant clinic about surgical hair restoration treatments, such as FUE or FUT.

3. You haven’t been using Finasteride long enough

It usually takes at least three months to see an impact from using Finasteride for hair loss. In some cases, this is extended to six months. If you’ve only been taking Finasteride for a couple of months, it may be too early to see results.

4. You’re not taking Finasteride often enough

Reducing your intake of Finasteride below the prescribed amount can inhibit its impact. Most men are recommended to take 1mg of Finasteride each day. If you’re using topical Finasteride, apply the amount as instructed on the bottle.

5. The effectiveness of Finasteride has plateaued

Finasteride users tend to see the biggest hair improvements within one year of use [3]. This graph shows the modified global photographic assessment score results for men at various Norwood stages taking Finasteride over a 10-year period:

The effectiveness of Finasteride has plateaued

Improvements often continue for up to six years, depending on your Norwood stage. But after a while, your results from using Finasteride can plateau. So if you’re a long-term Finasteride user, you may find Finasteride doesn’t work as well as it used to.

Can Finasteride worsen hair loss?

The good news is that there’s no evidence to suggest Finasteride can make hair loss worse outside of temporary Finasteride shedding. The hairs you lose during the shedding phase will grow back with or without Finasteride treatment.

What to do if Finasteride isn’t working

It’s important to define what Finasteride success looks like. Hair growth is generally less common than slowing or stopping hair loss. While Finasteride stopped hair loss in 83% of men with crown hair loss, hair regrowth occurred in 61% [2]. For frontal balding, 70% saw slowed hair loss, while just 37% regrew their hair. So managing your expectations is a good place to start.

However, if you’re not seeing the Finasteride results you hoped for, there are things you can do. Here’s what to do at each stage of the timeline.

What to do if Finasteride isn’t working after 6 months

While most people do see hair growth improvements after six months, it’s possible that you have a slightly longer hair growth cycle than usual. If this is the case, it may take longer to see results.

If you’re coping with the side effects of Finasteride, try to continue taking it for a few more weeks to see if there’s any improvement.

At this stage, it may also be a good idea to try another complementary therapy alongside Finasteride, to see if it boosts the effects.

What to do if Finasteride isn’t working after 9 months

After nine months of Finasteride use, the majority of users will see substantial sustained improvement in their hair loss. Even slight improvements at this stage are possible.

If you haven’t seen any improvements after nine months, speak to your hair loss consultant. They can examine your scalp for signs of hair regrowth and discuss additional or alternative treatments with you.

What to do if Finasteride isn’t working after 1 year

If Finasteride still isn’t working after a year, chances are it’s not the right hair loss treatment for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to Finasteride that can also help stop hair loss.

Book an appointment with your hair loss consultant to explore some of these alternative options.

How can I improve Finasteride’s effectiveness?

These tips can help improve the chances of Finasteride working for you:

  • Make sure you’re taking the prescribed amount of Finasteride. For most men, this is a 1mg oral tablet every day. If you decide to just take Finasteride three times a week, your results may be inhibited or delayed.
  • Combine Finasteride with Minoxidil. Research shows combining these treatments can produce better results than using one or the other [4-5].
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet for healthy hair and quitting smoking can help prolong your hair’s lifespan [6].
  • Speak to a hair loss specialist. At the Wimpole Clinic, we can offer additional complementary treatments that may boost the effectiveness of Finasteride, such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) [7]. Get in touch to find out more.

Why Isn’t Finasteride Working For My Hair Loss?, Wimpole Clinic

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

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