Finasteride is a medication used to treat male pattern baldness. It is a synthetic drug designed to reduce the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss in men. When taken daily, finasteride can help slow or even reverse the balding process. It can also be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges and puts pressure on the bladder and urethra. Finasteride works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT in the body. When this enzyme is blocked, the amount of DHT produced in the body is reduced, allowing hair follicles to remain in their growth phase longer. In men with male pattern baldness, this can result in thicker, stronger hair in certain areas of the scalp. Finasteride can also reduce prostate size in men with BPH, relieving symptoms such as frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and weak urine flow. While finasteride can provide significant benefits for men with male pattern baldness or BPH, it also comes with certain risks. It is not recommended for use in women or children, and it can cause a decrease in libido and erectile dysfunction in some men. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of finasteride before starting treatment.
Minoxidil is a medication used to treat thinning hair in both men and women. It belongs to a class of medications called vasodilators, which work by widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the scalp. Minoxidil was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription drug in 1988 for the treatment of male pattern baldness, but it was later approved as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication in 1996. Since then, it has become one of the most popular treatments for hair loss. Minoxidil is applied directly to the scalp twice daily. It usually takes at least four months of regular use before results become noticeable, and continued use is necessary to maintain the effects. Common side effects of minoxidil include itching, burning, and redness of the scalp. In rare cases, it can cause more serious side effects such as chest pain, dizziness, or fainting. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use minoxidil, and people with heart conditions should speak with their doctor before using the medication. Minoxidil is a safe and effective treatment for many people with hair loss, but it is important to talk to your doctor if you are considering using it.