Minoxidil vs Finasteride: Do Both Really Work?

Minoxidil vs Finasteride: Do Both Really Work?
Published : Feb 04, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

Are you losing hair? If yes, then you are not alone because two out of three men experience some kind of male pattern baldness.

That’s where minoxidil and finasteride come in. But what are they? 

Minoxidil and finasteride are two popular and clinically proven treatments for treating men’s hair loss problems.

Though both medicines work to attain same goal i.e. slow down hair loss and promote regrowth but in completely different ways.

What is Male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is mainly a loss of scalp hair in men. It occurs in old men due to changes in hormone levels.

Nowadays, a number of men across world suffer from male pattern baldness. It is important to know that by age of 50, one in two men experience some degree of hair loss.

Though it is a normal part of aging but hair loss can be mentally distressing for several men. Medicines like minoxidil and finasteride can be effective in treating androgenetic alopecia.

Can minoxidil and finasteride regrow your hair?

One major treatment for balding is a hair transplant, but this surgical procedure carries some risks. If you are looking for less invasive hair loss treatments then two prescription drugs minoxidil and finasteride can help. 

Both these medicines promote hair growth. Also, minoxidil is beneficial for treating female pattern baldness.


Minoxidil is available at drugstores in over-the-counter. It comes in different forms including serums, shampoos, and foams. This medicine is a vasodilator that widens blood vessels to increase flow of blood to scalp.

In this way, minoxidil increases supply of nutrients to hair follicles and makes them strong. Also, minoxidil is considered to play a vital role in its ability to promote growth of hair.

Minoxidil is safe for use in men and women both. You will notice growth of new hair within 6 to 12 months. To experience continued benefits, you must not discontinue minoxidil as it can cause hair loss again.

Nevertheless, there are some common side effects of this medication including fast heart rate, dizziness, and fainting. Burning or stinging at application site on your scalp is one common side effect of Minoxidil.


Finasteride or Fincar is a prescription medicine that comes in pill form and is easy to swallow. Initially, it was used to decrease an enlarged prostate gland in men but now it is used for treating hair loss problems.

It is discovered that finasteride prevents male hormone DHT from attacking your hair follicles and slowing hair loss.  Oral finasteride is prescribed to adult men and not individuals below 18 years or women.

After a few months of finasteride treatment, you will experience improvements in hair growth.

To maintain effect of this medication, it is necessary to continue this treatment for full prescribed time. If you stop taking oral finasteride or discontinue it then balding process can start again.

Potential side effects of finasteride pill include decreased libido, nipple discharge, testicle pain, and trouble urinating. If you experience any of these side effects, make sure to inform your doctor immediately.

Can you use minoxidil and finasteride together?

Both minoxidil and finasteride are FDA-approved for treating hair loss problems. You can use these medicines together to improve growth of your hair in less time.

Taking finasteride and minoxidil together is safe and beneficial for hair loss problems in men. This is because each medicine comes with a different mechanism of action. You must follow a doctor’s prescription to attain maximum benefits. 

Minoxidil increases flow of blood to hair follicles and promotes growth of new hair. While finasteride protects your hair follicles from effects of DHT or testosterone hormone.

Remember you can use finasteride and minoxidil as a compounded topical product to treat your medical condition. When topical minoxidil and oral finasteride are combined, there is a great improvement in male pattern baldness.

Before starting either of these medicines, it is vital to get professional medical advice. Remember minoxidil and finasteride never work for treating other forms of hair loss caused due to following reasons:

  • Stress
  • Hair thinning
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medicines side effects

Minoxidil vs Finasteride: Which is better?

It is important to know that finasteride is more effective than minoxidil for treating hair loss problems. For the treatment of male pattern baldness, finasteride is used by over two thirds of patients, who report healthy new hair growth.

Nevertheless, it is important to know that a treatment plan that includes finasteride for hair growth can be expensive. To experience continued benefits of finasteride, you need to use this medicine for a long time.

Sometimes, finasteride can also cause rare sexual side effects in some men like reduced libido and erectile dysfunction. Both finasteride and minoxidil are FDA-approved treatments for promoting hair growth on your scalp.

They are effective treatments for hair loss only when used under supervision of a doctor. In case, you do not get satisfactory results after one year of treatment with minoxidil and finasteride then a hair transplant can help.

Though hair loss treatment you select is going to depend upon your needs, seriousness of hair loss, and side effects tolerance.

Minoxidil vs Finasteride: What are their side effects?

Finasteride is more likely to cause major side effects than minoxidil relating to sexual function.

Side effects of finasteride include:

  • Loss of libido
  • Increased risk of breast cancer in men
  • Anxiety and depression

Minoxidil side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Folliculitis
  • Skin irritation
  • Dry or scaly skin
  • Excessive body hair growth

Call your doctor and get help, if you experience any of these side effects during treatment.