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Topical Finasteride Strengths: What Finasteride Strength Is Normally Used for Hair Loss?

Learn what strengths of topical finasteride are normally made in compounding pharmacies, what strengths are used in studies, and which strength may be best for you.

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Topical Finasteride is a relatively new off-label treatment option for male pattern hair loss. But, for many, it can seem elusive. Topical Finasteride formulations are still prescription only, and in order to try them out, a compounding pharmacy will need to make it up. 


In addition to finding a compounding pharmacy, the doctor who writes the prescription will need to understand which strength is needed. Since there is currently no FDA-approved topical Finasteride medication on the market, there is not a lot of guidance on exactly which topical Finasteride strength may be the best. So, it is important to review which strengths are available and which strengths are used in topical Finasteride studies.


Below, we will cover what topical Finasteride strengths compounding pharmacies tend to make up, what strengths of topical Finasteride tend to be used in studies, and how you and your doctor can land on a good option for you.


There is no FDA-approved strength for topical Finasteride


As we mentioned above, there is currently no topical Finasteride product on the market in an FDA-approved product. So, this means that there is not a clear-cut “correct” strength or dosage for topical use.


For most clinicians and compounding pharmacies, this means that they take strength guidance from the trials which have been done on topical Finasteride.


As with any medication, you want to land on a strength that delivers the best (or good) results at the lowest possible strengths, to help minimize any potential side effects with treatment.


What topical Finasteride strength is used in studies?


The first study done looking into topical Finasteride for androgenetic alopecia was done in 1997. And, in that study, they went with a pretty low Finasteride strength of 0.005%. Even with this low range percentage of topical finasteride, the authors considered the hair results “promising” after 16 weeks as compared to placebo and reported an absence of local or systemic untoward effects.


Studies that followed soon after, bumped the topical Finasteride strengths up significantly, to 1%. This study had group A take a placebo tablet while applying 1% topical Finasteride twice a day, while group B took 1mg Finasteride tablets while applying a placebo gel twice a day. At the end of four months, the study reported increase hair counts and a mild therapeutic response with no difference between the two groups.


However, more recently, the most commonly used strengths in studies have settled into a range in between these two initial topical Finasteride trials. The most common strengths of topical Finasteride used in studies in the 2010s or 2020s tend to range from 0.1% to 0.25%. If it is a study using topical Finasteride as the only active ingredient, you tend to see 0.25% more often, but if the study is combining the topical Finasteride with another active ingredient like Minoxidil, you may see the slightly lower 0.1%.


What topical Finasteride strengths can you find at compounding pharmacies or online?


As you might expect, the strengths of topical Finasteride that you may find online through telemedicine, from a local compounding pharmacy, or written on your prescription from your doctor, fall in line with the most commonly studied strengths we covered above.


A range of topical Finasteride from 0.1%-0.25% tends to be what is seen most commonly in current topical Finasteride compounded medications.


In our topical Finasteride formulations, we customize each prescription to your specific needs, concerns, preferences, and what has worked for you (or not worked for you) in the past. Our doctors can order topical Finasteride from 0.1%-0.25%, with or without other active ingredients mixed in like Minoxidil or Tretinoin.


How do topical finasteride percent strengths compare to tablet mg strengths?


Part of the confusion that comes with looking into topical Finasteride vs oral Finasteride tablets, is that the strength tends to get reported with different metrics. 


Finasteride oral tablets for male pattern hair loss come in 1mg tablets for daily use, while topical Finasteride strengths are almost always listed in percentages.


This is not a 1 to 1 conversion, for those wondering.


For anyone curious about figuring out just how many mgs (weight) are inside each ml (volume) of their topical formulations, this is the relationship.:


0.1% topical Finasteride = 1mg/ml topical Finasteride

In this example, if you apply 1ml of your formulation each day, you are applying 1mg of Finasteride each day.


0.25% topical Finasteride = 2.5mg/ml topical Finasteride

In this example, if you apply 1ml of your formulation each day, you are applying 2.5mg of Finasteride each day.


If you are unsure how much of your topical formulation you will be applying each day, simply ask your pharmacy how many pumps you should be applying each day and how many ml is dispensed with each pump. In general, 1ml is about the average amount to lightly cover the scalp application areas in most users.


Strut Health customized topical Finasteride formulas online


Here at Strut Health, we aim to offer a wide variety of topical and oral hair loss treatment options. We carry oral 1mg Finasteride tablets, as well as customized topical Finasteride formulations in a range of strengths depending on your treatment need and preferences. We also carry oral and topical Dutasteride formulations.


You can have your free online questionnaire and image-based consultation today with our U.S. licensed doctors to see if topical Finasteride is a good option for you.


If you are a good candidate for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door each month with our free shipping. If you have any questions or need formulation adjustments as you progress through your treatment, our staff, pharmacists, and doctors are available for free unlimited follow-ups.


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