The hair loss treatment sector continues to evolve, and the past few years has presented men with more options to treat baldness. With the advent of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as Finasteride (Propecia), topical treatment therapies like Minoxidil (Regaine/Rogaine), anti-androgen multi-vitamin hair supplements, and the evolution of surgical hair restoration, for many, living with noticeable hair loss is no longer inevitable. 

Modern science has now made it possible to stop or slow the progression of hair loss, and for some, to even regrow lost hair, to a certain extent. However, with that said, hair loss is still an issue that affects over 65% of men before they reach the age of 40. Not all men respond well to treatments, and therefore treating baldness can be a more complex issue for some. 

It should be noted that, despite there being so many hair growth products on the market, the vast majority of advertised "treatments" do not work for the prevention and treatment of hair loss. For example, there is no shampoo that has been medically proven to treat baldness. In fact, only two treatments have been FDA approved, and they are Minoxidil (5% solution for men, and 2% solution for women) and Finasteride (a male treatment pill). 

Although many products are not medically approved, that's not to say they don't work. Some products on the market can effective in slowing down and stopping male pattern baldness, but they are few and far between.

One of the treatments that has been clinically proven to successfully treat hair loss in men to varying degrees, is Finasteride, which is commonly branded as Propecia or Proscar. 

Finasteride was originally developed by Merck as a drug to treat enlarged prostate glands (Proscar). During the trials on men with prostate problems an intriguing side effect of hair growth was observed. Since finasteride had already been approved by the FDA to treat enlarged prostates in men, Merck and Company decided to pursue the possibility of developing finasteride as the first pill to treat male pattern baldness.

On December 22, 1997 the FDA approved a 1mg dose of finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia in men (male pattern baldness).

What are the negative side effects of Finasteride / Propecia? 

While Finasteride is generally well tolerated, as with all drugs, negative side effects can occur. Here are the most common negative side-effects that men have experienced from taking Finasteride.


Finasteride has always been associated with sexual side effects, with one of the most common being impotence. In many cases, men continue to suffer from impotence, even after they've stopped using the drug, suggesting the possibility that the dysfunction may be permanent. In a clinical series, 20% of Finasteride users reported persistent erectile dysfunction. There have also been reports of men suffering with testicular pain. 

Lowered Libido

Continuing the sexual dysfunction theme, a vast amount of Finasteride users have reported a lowered sex drive. This commonly occurs in conjunction with erectile dysfunction. Male users have also reported having trouble orgasming, and abnormal ejaculation. 

Severe Swelling

Some users of Finasteride have reported severe swelling, particularly around their hands and feet. Finasteride can cause weight gain, with swelling being one of the main culprits. Swelling can also occur in the chest area, which can be quite painful. Swelling in the feet is also a side effect that can occur in the medically approved topical solution, Minoxidil. 

Breast Enlargement

One of the scariest side effects of taking Finasteride revolves around the chest. Many men have reported severe swelling around the chest area, with some cases of breast enlargement. Finasteride can cause the growth of breast tissue. While acknowledging this risk, the manufacturer tends to refer to it as “swelling,” which implies a temporary condition, or “enlargement,” which is somewhat vague

Dizziness, Headaches, Depression and Anxiety

Some of the possible side effects of taking finasteride 1mg include: depression or anxiety. dizziness, physical weakness, or feeling like you might pass out. Headaches are also common occurrences when taking the drug, and some of these side effects can last, even after discontinuation of the drug. 

Skin Rash

A small number of users have reported severe skin rash and discolouration, from using Finasteride. However, in most cases, symptoms tend to clear after discontinuing the drug. 


Finasteride causes certain male individuals to show symptoms of de-masculinisation and feminisation after exposure. Androgens produce masculinisation and estradiol (E2) and progestogens, like allopregnanolone (3ɑ,5ɑ-THP), produce feminisation. There is a shunting of metabolism via 5ɑ-R with finasteride.

What are the safe alternatives to Finasteride?

Whilst there are no other medically approved treatments than the two mentioned, there are certain products on the market that can help slow down and even half the fall of hair, both safely and with no negative side-effects. Deficiencies in specific vitamins can lead to hair loss or thin, brittle hair. Consuming enough of each vitamin in the diet may help keep the hair thrive. 

The most natural option would be to try a well established multi-vitamin supplement that contains anti-androgens. These are supplements that contain DHT blocking ingredients, such as Saw Palmetto, in conjunction with hair growth promoters like Vitamin B7. The market leaders include Viviscal and HR23+. 

Although multi-vitamin supplements are not medically approved to treat baldness, they do offer a much safer and natural way to combat excess hair shedding. They can be effective, and you won't ever be compromising your health or wellbeing. 

hair loss treatment for men