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Minoxidil and Dutasteride — Which Works Best for Hair Loss?


According to the British Association of Dermatologists, approximately half of men ageing 50 years old and above are expected to struggle with hair loss or specifically male-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. Unfortunately, younger men are susceptible to it too and the risks just increase as you age. Male pattern baldness is caused by hormonal and genetic factors. Even though there are no known methods to prevent from having it, several medications have been developed to treat it and improve and restore hair growth.

Two of these medications are Minoxidil and Dutasteride. This article aims to compare the two from each other and find out which of them is better for hair loss.


What happens when you have male-pattern baldness?

Hair loss caused by male-pattern baldness is related to the hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It is an androgen that is converted from testosterone due to the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. Although it is fundamental to most body hair growth, high amounts of DHT have negative effects on head hair. It shrinks hair follicles which prevent new hair strands to regrow. It also quickens the telogen or resting phase of the hair cycle which means fully grown strands fall easily at an abnormal rate.


What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is known to treat male pattern baldness with Rogaine as one of its brand names. It was originally developed as a medication for hypertension until it was observed how it causes hair regrowth as a side effect. FDA approved minoxidil’s 2% solution in 1988 as a treatment for male-pattern baldness. Through time, higher solutions of minoxidil have been released. Although the 5% formula was immediately approved in 1998, the 10% solution still is not.

Minoxidil for hair loss comes as a topical solution and foam and is directly applied on the scalp. It helps as a vasodilator in stimulating blood flow on the scalp which then results in healthier and faster hair growth. Although it does not affect the production of DHT, it is proven to be effective for hair loss through vasodilation.

Apply minoxidil to a dry scalp twice a day to see effects. It usually comes in spray bottles which is far more convenient. No wonder you’ll be able to get results with minoxidil spray much easier and faster. It is important to be patient when finding results because even though minoxidil takes effect immediately, full results become more noticeable after 3 to 6 months of constant application.


What is Dutasteride?

Another effective hair loss medication is dutasteride which has a brand name called Avodart. It comes in a form of a tablet that is prescribed to patients that are suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia or an enlarged prostate. Although it is approved by the FDA to treat BPH, it isn’t still an approved treatment for hair loss for most countries, unlike minoxidil.

Dutasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor which means it prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT. As mentioned earlier, DHT contributes to the effects of male pattern baldness. As a result, dutasteride improves hair regrowth.

For it to take effect, up to 5mg of dutasteride must be taken once a day. Dosages may decrease or increase depending on your physician’s prescription. It would usually take up to 6 months before results would get noticeable. 


What’s the best hair loss medication?

Choosing between minoxidil and dutasteride now depends on the patient. Some are suitable for minoxidil but not with dutasteride or vice versa. It all now boils down to what is more accessible and convenient for you. To make sure, consult your doctor on what he or she could prescribe that will give better effects on you.


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