It’s not difficult to see that there’s two main contenders in the hair loss treatment market. They are Minoxidil and Finasteride, and they’ve been the top two hair loss treatments for a long time now. Especially since being branded in the 80s and 90s by their most popular brands – Propecia and Rogaine.
But comparing these two hair loss treatments is extremely difficult, and they actually often work very well together. They work in entirely different ways, so it can be hard to know which is these hair loss treatments is ‘better’.
The difference between Minoxidil and Finasteride is pretty simple. Finasteride prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT in your body – DHT is the primary cause of baldness in men. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, does affect women too in some ways, but it’s primarily an issue if you’re dealing with male pattern baldness. This is a natural thing for your body to do, which is why some take issue with the use of hair loss drugs.
So whilst Finasteride is made to prevent this conversion, Minoxidil works in a different way. Minoxidil helps to improve the circulation of blood in your scalp. This allows more stimulation in your hair follicles, which helps your hair to regrow where the follicle may have previous been impaired. With the increased blood flow and oxygen reaching your hair follicles, you have more chance of hair regrowth and help to mitigate any current losses you’re experiencing.
Minoxidil vs Finasteride vs Shampoos
Of course, you’ve probably heard about how bad DHT is and how it’s causing baldness for every guy. There’s an abundance of DHT blocking shampoos appearing on the market, but the likelihood is that none of them will be as effective as Propecia. And in the same breath, there’s a lot of Minoxidil shampoos appearing on the market too – but would they be able to compete with just using Rogaine? It’s unlikely.
Both Rogaine and Propecia are made with carefully designed formulas to contend with your hair loss. Neither of these methods were designed to be applied as a shampoo in the shower – especially Minoxidil, which works best if left for a longer period of time than a few minutes.
Of course, with these products comes the possibility of some side effects. To me, the minoxidil side effects appear minimal if you compare then to Propecia, but I’ll let you make up your own mind.
Minoxidil Side Effects
- 3-month supply of Men's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam hair growth treatment to help treat hair loss, maintain hair density and allow for the regrowth of fuller hair
- Formulated with 5% Minoxidil, our fast-working hair regrowth treatment works to boost hair follicle activity and hair protein production and is clinically proven to regrow hair
- Men's hair growth treatment also contains botanical extracts and emollient to help maintain a healthy, conditioned scalp, plus alphahydroxy acid (AHA) to promote natural skin exfoliation to help keep...
Dark Circles Under the Eyes – This is one of the lesser known side effects that you might experience when using minoxidil.
Itchy Scalp – Another side effect that is reported when using minoxidil is itchy skin. This is probably because the scalp gets much drier when you use minoxidil for a prolonged period of time. This is actually why it’s recommended to use minoxidil as a trifecta with other hair loss products, including ketoconazole, which promotes a healthy scalp.
Nausea – As with many other products that are used to treat hair loss, nausea is relatively common when taking minoxidil. The difficult thing about this is that it is hard to tell what is causing the nausea – is it the minoxidil, or is it something else? Well, it’s hard to know but the likelihood is that if you haven’t changed anything else in your diet and you’re sleeping well, then minoxidil may be the cause.
Propecia/Finasteride Side Effects
Erectile Dysfunction – One of the scariest things for men is ED, and it’s the main reason why I would be cautious of using Propecia. Less than 3% of people reported that they experienced this, but for me it just isn’t worth the risk.
Libido disappearing – Along with ED, some people report that your libido decreases whilst using Propecia. In fact the most scary part of this is that the few people who did experience this said that it took a while for their sex drive to return after they stopped using Propecia – scary, huh!
Weakness – Whilst this isn’t a definite, there are people who think that finasteride can cause a temporary feeling of weakness in your body. This is a pretty common side effect of many different products, so it’s not surprise that this may be a side effect of using Propecia. These are the main side effects of using Finasteride.
Comparing the effectiveness of minoxidil and finasteride is very difficult, because they both work in completely different ways. We can however, look at the people that have used each of these different products.
It’s worth mentioning the availability of both these products. With Rogaine, you can easily purchase it over the counter or find it online. This isn’t the case with Propecia however, which you’ll need to go and visit your doctor or see a dermatologist to get a prescription. This could indicate that Propecia is more effective, though this isn’t necessarily true.
In reality, it’s impossible to know which of these products is more effective. It completely depends on the individual – some people experience adverse side effects from Fin, and vice versa.
How they work
Tradtional Rogaine is pretty easy to use. Back when I used Rogaine myself, I used a small pipette to squirt the formula onto my scalp. But nowadays, it seems the better option is to opt for the Rogaine Foam and simply rub it into your head twice a day. You can also use it in combination with Nizoral for better effect.
Minoxidil helps to promote blood circulation in the scalp, helping the flow of blood to your hair follicles. Though the research on minoxidil isn’t as thorough as with Finasteride, it is FDA approved (one of the only hair loss products to get this certification!).
Many people of for Propecia for it’s ease of use. It’s commonly take in a 1 mg pill that you only have to take once per day, which makes it an extremely attractive option. It’s said that Finasteride has been supporting Hollywood hairlines for 30 years – and with good reason!
Unlike Minoxidil, Propecia simply prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT in your scalp.
Overall, it’s very difficult to compare both Propecia and Minoxidil directly as they work in totally different ways. In fact if you go to a dermatologist, many of them will recommend you use both of these products in unison for best effect. These are two of the best remedies for hair loss, whilst Finasteride is best taken as a pill, you’re going to find Minoxidil best applied as a spray/foam or even in a shampoo.
It is safe to say however, that these two are undoubtedly the most proven hair loss products available on the current market. They undoubtedly work for the majority of people, which is more than you can say for some other products that are around.