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Hair loss information, advice and news
from the Hair Restoration experts at Bosley.

Which Hair Loss Medication Is More Effective:  Rogaine or Propecia?

If you’ve been investigating your options for fighting hair loss, you’ve probably heard that the medications Rogaine and Propecia have been clinically proven to help fight hair loss. The question is: Which one is a better option for treating hair loss?

While these medications both work to improve the fullness of your hair and treat hair loss, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Rogaine and Propecia work in different ways, and the effectiveness of each medication depends on your stage and type of hair loss.

Hair loss never stops, but Rogaine and Propecia are excellent, medically proven ways to slow down hair loss. In fact, in your battle against hair loss, a comprehensive treatment plan that includes Rogaine and Propecia might be more effective than using either one alone.

How Propecia (Finasteride) Works

Propecia is used to treat pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in men only. Treatment slows further hair loss, with effectiveness persisting only as long as the drug is taken. Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, works by attacking the problem at its source in the dermis by inhibiting the production of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into a powerful androgen known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the hormone that triggers genetic male pattern baldness.

Side Effects of Propecia

A small percentage of users have reported sexual side effects while taking Propecia. The most commonly reported side effects include erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorder, and a decreased libido.

How Rogaine (Minoxidil) Works

Rogaine is a topical treatment that includes minoxidil, a medication that is clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair. Unlike Propecia, Rogaine works by stimulating the hair follicle itself to help encourage hair regrowth. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, Rogaine is now used primarily to stop the advancement of hair loss and increase blood flow to the scalp by widening the blood vessels. It’s thought that the increase in blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the scalp is what stimulates the growth of new hair. It’s important to note, however, that if there’s been damage to the hair follicle itself, Rogaine won’t be effective.

About 40% of men experience hair regrowth after three to six months. Rogaine must be used indefinitely for continued support of existing hair follicles and the maintenance of any hair regrowth.

Side Effects of Rogaine

The most common side effects of Rogaine are burning or irritation of the eye and itching, redness, or irritation of the area of use.

Comparing Rogaine and Propecia

RogainePropecia
AccessOver the counterPrescription only
ApplicationTopicalOral medication
Active ingredientMinoxidilFinasteride
Potential side effectsItching and burningDecreased libido
For use inMen and womenMen only
Originally used to treatHigh blood pressureEnlarged prostate
Works byIncreasing blood flow to the scalp by widening the blood vesselsInhibiting production of enzyme that leads to DHT

Drawbacks of Rogaine and Propecia

While Propecia might slow down hair loss and balding, and Rogaine might slow down balding and stimulate minor hair regrowth, neither is effective for advanced-stage hair loss. In addition, as soon as you stop taking either medication, your hair loss is likely to continue. So far, the only proven permanent hair loss solution is hair transplantation or restoration surgery.

While medications like Rogaine and Propecia have been shown to be moderately effective in some people, hair transplantation is permanent and effective in the vast majority of patients.

To learn more about your hair restoration options, download Bosley’s FREE guidebook, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. Or schedule a free consultation with a Bosley specialist today.

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