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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
In life, there are certain clubs we want to be part of and others, not so much. The 1-percent club (yes, please), the mile-high club (risky) and the losing-hair club (no thanks).
But when it comes to thinning hair, some treatments can help you stop losing hair and promote new hair growth. Now, if you’ve landed on this page, we’re going to assume you’re already on the hunt to find a hair loss treatment.
Finasteride (commonly sold under the brand name Propecia® or Proscar®) is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. It’s been widely used to treat male pattern hair loss.
It helps block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). And why would you want to block DHT? Well, it’s an androgen responsible for male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), and some people are genetically predisposed to being more sensitive to DHT than others.
If you’re one of those people, DHT can shrink hair follicles and, over time, cause hair thinning. Intrigued? Find out how long it takes finasteride to start working and learn about finasteride results in our excellent guides.
In this article, we’ll give you the 411 on how to buy finasteride plus other treatments you may want to consider. And if you’re looking to learn a little more about finasteride first, our finasteride for hair loss guide has info on dosage.
If you’re a nervous nellie type, we have a whole guide on the common side effects of finasteride, too — including everything from erectile dysfunction to ejaculation and sex drive issues.
Finasteride has some great research proving its efficacy for androgenic alopecia, so it’s a solid pick among hair loss treatments.
In a 1999 clinical study, patients given 1 milligram of oral finasteride daily had a noticeable increase in hair growth. Forty-eight percent of participants taking finasteride had an increase at one year, and 66 percent noticed an improvement at two years, compared to just 7 percent of those given a placebo.
Those numbers are pretty juicy, so you may be wondering how you can get finasteride yourself. Unfortunately, finasteride is not available over the counter. It’s available in the U.S. only with a prescription.
But we have good news! It’s super easy and inexpensive to get one. In fact, you don’t even have to deal with a waiting room.
With online consultations available with healthcare professionals, you can get prescription drugs quickly from the comfort of your own living room. Plus, you really shouldn’t be taking medical advice from your buddy (unless, of course, he’s your doctor). More on that below.
Since finasteride requires a prescription, you’ll need to see a healthcare provider to write you a prescription for it. But don’t worry — this process isn’t complicated or expensive.
If you’re starting to see the signs of male pattern baldness (like a receding hairline or overall thinning) and want to take finasteride, there are a few options for getting a prescription:
Make a visit with your primary doc. If you don’t mind an in-person appointment, visit your local primary care physician (PCP) or healthcare provider. They can speak with you about your hair and scalp issues and, if appropriate, write a prescription for finasteride.
See a dermatologist. Take it a step further and see a specialist. Dermatologists specialize in skin, nails and hair, including conditions like male pattern baldness. A dermatologist may have more experience in very specific disorders of the hair and scalp, so if things are looking out-of-norm, a dermatology provider could be a good bet. They’ll be able to prescribe finasteride or even recommend a combination of hair loss treatments to best help regrow your hair based on your specific hair conditions.
Try an online consultation. Thanks to telehealth, it doesn’t matter if you live in a remote area or hate going to in-person appointments. Hims offers finasteride online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider.
Your healthcare provider might ask you questions like:
Where are you experiencing hair thinning?
How long have you been dealing with hair thinning?
Have you tried any other hair loss treatments?
If prescribed, finasteride will be delivered to your home address in discreet packaging. Your healthcare provider may also determine if combining another hair loss treatment could be helpful (more on that below).
This option is a quick, convenient way to purchase finasteride if you’d prefer not to make an in-person appointment. We get it: You have enough on your to-do list without having to worry about running across town to the doctor.
While finasteride needs a prescription, you can couple it with other effective over-the-counter hair loss treatments for max benefits. Let’s get into what else can help you get a lush head of hair.
Minoxidil is the gold standard for treating hair loss. It helps improve blood flow to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. This medication has been used for decades to treat various hair loss types, including androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. Plus, it’s easy to apply, FDA-approved and available over the counter. Sign us up, please!
Minoxidil is available in a few forms:
Minoxidil foam. This 5% strength foam has been shown to significantly improve hair regrowth in various studies.
Minoxidil solution. These 2% drops make it easy to target thinning patches or a widening part.
Topical finasteride and minoxidil spray. A two-in-one spray, this prescription medication combines finasteride with ultra-popular minoxidil. The quick-drying solution is a great topical option if you’re not looking to add any pills to your routine. Research shows minoxidil and finasteride work well together to stop hair loss due to male pattern baldness. A 2020 systematic review found that the medications were more effective when used together than separately.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
Thickening shampoo and conditioner could also help. Consider these products:
Volumizing shampoo and conditioner. Sometimes, hair can look flat because of oils that weigh strands down. Up your body and volume with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner for extra thickness and lift.
Thickening shampoo with saw palmetto. A botanical extract from the palm berry plant, saw palmetto has antiandrogenic properties that may help reduce hair loss. Though it may not be a cure for hair loss, it might be helpful to add a thickening shampoo (or haircare products infused with saw palmetto) to your routine.
A nutritional deficiency can influence the health of your hair. Biotin is a super popular supplement linked to healthy hair and nails, but it’s typically only helpful if you’re not getting enough of it through your diet.
Rounding out your diet with biotin gummies might help your hair issues, but you should talk to your healthcare provider to find the right supplement for your needs.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
While finasteride isn’t currently available over the counter in the United States, it’s easy to get a prescription if you’re dealing with male pattern hair loss.
Here are the key things to remember:
Seek help sooner than later. If you’re seeing signs of thinning, don’t wait to make an appointment or get treatment. The sooner you come up with a game plan, the better results you can expect to see in hair regrowth.
Make an appointment. Schedule an appointment with your local healthcare provider or dermatologist, or talk to a licensed healthcare provider online.
Make it a combo! Couple other hair loss treatments with finasteride for even bigger benefits. You have options — try minoxidil, hair loss prevention shampoo or biotin, all of which can be purchased over the counter.
Our guide to male pattern baldness explains how and why male hair loss happens, as well as what science-based treatments are available to help slow down, stop or reverse your hair loss.
Still unsure about getting a finasteride prescription? Read our article about when to start taking finasteride.
If you’re ready to make the next move, start a hair consultation with a healthcare provider today.