Can You Make Topical Finasteride For Hair Loss at Home?


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We’ve got to hand it to the researchers who discovered this stuff: finasteride is an impressively effective medication for protecting (and sometimes regrowing) your hair follicles. 

While the FDA hasn’t approved a topical version in the United States, there’s a growing body of research to suggest that a topical finasteride solution may be effective for a lot of people who struggle with androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. 

Because of that, more and more healthcare providers are beginning to offer topical finasteride as part of a holistic hair treatment plan.

And while some of you MacGyver-types out there might be saying “I got this,” but we’re going to stop you before you go playing dermatologist with a pill crusher.

A topical formulation isn’t something you can just make at home — and no matter how many episodes of Breaking Bad you’ve watched or how many finasteride pills and bottles of ethanol you’ve got sitting in your kitchen right now, whatever you’re about to do is a bad idea.

Below, we’ve explained why you shouldn’t DIY a topical finasteride solution, why this medication for male pattern hair loss isn’t available as a topical right now and what could go wrong if you decide to mess around with the medication. 

We’ve also suggested some safe alternatives to whatever you were planning to cook up.

What Is Topical Finasteride?

Googled a lot about the hair loss treatment finasteride? If so, you may have come across mentions of a form of finasteride that’s applied topically to your scalp. Like it’s oral counterpart, topical finasteride may have benefits for hair loss, by itself or with other topical hair loss medications like minoxidil.

As we’ve explained in our full guide to topical finasteride, the results of studies looking at this finasteride formulation have been fairly promising so far, but it’s still being researched.

Here are the essential points you need to understand:

  • Finasteride and similar medications like dutasteride are 5-alpha reductase inhibitor medications. These medications block an enzyme from working, which prevents the conversion of testosterone into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. High levels of DHT can cause male pattern baldness, so by cutting off the process with a finasteride treatment, you can stop or slow the progression of baldness.

  • Oral finasteride is an FDA-approved pill for treating hair loss.

  • Topical finasteride is a version of finasteride you apply directly to your scalp — while it doesn’t currently have FDA approval, it’s becoming increasingly popular.

  • Research into the effectiveness and safety of topical finasteride is ongoing, but the results we have so far are pretty impressive. 

Can You Make Topical Finasteride at Home?

Trust us, we get the urge to skip the middleman. Searching “how to make topical finasteride” will definitely lead to some recipes on the internet, and truth be told, you might even be able to collect all of the ingredients to make it. 

Many of these plans for topical finasteride recommend crushing finasteride tablets to combine with a propylene glycol or ethanol solution. Some even recommend mixing your crushed finasteride tablet powder into liquid minoxidil (an existing, FDA-approved topical hair loss treatment) to replicate the solution used in some studies. 

But please hear us: don’t do it.

Have you ever tried to replicate a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder®? You can buy all the ingredients in the store, right? The ground beef; the bun; the cheese; the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. It’s all right there, right? And there are countless recipes online that swear that it’s “just like the real thing!” 

Of course, it never is. And that’s the same thing you’ll get with homemade topical finasteride. Can you do it? Technically. Will you feel the reward of a fun at-home chemistry experiment? Sure. But will it come anywhere close to the same kind of lab-tested and -developed topical finasteride that you’re expecting? Not even close. 

In fact, there are some actual risks involved with trying.

(RelatedDoes Topical Finasteride Work? What Should You Expect)

Risks of Making Topical Finasteride at Home

We can’t stress it enough, guys. Please don’t try making topical finasteride at home. It’s a prescription medication and should be followed only as your healthcare provider recommends. Period.

There are also some obvious (and serious) reasons why it’s a bad idea:

  • You’ll be putting stuff on your scalp that you don’t want there. Finasteride tablets contain a variety of other inactive ingredients — Propecia (a common brand of finasteride) actually contains 12 inactive ingredients alongside 1mg of finasteride. These include emulsifiers, as well as milk, sugar and other ingredients that help improve digestion of the medication. Inactive ingredients account for a lot of the mass in that finasteride tablet you’re crushing up, and they could stick to your scalp and irritate your skin.

  • You won’t get the dosage right — because we don’t know what the right dosage is yet. Although topical finasteride appears safe and effective so far, we don’t know the optimal dosages yet — or the best way to use the topical solution. Blocking DHT throughout your body is significantly different from blocking only your scalp DHT, and there’s no guarantee of getting the best dosage for topical finasteride on your own.

  • The side effects could be worse and less predictable. Topical finasteride hasn’t been thoroughly studied for side effects and safety issues. While it’s generally well-tolerated in most of the studies, it hasn’t been through clinical trials required for FDA approval. Side effects could include skin irritation and hypotension, but who knows what effects of topical finasteride we just haven’t seen yet?

  • It may not be as effective as just taking the tablet. We don’t know if topical finasteride is better than the tablet form. You could end up with poor results from miscalculating dosages in your DIY project, not to mention the possibility of significant side effects.

Alternative Hair Growth Treatments

If you want to use finasteride to treat hair loss, your best bet is talking to a healthcare provider about oral finasteride or finding a version of topical finasteride like the one in our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray. 

If you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, know that there are a lot of other medications and hair care products that can help you to prevent hair loss and strengthen your hairline. These include:

  • Oral finasteride. Finasteride fights androgenic alopecia just fine in tablet form — it’s one of the treatment options that has been thoroughly studied and proven effective in treating male pattern baldness. We offer oral finasteride online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

  • Minoxidil. If you’re looking for a topical hair loss treatment, minoxidil (also known as Rogaine) comes in minoxidil foam and minoxidil solution formats. Although minoxidil doesn’t block DHT, numerous studies have found it to be effective in preventing hair loss. It’s often used alongside finasteride to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth. We offer minoxidil online by itself, as well as part of our Hair Power Pack.

  • Hair loss prevention shampoo. Shampoos formulated to block DHT may also help to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Consider our volumizing shampoo, volumizing conditioner and thickening shampoo with saw palmetto if you’re not sure what to look for.

  • Biotin. Biotin, which is a B vitamin, may play a role in promoting the growth of your hair, nails and skin. Our biotin gummy vitamins are a convenient option for increasing your biotin intake and keeping your hair in optimal condition. 

(Related:  Finasteride Cost: Pricing Comparisons & Savings Tips)

The Final Word on Making Topical Finasteride

Medications like topical/oral finasteride and topical/oral minoxidil can help to slow down hair loss, protect the hair you have and even stimulate regrowth in areas of your scalp with noticeable thinning. But just because you can use topical minoxidil at home doesn’t mean you can mix your own topical finasteride.

  • Fighting androgenetic alopecia may not require drastic measures like a hair transplant, but you should still talk to a professional for real medical advice to get the best results.

  • While finasteride is proven to be effective, topical forms aren’t as well-studied and not approved by the FDA.

  • Making your own topical finasteride creates room for error in dosing, and could lead to skin irritation and other adverse events.

  • If you’ve noticed some of the early signs of male pattern baldness and want to take action, you can schedule time to talk to a healthcare provider online and learn more about your options for treating hair loss. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by



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