In the search for hair loss solutions, you may have heard of the effectiveness of finasteride for men. A quick look for hair supplements would consistently promote the benefits of biotin. What makes finasteride for women and biotin so popular? 

And do they actually help women in Singapore with hair regrowth? This article examines the scientific evidence behind finasteride and biotin supplements for addressing hair loss in women. 

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Exploring Finasteride as a Hair Loss Treatment

What is it? 

Finasteride is a medication approved by the US FDA for two uses. The first, for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). The second, for the treatment of male pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. To date, finasteride remains the only FDA-approved oral treatment for male pattern hair loss. 

How Does Finasteride Treat Hair Loss?

Finasteride works by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone associated with hair loss. By reducing DHT levels, finasteride can help to slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth. 

In men, a dose of 1 mg oral finasteride a day reduces DHT levels at the scalp by more than 60%. Clinical studies consistently demonstrate finasteride treatment increases hair counts and hair thickness in male pattern hair loss. 

How Effective is Finasteride in Treating Hair Loss in Women?

While finasteride is FDA-approved for the treatment of male pattern baldness, its use in women is currently off-label. This means that the use of finasteride in women is not officially approved by regulatory authorities like the FDA and the HSA. Healthcare providers may still prescribe finasteride to women experiencing hair loss based on their clinical judgement and knowledge of its effects. 

Some studies have shown promising results in women with female pattern hair loss, but more evidence is still needed. Medical experts propose that women with female pattern hair loss may have an increased sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT, similar to men with androgenetic alopecia. 

Increasingly, doctors have been using finasteride as an add-on to the treatment of female pattern hair loss. Current medical guidelines suggest treatment efficacy with finasteride at a dose of 2.5 to 5 mg per day. This dose is higher compared to the finasteride 1mg per day dosing in male pattern baldness. 

Read our guide to oral medications for female hair loss in Singapore.

Is Finasteride Safe for Women?

Women usually tolerate oral finasteride well. However, as finasteride is not widely used in women, the side effect profile in women is not as well established. 

Side effects reported in men include reduced libido and breast swelling or tenderness. In both men and women, there have been few reports of mood changes such as anxiety and depression.

It is crucial for women considering this treatment to consult with a healthcare professional before starting treatment. At Dame, our doctors weigh the risks and benefits of our hair loss treatments with you – we navigate your hair regrowth journey together. 

It is important to note that finasteride is not suitable for women who are pregnant or planning to conceive due to the risk of birth defects in male foetuses. If finasteride is used in women of childbearing age, reliable birth control during treatment and at least 30 days after the last dose is advised. 

Read how finasteride is used for other female health conditions in Singapore here

 

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Considering Biotin Supplement for Hair Health

The Role of Biotin in Promoting Hair Growth

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for  maintaining healthy hair. It is involved in the production of keratin, a protein that forms the structure of hair strands. 

Biotin supplements are believed to strengthen hair follicles, improve elasticity and promote overall hair health. However, studies investigating the efficacy of biotin supplements in treating hair loss have yielded mixed results. While some women may experience improvements in hair quality and growth with biotin supplementation, others may not see significant benefits. 

Does Biotin Help With Hair Loss in Women?

Biotin deficiency has been associated with hair loss. However, this is extremely uncommon in people who eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. The role of biotin in promoting hair growth in people without biotin deficiency is not established.  

Current medical guidelines do not recommend the use of biotin supplement for hair loss conditions like male and female pattern hair loss. The use of biotin supplements for other female hair conditions like post-pregnancy hair loss are not well-studied. 

Biotin supplements for hair loss tend to have high levels of biotin, way above the daily recommended allowance of 0.03 mg of biotin. Supplements containing high biotin levels have been found to interfere with important laboratory tests. The US FDA advises to speak to a doctor if you are currently taking a biotin supplement or are considering adding it to your diet. At Dame, you can speak to a MOH-licensed doctor for your hair loss at the comfort of your own home. 

Comparing Finasteride and Biotin Supplements

When choosing between finasteride and biotin supplements, several considerations come into play. At Dame, we provide a direct comparison between finasteride and biotin supplements in terms of efficacy, safety profile and cost.

Efficacy comparison

Finasteride targets the hormonal aspect of hair loss, while biotin supplements focus on providing essential nutrients for hair health. Increasingly, medical guidelines recommend the use of anti-androgen medication like finasteride and spironolactone in the treatment of female pattern hair loss. 

However, current medical guidelines do not endorse the use of biotin supplements in female pattern hair loss. This is due to the lack of supporting studies and the risk of biotin interfering with important laboratory tests. 

The effectiveness of finasteride or biotin supplements varies depending on the underlying cause of the hair loss. 

Safety profile comparison

Biotin supplements are generally considered safe when taken as directed. On the other hand, finasteride may pose risks, especially for women of childbearing age due to its potential impact on foetal development.

Cost comparison

Finasteride treatment may be more expensive in the long run compared to biotin supplements, which are widely available over the counter. Finasteride is a prescription medication in Singapore. This means that a doctor’s visit is required. At Dame, we believe that access to evidence-based hair loss solutions can be made convenient. With 100% online consultations and direct-to-home medication delivery, we can help you today.

Making an Informed Decision

Consultation with a Healthcare Professional

Before starting any hair loss treatment, it is essential to consult with a doctor.  They can assess your condition, perform any necessary tests and recommend the most suitable treatment options based on your individual needs and medical history. 

Consideration of Side Effects and Risks

Both finasteride and biotin supplements carry potential side effects and risks that need to be considered before starting treatment. Finasteride may not be suitable for women of childbearing age. On the other hand, high doses of biotin supplements may interfere with certain lab tests, leading to inaccurate results. 

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to medication or supplements, lifestyle modifications can also play a significant role in managing hair loss. Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and protein, practising stress-reducing techniques, and avoiding harsh hair treatments can help to improve overall hair health and minimise further hair loss.

Read more about the evidence behind organic hair regrowth solutions here

Other Hair Loss Treatment Options

In addition to finasteride and biotin supplements, there are other hair loss treatment options available for women, including topical solutions like minoxidil, oral minoxidil and oral spironolactone. Speak with a MOH-licensed doctor today!  

Conclusion

Hair loss can be a challenging issue for women in Singapore, but effective treatments are available. Finasteride and biotin supplements are two options worth considering, each with its own set of benefits and risks. By consulting with a healthcare professional and making informed decisions, you can take proactive steps towards restoring confidence and achieve healthier, fuller hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is finasteride safe for women to use?

While finasteride is FDA-approved for male pattern hair loss, its safety and effectiveness in women are still being studied. Current medical guidelines recommend that finasteride can be used off-label in women at a dose of 2.5-5 mg for female pattern hair loss. Always consult a doctor before starting finasteride treatment. 

Q: Can biotin supplements cause any side effects?

Biotin supplements are generally safe when taken as directed. However, high doses may interfere with important laboratory testing. Always inform your healthcare provider if you are taking biotin supplements.

Q: How long does it take to see results from finasteride or biotin supplements?

Hair regrowth is a slow and steady process. Visible improvements from hair loss treatments typically can be expected within six months of daily use. Always discuss your concerns with your doctor. At Dame, we navigate this journey with you. 

Q: Can I take finasteride and biotin supplements together?

While there is no evidence to suggest harm from combining finasteride and biotin supplements, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking multiple supplements or medications.

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