Topical Finasteride

Traditionally, finasteride (marketed as Propecia) has been administered via the oral route. However, over the past decade topical finasteride has become increasingly popular for men since the risk of adverse side effects can be minimized as compared with the oral dose. It can also be safely and easily combined with topical minoxidil along with other beneficial ingredients like tretinoin, prostaglandin inhibitors, etc. The Hair Genome Test can offer a very precise determination of your sensitivity and dosing of topical finasteride based on your genetic profile.

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What to Do:

  • Topical finasteride is typically compounded at 0.25% but may vary depending on the results of your Hair Genome Test. For example, you may need a higher percentage like 0.5% or even a low dose dutasteride depending on your genetic profile. Other ingredients like the dosing of topical minoxidil percentage, tretinoin, glucocorticoids, etc. would also be determined based on the test.
  • For individuals who do not want to take the Hair Genome Test, Dr. Lam uses a very successful standard formulation of topical finasteride, known as 82F

What to Expect:

  • Topical finasteride usually shows effectiveness between 3 to 12 months in time, which is very similar to the oral version. As mentioned, it can be combined with topical minoxidil along with other beneficial therapies in a specific compound.
  • The incidence of side effects is very low, far less than 1%, but there is not zero absorption.
  • In rare cases, Dr. Lam can have a liposomal version compounded, which has even less systemic absorption, but which costs more.
  • If you are near a pregnant woman, it is advisable either not to be on topical finasteride or to keep her from touching your scalp if the fetus is male due to the very remote chance that there would be a hypospadia in the male fetus from her inadvertent ingestion of the product.


  • Is topical finasteride as effective as oral finasteride?
    In general, yes. However, not for everyone is this the case. In the past, Dr. Lam would experiment to see which one you would respond better to, but now with the Hair Genome Test he is able to titrate close to exact equivalents between the two routes of delivery so that you can easily switch between the two with similar if not the same results.
  • What if I skip a few days of usage of topical finasteride?
    You can skip a few days and usually not have any issues of losing ground with your therapy. However, like oral finasteride, or any route of minoxidil, you should not skip a month or two of product or you will lose what you gained over the time you started on the medical therapy. Consistency is important but missing a few days to a week is ok even though it is not preferred.
  • If I am on the oral version, can I switch to the topical version?
    Yes, and also vice versa. You will find which one is better for you based on compliance, side effects, etc. Dr. Lam and his team will work with you on getting the preferred route of delivery based on all the above factors.


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