Ashton Kutcher Took Avodart for 10 Years

I first published this post on February 26, 2018, but am now updating and republishing it because of an important development.


Yesterday (June 4th, 2018), Ashton Kutcher appeared on Conan and discussed his past 10-year usage of Avodart (Dutasteride) to maintain his hair, prior to quitting several years ago. The video was officially published today and is embedded further below. I was impressed by Mr. Kutcher’s knowledge that a testosterone byproduct (DHT) rather than testosterone itself is the root cause of hair loss. He seems like a true hair geek, although later on he fumbles a bit when he agrees with Conan that less testosterone = usually more hair.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels and your scalp hair’s genetic sensitivity to the ravaging effects of DHT are together what cause male pattern hair loss. Men with somewhat low testosterone levels can still have sufficiently high enough levels of DHT to end up going completely bald. And men with high testosterone levels can still not go bald at all if their follicles are not genetically susceptible to the attacks from DHT.

In any case, to the best of my knowledge, no major celebrity has ever admitted to using Dutasteride for hair loss in the past. Many have admitted to using the comparatively weaker drug Finasteride, including our sitting US president. What makes this admission from Mr. Kutcher even more striking is the fact that Dutasteride is not yet officially approved to treat hair loss in the US… although tens of thousands of people have surreptitiously been using the drug for that purpose for over 15 years now.

Original Post:

For those who read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that I have an especially keen interest in the drug Avodart (Dutasteride) because for a large number of people it is currently the best option to treat hair loss if willing to tolerate the potential side effects. My post on Dutasteride for hair loss reviews now has close to 300 comments, with a surprising number of people reporting great results. I often say that Avodart (Dutasteride) is like Propecia (Finasteride) on steroids. Buyer beware.

Ashton Kutcher Short Hair
Ashton Kutcher Short Hair

I have been taking the drug for the past year and a half with good results. However, a few months ago I reduced my dosage to 0.5 mg once every other day (half the recommended 0.5 mg per day). I think that I may have gained some body fat while on Dutasteride, and I have definitely seen a sudden appearance of significant forehead acne after starting to take generic pills from a different manufacturer (since my local pharmacy switched suppliers). Dutasteride moderately raises both estrogen and testosterone in those taking it, so the side effects I am getting are not surprising and I therefore cut my intake in half. I also wanted to reduce the daily processing load on my liver.

Celebrities Never Mention Taking Avodart for Hair Loss

We have all heard of 100s of celebrities and athletes who have admitted to using Propecia (Finasteride) to combat their hair loss. The most recent case was US President Donald Trump. I still cannot believe that it now says on one corner of the official White House website that the president uses Propecia for his hair loss. The most powerful man in the world really cares about his hair.

Besides celebrities, we often hear about athletes who get banned from competitions for using Propecia. The reason for this is because Propecia apparently masks the usage of other more serious banned performance enhancing drugs. Edit: Finasteride no longer banned for athletes since 2009 per wikipedia (h/t Scott).

However, you never ever hear of any major celebrity or athlete admitting to taking Avodart (Dutasteride) to tackle his or her hair loss. For one, Avodart has only been approved to treat hair loss in Japan and South Korea. In other countries, you have to figure out a way to get a prescription and convince your doctor that you want it even though you do not have an enlarged prostate (the original approved usage for Avodart). I also think that most people (including doctors) do not know much about using Dutasteride for hair loss.

Ashton Kutcher used Avodart for Hair Loss

Ashton Kutcher Long Hair
Ashton Kutcher Long Hair

This past week, well known actor Ashton Kutcher admitted that he used Avodart for 10 years to tackle his hair loss. I was amazed to read that statement. He might very well be the first ever world renowned celebrity to admit to taking this drug for hair loss. Moreover, he took it for a pretty long time, and seems to have had no major side effects. Some key points from the interview and my thoughts:

  • Mr. Kutcher says that he took “the Avodart” from the age of 25-35 and stopped five years ago. He is currently 40 years old. So he took the drug from around early 2003 till early 2013. Considering that Avodart was only approved for treating enlarged prostates in November 2001 and probably not easily available for treating hair loss in 2002, Mr. Kutcher did a great job doing his research and getting a hold of the drug in early 2003. I wonder if he was on the forums in 2002 when they led the worldwide discussion about this new magic drug that would be the cure for hair loss.
  • Mr. Kutcher’s two children are currently 3 years old and 14 months old. So he had them both after quitting Avodart. Perhaps that was the reason he originally quit the drug? It is recommended that pregnant women not even handle Avodart. Moreover, many men taking Avodart stop taking the drug when trying to become fathers due to fears that it could lead to some changes in their sperm quality and potential birth defects in their children. However, there are no warnings on Dutasteride bottle labels in relation to men. There are, however, clear warnings for both women and for children regarding never handling the capsules.
  • I am curious how Mr. Kutcher got his hands on Avodart in 2003. Did he buy it online, or was there any American doctor who was willing to prescribe it to him for the off-label hair loss use?
  • Mr. Kutcher claims that he quit Avodart five years ago, did good for a year, but now (five years after quitting) he is losing his hair again. In his own words: “And I think like, five years ago I stopped and I did really good for a year, and now it’s thinning out”. The half life of Avodart is around five weeks, so it does seem strange that he was not losing any substantial hair for five years after quitting the drug. Or (my interpretation of his quote): not losing his hair at all for a year after quitting the drug, then losing it minimally for the next four years, and now finally losing it much more rapidly.

In any event, even if Mr. Kutcher’s time frames are a bit off or confusing, it is wonderful to get a data point regarding Avodart from a well known celebrity. The majority of hair loss forum members who try Avodart never seem to continue to take it for a decade.

This Hair Blog’s Traffic Data

I have been writing this hair loss blog for close to five years. Since the beginning, I have had access to excellent Google Analytics traffic data. In this post, I will share some interesting statistics about this blog’s visitors during the just ended month of May 2018, and their implications in relation to hair loss.

I do not want to divulge any information about the total number of visitors that come to this blog. This number keeps changing significantly every month, and I want to save the details for advertisers and others with a professional interest in gaining access to that data.

Moreover, some visitors inevitably come to this blog by accident or in the hopes of finding some information that is not here. Such readers then leave immediately. So all such absolute traffic data is somewhat exaggerated. This is true for all blogs and websites on the internet. However, percentage breakouts are usually much more accurate and stable over the years. So those will be the focus of this post.

Top 15 Visitor Countries

The top 15 countries when it comes to visitors were as follows in May 2018:

  1. USA = 35.96%
  2. United Kingdom = 11.15%
  3. Canada = 6.89%
  4. Australia = 4.07%
  5. India = 3.86%
  6. Germany = 3.41%
  7. France = 2.34%
  8. Spain = 2.21%
  9. Netherlands = 2.20%
  10. Sweden = 1.74%
  11. Greece = 1.61%
  12. Italy = 1.36%
  13. Brazil = 1.23%
  14. Switzerland = 1.05%
  15. Ireland = 1.00%

Not too surprising when considering that the first four countries in the above list all have English as their national language, and they also ranked in order of most populous to least populous. In the case of the fifth (India), while there are numerous languages spoken in that country, English is one of only two officially approved languages for use in government and commerce.

Inference 1: Lower Percentage of Balding People in Asia

One surprising thing is that while India has the world’s second largest population (17.4% of the world’s total), it only accounts for 3.86 % of my visitors. Even after accounting for much higher poverty rates in the country, much lower internet usage rates, and drastically slower wifi speeds, this difference still seems excessive.

My guess is that the reason for the above discrepancy is partly because balding rates are substantially lower in India than in the western world. So a lower percentage of people from India need to visit this blog in the first place in comparison to from other countries. Another partial explanation could also be that this blog is not as well indexed in google searches conducted in India as it is in western countries.

On a related note, a lot of people on this blog and on various hair loss forums have over the years commented that balding rates in China and Japan seem to be drastically lower than what you see in places such as the US. One of the first things that many people from the west who visit Asian countries notice is that hair loss seems to be far less common than in their home nations. I have also read studies that suggest hair loss to be less common in Asians. However, this might be changing in today’s modern age. Make sure to read my post about why I think that more men are losing their hair earlier than in past generations.

The Chinese share of this blog’s visitor traffic is only 0.71%, and the Japanese share is only 0.65%. This despite the fact that these two countries are respectively the 1st and 11th most populous countries in the world. The main reason for this anomaly is of course because English is not the native language in either country. The Chinese search engine Baidu would probably rank HLC2020 much higher if I created a Mandarin version of it.

Inference 2: High Rates of Balding in Greece and Sweden

Among the top 15 countries that bring this blog its traffic, Greece and Sweden stood out the most when it comes to over-representation. While they respectively account for just 0.13% and 0.14% of the world’s population, each accounts for an over 12 times higher share than that of this blog’s visitors. This is all the more surprising since English is NOT the national language in either country.

A weaker, but still striking  over-representation in traffic can be seen when it comes to non-English speaking Netherlands and Switzerland. Of course most people in all these countries do understand English, but my guess is that a significant fraction of their citizenry still prefers to read in their native language over English whenever possible. Even if they know how to use Google Translate.

I looked at these same national statistics from earlier months in prior years and found almost identical percentage breakouts for traffic from the above mentioned countries. So this issue cannot be explained by unique factors such as my covering some news about Greece or Sweden recently that temporarily brought in more traffic from those countries. Every month since I started this blog, I have seen the same trend of over-representation from these small population non-native-English speaking West European countries.

On a related note, Greece is one of the main countries of operation of the DHI Global hair transplantation mega-chain. This company was started by a Greek American and holds training clinics and much more in Greece every year. Sweden is home to Follicum, a company that has been well covered on this blog in the past.


According to Google Analytics, 54.15% of this blog’s visitors were male in May 2018, and the remaining 45.85% of the visitors were female. This ratio has remained steady since I first started checking it a few years ago. However, I am very skeptical about how Google comes up with this figure. When it comes to traffic from countries, it is simple to track IP addresses and figure out where each visitor is coming from. Gender is not so simple.

For tracking the gender of a visitor, Google probably has to make a guess depending on: each person’s visits to other sites; their personal photos; their search history; their video browsing history; their social media profiles; their gmail inbox messages; and more. You have probably given Google access to all of that information and more without knowing it. And if you have tried to avoid doing so, Google probably still accesses it anyway using various nefarious means.

Nevertheless, despite our overlord’s omnipresence, I think that:

Inference 3: Google is Drastically Overestimating Female Traffic

I arrived at this conclusion after considering that:

  • Females bald at significantly lower rates then males.
  • Less than 5% of the comments to my posts have come from females.
  • Far more of my posts are geared solely towards men (e.g., male toupee examples, Dutasteride posts, male celebrities with hair transplants etc…) in comparison to posts that are solely geared towards women (there are some of those).
  • The largest and most popular hair loss forums on the web are all dominated by posts from men, although there are several smaller women’s only hair loss forums out there.

Therefore, I am very skeptical about Google’s methodology and data in their gender breakout section of the Analytics report. One day I might do a gender survey on this blog and see what shows up. My guess is that at best, 30% of this blog’s readership consists of females, but I could very well be wrong.


As would be expected, this blog’s readership is dominated by younger people. In fact, a majority of readers are younger than myself :-(

  • Age 18-24 = 27.5%
  • Age 25-34 = 33.5%
  • Age 35-44 = 15.5%
  • Age 45-54 = 12.5%
  • Age 55-64 = 5.5%
  • Age 65 and over = 5.5%

If I truly believed that Google has highly accurate data, I would try to find out how many minutes each of the above age groups spends on this blog. However, I think the above data is derived via a lot of guesswork and extrapolation by Google. Plus I do not want to go into much more statistical detail in this already lengthy post. So I will assume that this blog’s elderly 65 years and upwards visitors genuinely do spend as much time as younger adults in reading the posts and are worried about their hair loss. So:

Inference 4: A Higher than Expected Portion of the Elderly want their Hair Back

We know that 15% of the US population is over the age of 65. West European nations, Australia and Canada have similar shares of elderly people in their total populations, so we can assume this number for the whole world (since most of my readership consists of people from the above mentioned developed countries).

So while 15% of the developed world’s population is of age 65 and upwards, 5.5% of this blog’s readership comes from that age group. i.e., around 35% (5.5 divided by 15) of older people care about their hair loss. If you assume that 70% of the people in this age group have lost a lot or all of their hair (as research and statistics indicate), this means that an astonishing one-half (35 divided by 70) of older people with hair loss are reading about the subject. This is hard to believe. Most older men that I see balding do not seem to be too concerned about it. Life experiences, less vanity about appearance, no interest in finding a mate, and general acceptance of fate all lead to older men caring less about hair loss.

So yet again, I feel like Google must have very bad statistics in this category.

Nevertheless, even if Google is way off, it is evident from these numbers that a sizable fraction of old men still want to maintain or get back their scalp hair.

Ironically, while I do not cover celebrity hair loss news too often, most of my recent coverage has unintentionally involved older men doing something drastic about their hair loss: Travolta (age 64) and Trump (age 71) and Berlusconi (age 81).

Social Media

Only around 3% of my traffic is accounted for by visits via social media. Around 85 percent of this “social” network traffic comes from Twitter and Reddit. Youtube and Facebook are next in order of importance. I never created a Facebook page for this blog, largely because I do not want yet another reason to spend more time on that platform. Maybe I will change my mind in future.

Inference 5: Very few readers care to share my posts on social media using the icons on top of each post :-(

I do not blame you. I rarely share interesting things that I find on the internet in my own personal social network posts and accounts. Maybe I should remove the social media icons towards the top of each post? They slow the blog down a bit and take up important real estate.