Over the years, I have written numerous posts on topical finasteride for hair loss. However, when it comes to the stronger DHT inhibitor topical dutasteride, this is the only post. I try to update it every year.
Update: December 18, 2022
Interesting advice via Twitter from Dr. Kyle Gillett. He confirms that topical dutasteride will not absorb much systemically. However, I was a bit confused by his analysis of the faster half life of the topical formulation. The half life of oral finasteride is 6 hrs, and the half life of oral dutasteride is five weeks. He replied to me in that Tweet and explained his reasoning.
Also note that clinical trials for topical Dutasteride started in Spain in October 2022 and will end in April 2024.
Update: May 7, 2022
Topical Dutasteride from Moogene Medi
A few days ago, reader “Ben” posted yet another important new update from Naver in regards to a South Korea company. This time it is Moogene Medi and its highly unique ultrasound microbubble delivered topical dutasteride.
This new topical dutasteride product will be known as “Hutera”. Note that this brand name is not mentioned on the company’s website. Surprisingly, neither is the word dutasteride. The latter is also why I never took this company seriously till this week.
According this latest update, Hutera topical dutasteride will have:
“About 20 times higher dermal drug delivery efficiency than the existing oral dutasteride.”
This 20x seems hard to believe. However, I do not doubt that this topical will be significantly better than the oral at local scalp DHT inhibition.
Also of note, the likelihood of systemic side effects will be negligible since Hutera will have:
“A lower blood concentration of 1% compared to oral dutasteride.”
The original Korean study on this ultrasound activated mechanism also mentions a CRISPR-Cas9 based delivery mechanism. However, the latest Naver article does not mention CRISPR anywhere.
Make sure to also read the patent on this nanoliposome-microbubble encapsulated drug delivery for treating hair loss. Also make sure to keep track of Moogene’s official Naver page in case “Ben” takes a day off!
This is all very exciting and I have e-mailed the study authors for more information. It seems like the product will still have to undergo 6 month human clinical trials and will be released in 2023. Note that that normal 3-4 year duration trials are not required since this is an existing already approved drug. South Korea and Japan are the only two countries where oral Dutasteride is approved to treat hair loss.
Update: January 22, 2022 — A great new video presentation from Dr. Rachita Dhurat and other doctors from India. Covers both topical and oral dutasteride. Includes before and after photos and Q&A session.
Oral dutasteride (brand name Avodart) is significantly more effective than oral finasteride (brand name Propecia) in treating hair loss. I therefore assume that topical dutasteride is also more effective than topical finasteride in growing hair.
Update: July 2020 (Brazil): Novel iron oxide nanocarriers loading topical dutasteride for androgenetic alopecia.
Limited Interest in Topical Dutasteride
What surprises me is that there is so little interest in topical dutasteride in comparison to topical finasteride. Both on the part of hair loss sufferers as well as on the part of hair transplant surgeons, dermatologists and physicians.
Even mesotherapy and dutasteride treatments have not becoming as popular as I would have guessed last year. Surprising, when so many people are worried about the potential side effects from oral dutasteride.
Local compounding pharmacies will often make topical finasteride (cream, lotion, solution or gel) for hair loss sufferers. However, they rarely get requests to make topical dutasteride for hair loss.
In the private sector, Almirall (previously Polichem) will soon release a rigorously tested topical finasteride. They have worked on this product for more than five years. Unfortunately, no major pharmaceutical company is close to conducting clinical trials for topical dutasteride.
Some smaller companies do make topical dutasteride. However, I am not sure how effective their product is, nor whether they sell globally. I am guessing that none of these companies have conducted expensive clinical trials for their products. Several readers have posted links to such sellers in the comments to this post.
Perhaps one reason for this lack of interest among all parties is due to the fact that dutasteride is much more expensive then finasteride. Both generic and brand name versions of the former are pricier than the latter.
It should also be noted that dutasteride has only been officially approved to treat hair loss in South Korea and Japan. In the US, the FDA has not approved its use for androgenetic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness). Doctors have to prescribe it off-label for patients with pattern hair loss.
Hair Transplant Surgeon Offerings
While I would like to see a private company manufacture topical dutasteride that has been clinically tested, this is not happening anytime soon.
However, during the past 2-3 years, some hair transplant surgeons have started prescribing and offering their version of topical dutasteride. Among these include Dr. Mwamba in Belgium and Dr. Hayatdavoudi in the US. Dr. Hasson in Canada was also planning to offer this product a few years ago per my past interviews with him. However, I have not heard much since that time.
Most such doctors will only prescribe topical dutasteride in person to their own patients. Or after at least doing a remote online video consultation.
I have talked with a couple of other hair transplant surgeons about the significant potential of making money by offering topical dutasteride. One of them might jump on board later this year, although the chances are slim at present.
Topical Dutasteride Buying Options
A number of relatively new online companies (or pharmacies) now sell topical dutasteride. These include:
I will update this list each year. Hair loss product subscription based companies such as “Hims” and Keeps were not offering this product as of early 2022.
My Topical Dutasteride Experiment
Over the years, I have read of many instances where people take oral hair loss medications and crudely convert them into topical ones. Warning: This type of experimentation can be dangerous, especially for pregnant women.
They first break open the capsules to get to the solution or material inside. In the case of tablets or pills, they grind them down into powder form. Then they rub the resulting liquid or gel or powder on to their scalps. Sometimes after mixing it with other hair growth promoting ingredients such as Retin-A.
Wet scalps possibly absorb the medication better than dry scalps. Topical hair loss products in combination with microneedling might also be more effective when it comes to absorption.
I have always been skeptical about this amateur method of converting oral drugs into topical drugs. Is it possible for the scalp to absorb any of the resulting topical ingredients? I assume that the molecule size has to be small enough for the scalp skin to absorb the medication. Do the ingredients get damaged upon exposure to the air?
Note: Since Rogaine Foam is easily absorbed by the scalp and also quite effective, I do not doubt that topical hair loss medications can work well. See how does Minoxidil (Rogaine) work?
Test Run and a Surprise
Last week, I decided to make my own crude version of topical dutasteride. Even if 20-30 percent of the medicine was absorbed by my scalp, it would be worth the effort and expense. Oral dutasteride was very effective for me in stopping my hair loss for several years. It possibly even regrew some crown hair. However, the effectiveness has worn of lately. So I am very keen on directly applying a topical version of dutasteride to my scalp. Especially on the crown.
When I split open my generic dutasteride capsule (see earlier photo) with scissors, I got a shock. There was almost nothing inside the capsule. Upon closer examination, I noticed a very small amount of thick transparent liquid on the scissors and on my finger. This fluid is not visible in the earlier photo I posted.
I hope that my Camber Pharmaceutical made generic dutasteride is legitimate. The transparent liquid type content was quite limited in volume, but perhaps this is normal for all capsules? In any case, I managed to put some of this thick liquid on my crown. Warning: It is dangerous if you get such medicine into your eyes or mouth.
I do not intend to continue this experiment on any kind of regular basis. I will pour the limited contents of oral dutasteride capsules onto my scalp once in a blue moon. It makes me feel like I am doing something useful. Hopefully, I get more than just a placebo effect when it comes to hair growth.