Topical Dutasteride for Hair Loss

Since 2014, I have written a number of posts on topical finasteride for hair loss. In several of them, I have also mentioned topical dutasteride.

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.

Lack of Interest in Topical Dutasteride

Dutasteride Capsule.
Dutasteride Capsule.

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. Lupanzula 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. I have also contacted “Hims” about this opportunity, but got no response.

My Topical Dutasteride Experiment

Topical Dutasteride from Capsule
Topical Dutasteride from Capsule.

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.

Microneedling and Topical Dutasteride
Nada, Essam & Sharkawy, Reham & Abd Elmaged, Wafaa & Elmagd, Marwa. (2018). Topical dutasteride with microneedling in treatment of male androgenetic alopecia. Sohag Medical Journal. 22. 387-400.

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), 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. Both of these came into contact with the capsule. This fluid is not visible in the earlier photo I posted. Maybe I will take another better close-up photo of the fluid in future and add it to this post.

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.

83 thoughts on “Topical Dutasteride for Hair Loss”

  1. Good luck admin.
    On another note, would you be able to write about what conpanies are still moving forward during this pandemic? Or, what companies have publicly stated they are delaying due to Covid? I would like to have something in particular to look forward to. Thanks for considering.

    1. Hey Tom, only the two I wrote about before officially announced delays when I last checked. But I would assume that everyone is delayed by at least 6 months.

      1. Admin,

        You should consider organizing a informal trial of topical Fin. Research ways to conduct a study and train participants. Even if you don’t use a placebo (control arm) you could still generate meaningful data about the effectiveness of topical Fin…it might even cause companies to perform their own, proper studies.

        1. If hair loss blog and forum owners were allowed to conduct cheap human trials with no government monitoring, we would have had a cure 10 years ago!

          1. You don’t have to conduct it…just provide people with guidelines and let them have at it. It can’t be a rigorous double blind study, but it can provide enough evidence to get big pharma interested in the idea…

            And then you’d go down in history as one of the great hair restoration pioneers :-D

  2. I was chatting with a physician friend of mine about the fact that there are no serious studies being done when it comes to topical finasteride or dutasteride. He says the reason is simple, there is no financial incentive. If one finds out that the topical product is effective, any company or compound pharmacy can start making it too. The same logic goes to any study regarding the effect of natural products on hair loss, there is no advantage in scientifically finding out that lettuce juice completely halts hair loss (I wish it did) because anyone can make it.

    And btw, on the homemade finasteride, he showed me the website below. He also said in Italy, in a pharmacy called Parati, it’s quite common to prescribe topical finasteride already.

    https://www.minoxidilmax.com/topical-finasteride-review-how-make-your-own-without-side-effects

    1. Yes, but, Sad part is why glaxo didn’t try topical in 2000s when they had the patent. The tried oral, great results, but , obviously , they knew about the side effects and had more moral than Merk.

  3. I have purchased topical dutasteride from regrowth labs D5a it is very thick once apply to the scalp. I have used it for a few months now and I can’t see any regrowth yet might add dermarolling to see if it helps absorption

    1. Interesting. He is now an advisor at Organ Tech. But still the head at Riken. Hope it’s just a minor organizational change.

      1. What could this mean for their operation, in terms of the timeline? And what could it mean in general, as far as the treatment goes?

      2. Hi admin – I even think it is a very good sign and great news! The research is definitely over, and development, if not yet finished, should be more of an engineering issue and fine tuning.

        Tsuji is a sientist and not a businessman, he might want to go back to basic academic research.

        There was also a change on the executive board in 2019 with 2 new directors, one of which is a lawyer and new to OrganTech – his position is called “Outside Director”. 3 out of the 4 positions have an economic background, 1 is scientific.

        All in all these changes are strong indications towards marketing and would not be made if the alleged 2019-trials were unsuccessful – at least that is what I think.

        This is a usual shift from R&D to commercialization in my humble opinion.

    2. @tom thanks for sharing. Think it’s not too bad news since his role as adviser still includes him in the business and at least it means the company is still alive, we didn’t hear news quite a while.

  4. Could it be as simple as ordering Dutasteride from Alibaba and adding it to our minoxidil flacs?
    i’m taking 0,5mg daily now, i probably won’t need that much when applied topical. That Belgium doctor mentioned, uses 1% of it in their mixture. I’m guessing that’s about 0,6 grams. Which is not expensive at all.
    There are blood tests available for DHT, I just don’t know if they are also willing to take a blood sample from the scalp. Because with those results it’s instantly known whether or not it’s working right?

  5. The lack of interest is down to the fact that it does not work. The burden of proof is on those that believe it somehow does and anything less than a video (not suspicious still images) is unacceptable.
    What you are promoting is home-,made have-a-go chemistry. While appreciating that necessity is the mother of all inventions, this is not the right thing to do for something that is just cosmetic.

      1. Exactly. Lots of studies show topical finasteride to work. Dr. Hasson even told me that the topical worked significantly better than the oral for many patients in the past.

        And by now, there must be 100 plus studies that show oral dutasteride to be much better than oral finasteride at growing hair (albeit with higher rates of side effects).

        My experiment is clearly labeled as a crude at-home experiment, whose science is unproven. Nothing misleading. I would probably never have tried it if oral dutasteride was continuing to work well for me.

      2. Dut’s molecule is considerably bigger and quite impractical for epidermis penetration. Needs a good carrier (possibly liposomal)

  6. @admin, anything about microneedling / minox planned? It seems that there is alot of interest in this and alot of ppl experimenting whos getting really good results.

  7. I haven’t been following as closely of late so someone may have posted already but I did notice that Puretech has updated their Follica pipeline page. Nothing really new but they are obviously moving forward and still pursuing proprietary amplification compounds to increase effectiveness. There is a very good before and after pic (the same one we have seen before) and it is very good clear pic. On the downside, it is captioned as an “above the average” representation of results.

  8. Admin, you are never considering that topical can give you the same side effects than oral. IN fact, the Italy company, didn’t show the before and after DHT systemic level, so, it is really a none sense.
    Anyway, it surprise me that not a single person test it, but simple check their DHT before and after use dutasteride or finasteride topical.

    1. I used topical fin for just over a month. I had testicle pain, foggyness, and a couple of panic attacks. Decided to quit that sh*t. Now I’m going bald and I’ve pretty much given up hope. But going bald is better than messing around with your hormones I think.

      1. You can use topical minoxidil plus tretinoin . PLus everyday Ketoconazole 2% shampoo ( living at last 10 minutes ) . That really works.

  9. It is strange that topical dutasteride is not more popular. I suffer sides on topical finasteride and was very much wanting to try it myself – I’ve heard from reputable hair transplant clinics that sometimes patients who experience sides on finasteride can take dutasteride without any problems. This is strange, given that dutasteride is stronger, but seems to be borne out by clinical practice. However, taking dutasteride orally is a step too far for me at this stags. I actually had an appointment booked in with Dr Lupanzula which was cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, so it may be a few months before I can get hold of it.

    1. It isn’t that strange that Dut has less sides as it inhibits type 2 Alpha reductase more, the type found in the scalp whereas Fin reduces more type 1 which is found in the prostate and actually has use in the body, hence the side effects

        1. Yeah, obviously there is a chance I could get hit with even worse sides, but I’ve no reason to disbelieve that sometimes the opposite can happen.

          1. Mutruk is wrong. It’s actually Dut that inhibits both 5AR1 and 5AR2. Finasteride’s effect on 5AR1 is negligible.

  10. Hello Admin, you mentioned that Dr. Hasson told you that the topical worked significantly better than the oral in the past.

    I’ve been on oral finasteride (1mg) for the past 3 years, and although I initially had great results (stopped hair loss and regained density in the vertex) recently my hairline has been receding and I’m exploring new options.

    Now I don’t have any finasteride-related side effects, so is it worth making the switch to topical finasteride/dutasteride?

    1. Probably best to consult with a doctor first before trying to switch. I have not talked to Dr. Hasson in several years, but will try to get his latest feedback on this issue.

  11. Admin and others, I’m currently using a homemade topical finasteride which I make at a much high concentration than what my compounding pharmacy will make, but I’m still not getting any results. Should I switch over to oral? Could it be that I’m not applying it correctly or that my genetics are just too strong? Thanks

    1. There was another person who had emailed the company. He got no response. Now, from a first glance it might look negative but Dr Tsuji is still with the company, just taking a different position. He gave a lecture in Jan 2020 on next generation regenerative medicine. Hair follicle regeneration was mentioned in that lecture. It would be strange to give that lecture and then call it quits after all this time. There was an article late last year talking about Organ Technologies in Beyond Health and they had mentioned Human trails were to begin in 2019 (who knows if this happened). Everything is very under the radar with news bad or good. We will just have to wait and see.

  12. Admin, sorry if I missed this , but is there a conclusive study comparing the difference in side effects between oral and topical finasteride ?
    Thanks

    1. Thanks Mike! I can’t imagine how there would be no delay this year, especially for a US company. But I would be glad to be proven wrong of course.

        1. Added a few updates in the November post, but will republish with a few minor updates later this month most likely. For now, best is to follow David DiMuzio channel and Bald Truth channel.

      1. It’s probably worth noting that they say so far nothing has impacted their plans but are keeping a close eye on the situation so that could change of course. Also the fact that they have done trials outside the US in the past would indicate they could always test in a country where the virus is under control/ or has relaxed lockdown measures.

        Positive news for the time being.

  13. Questions for admin and anyone else who is interested in Tsuji:

    What stage are we at? What is the next step? What specifically are we waiting on?

    I’ve read conflicting reports about human trials. Are we waiting to hear if they have started? Or to hear the results? Do we have any sort of timeline at all?

    1. No-one knows for sure. Some indications were that human trials started in late 2019 or early 2020. All speculation till we hear from the horse’s mouth unfortunately.

  14. Ultimately, this is a delivery and logistics issue. I already use Minoxodil foam, and it is far superior to the liquid. I remember the days of having to use a dropper to apply the sticky, itchy liquid to my head – it was quite inconvenient. The foam changed everything; not only did it make application easier, it doubled as a styling and thickening gel. I wouldn’t give it up for topical fin or dut, because the application of them would be so onerous and cosmetically cumbersome (foam aids in the styling of my hair – liquids detract from it). And where would it fit in my day? I’m using minox foam 2x a day, and I doubt it would be advisable to apply both minox and finish/dut at the same time, so when do I apply it? Middle of the day at work? It’s unmanageable. If it were available as a foam and showed SIGNIFICANT improved efficacy over Minoxodil, sure, but as a liquid? No thanks.

  15. I miss the days of the medical items of interest posts, and posts like this. Not “Hey look some guy got made fun of on tiger king for being bald”, or “this celebrity has a great hair transplant”.

    1. Celebrity has a great hair transplant or toupee has been written about since the blog started :-( Tiger King was new.

        1. Sadly I have not watched it. Sounds like a pretty popular polarizing opinion though. I guess my main point is I like posts like these that look at a more scientific way to move past hair loss.

      1. I just think they should make a come back. I enjoyed reading those blog posts the most, even if everything wasn’t directly related to hair loss (but you found a way to indirectly speculate that it could be). It made the search for new treatments seem like an ongoing process, and gave me hope in science. Vs the few press releases we get from companies.

        1. Thanks. Unfortunately, the Brief Items of Interest posts took up way too much of my time, as I had to collect links to stories almost daily. I agree that the scientific posts are always better, but the blog would become a bit too dry. And I would get tired of always doing scientific research. BTW the posts on Trump and Ashton Kutcher are far more popular than most of the scientific posts. Most regular drive by readers do not want too much scientific information to digest :-)

  16. For me, dutasteride is actually cheaper than finasteride (generic in both cases). I made the switch to dutasteride after using finasteride for about a year.

    I’m fairly certain my dutasteride is legit. I accidentally punctured one of the capsules one time, and got the liquid in my mouth. It tastes HORRIFIC. So that could be a way to test your dutasteride if you’re feeling brave.

  17. Fda putting hold on all non covid19 clinical trials until further notice. So looks like follica wont be entering phase 3 this year or any other trial. Im sure histogen will use this as an excuse in 8 years for being delayed for phase 2 haha

  18. You can buy dutasteride powder and mix it with minox. I just started applying this mixture for about 2 weeks now. Don’t waste your time with dutasteride pills. The liquid amount is minuscule, and you’ll waste most of it trying to get it out of the pill. Plus, it would take 60 dutasteride capsules at 0.5mg’s to make a 0.05% dutasteride solution at 60ml or 120 dutasteride capsules at 0.5mg’s to make a 0.1% dutasteride solution at 60ml.

  19. In other news; unregulated wet markets are open again. Great news for animal suffering and future pandemics. By then the world economy will be on its knees and any hope of a bailout will be left up to aliens. On a brighter note Mjones…Histogen should be to market after the world ends.

  20. Is anyone having issues with HLT forum? Ever time I visit that site it takes forever to load up.

    Sorry admin for mentioning your competition site. Your site is always the best and accessible:)

    I like hlt to check out before after fue

    1. Not just you, been having this issue for a few mo this myself. Tried accessing it today and it didnt load for me. Not sure what’s going on.

  21. hairloss is depressing as hell. I dont care what anyone says, “Maning up and shaving it” is not an option for alot of people. I really hope a cure comes out this year

  22. There is a liquid dutasteride (30 ml, 0.5 mg dut/ml) on peptidepros.com. What do you guys think about that? Is that page legit or fake as the kaneshop?

  23. Hey Admin-

    I am almost in the same boat as you- as in I am starting a topical duta experiment- the idea is to try mixing it in a carrier like DMSO (and maybe also mix this solution with minox form) and try it on a twice a week cadence. Some dude on Hairlosstalk seems to have had good response on topical duta sans the side effects.

    In the past, I have had painful sides from oral versions of duta & fin. Plus Minox also gave me mighty sides (intestinal issues & definite liver issues)

    Do you have any advice regarding the duta-dmso combo?

      1. Nice theoretical experiment.But i read that if you apply pure (100%) it’s absortion efficacy decreased.You must use it 70% or 90% pure.But if you will use it in this form(70 or 90%) for (let’s say) minox solution it will give minox 0 efficacy because of the water dmso will have.
        just posting my thoughts.no judging

        1. I did not understand your comment fully, but it does make sense to mix the “topical” Dutasteride with something else. A lot of people seem to mix with Minoxidil.

          I would guess that adding Retin-A would also help with the absorption. Have not done much research into DMSO.

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