Since 2014, I have covered topical finasteride for hair loss at regular intervals on this blog. Many of us are eagerly awaiting the final results from Polichem’s P-3074 topical finasteride Phase 3 clinical trials. Those trials ended in March 2018 and involved a sizable 459 male participants.
More importantly, a number of hair transplant surgeons and pharmacies have in recent years started compounding their own version of topical finasteride.
In rare instances, they are even making the stronger topical dutasteride. Almost all local compounding pharmacies in the USA are able to make their own in-house topical finasteride.
From what I have read online and after calling several local pharmacies, it seems like gel-based topical finasteride is the most popular current topical option. Finasteride gel and finasteride tablets showed similar hair growth success rates per this 2009 study from Iran.
You can also get topical finasteride in various liquid solutions; creams; lotions; ointments; pastes; aerosol sprays; microsponges; and more.
Topical Finasteride Drug Delivery
It seems like there are numerous ever increasing potential ways in which to deliver topical finasteride to the scalp. Each delivery mechanism not only impacts final hair growth results, but also side effects. The ultimate aim in creating both topical finasteride and topical dutasteride is to drastically reduce potential side effects from the oral versions.
Nanotechnology and Finasteride
2014 (Brazil): Nanotechnology in Dermatology
2018 (Brazil): Nanotechnology advances for hair loss.
2008 (EU): Original Polichem patent on a chitosan-based delivery system for topical finasteride.
I could not find any studies on this, but iontophoresis delivery of finasteride is probably effective (even if on the scalp).
Some of the above methods can overlap with each other or be used in combination. I have not tried to put too much effort into the science for the time being, and will probably expand this post in the future.
If you have tried using topical finasteride or topical dutasteride, do comment on how you obtained the product. And if possible, the format (gel, solution, cream) and carrier vehicle. Did you see reasonable results? Any side effects?