Hair transplant surgery will bring an exciting change in your life. You will finally regrow your hair for good. However, sometimes, quite understandably, in order to enhance the results of your surgery, you might try to take some “extra measures.”
These could be anything from oiling your hair to using serums, creams, sprays, masks and whatnot. A duo that is quite popular for hair loss is – minoxidil and finasteride. Before putting anything on your scalp or taking any medicines for hair growth (e.g., finasteride) after a hair transplant, you should consult your surgeon.
Everyone wants their hair transplant surgery to be successful. And soon after the surgery, some patients take the extra mile to do just that by using the drugs minoxidil and finasteride. The only problem is that the surgery itself makes the use of any other hair loss treatment redundant.
Of course, it is important to you that the best results are guaranteed after your hair transplant, but the surgery itself will make a world of difference. Moreover, there’s another reason why we strongly don’t recommend the use of these two drugs immediately after your hair transplant. Before we get into that, let’s take a look at what minoxidil and finasteride are, how they work, the reasons behind their popularity, and their pitfalls.
What Are Minoxidil and Finasteride?
Initially, these FDA-approved drugs weren’t developed for hair loss. Minoxidil (Rogaine) was developed as a treatment for high blood pressure and Finasteride for benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition in which the prostate glands are enlarged.
Regardless, it was found that the drug finasteride (Propecia) acted as an inhibitor of the enzyme 5α-reductase which is responsible for the conversion of the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the reason why men lose hair as a result of male pattern baldness. By binding to the hair follicles, it leads to their shrinkage and weakened state, eventually causing irreparable damage.
With the finasteride inhibiting the action of the enzyme, the DHT will not bind to the hair follicles. This is how finasteride works and stops hair loss. Many studies have shown promising results from the use of this drug.
Minoxidil, on the other hand, can only promote the growth of hair by increasing the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles on the scalp. It is a vasodilator and is generally sprayed on the scalp. This causes the blood vessels to dilate and carry more, well, blood.
Therefore this increased flow can positively impact the growth of hair. Minoxidil does not actually stop hair loss because of the way it works. Some experts don’t even consider it an effective solution against hair loss.
You can find a topical solution or foam of minoxidil, while finasteride is available as an oral pill (this is the FDA-approved form of it). Some companies also make combo minoxidil and finasteride topical solution.
Can Finasteride and Minoxidil Be Used Together?
Minoxidil and finasteride can work alone. However, it is also safe to take them together. However, before you do that, you need to consult your doctor. It is extremely important. They can interact harmfully with some other drugs that you might be taking.
So, make sure to inform your doctor about all the drugs that you’re already taking, including vitamins. Even before starting a new drug, you need to ask your doctor to ensure that it will not interact dangerously with these hair loss medications.
Together these two drugs are effective against hair loss. Considering the way these drugs work to promote hair growth, minoxidil and finasteride results can be quite good. Their combination has been shown to improve hair loss. However, it is just as possible for these to not work at all, together or on their own.
Should You Use Minoxidil and Finasteride After Hair Transplant Surgery?
We would absolutely not recommend the use of these two drugs on your scalp immediately after the hair restoration surgery. The simple reason for it is that it will clog your pores. As insignificant as it may sound, this small thing can have some large and devastating consequences. During the aftercare process, we specifically instruct our patients to keep their scalp clean. It will allow the skin on your scalp to breathe. Moreover, it will keep the pores unclogged of any gunk.
The newly transplanted hair follicles need ample oxygen to heal properly and start growing new hair. If you start using a combination of minoxidil and finasteride in order to improve the results of your surgery, you’ll essentially deprive the roots of the hair follicles of oxygen. They will not breathe properly, which will result in their death. This will mean that no hair growth will take place. However, if you do decide to take them, you need to wait for at least 6 months after the surgery.
The surgery itself makes the use of these drugs unnecessary. You don’t have to use them. A hair transplant works by placing hair follicles from the healthy, hair-growing region of your head to the bald spots. These follicles will then normally grow in their new place. It can even improve the blood circulation in the area, which then allows the non-transplanted hair roots to benefit.
PRP injections can also help boost hair growth. You’d only need a few of them. If you are still concerned about your results, you can share your progress pictures with your hair transplant surgeon to get an assessment of your recovery.
You can discuss different treatments with your doctor that can help boost hair growth after surgery for quicker recovery. However, do not take any of them without their consult as you can end up damaging the grafts.
What Are the Disadvantages of Taking Minoxidil and Finasteride for Hair Loss?
There are more than just a few reasons why it’s better to get hair transplant surgery than use these drugs to deal with hair loss. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Only Temporary Relief from Hair Loss
That’s one of the biggest reasons why some people would rather not choose to use finasteride and minoxidil. You have to take these drugs on a daily basis and also very carefully in order to see any results.
In the case of minoxidil, you’ll have to wait for at least four months before you start seeing any results. According to Medline, this medicine is most effective for people under the age of 40 who have started taking it as soon as their hair loss began.
Finasteride will start to produce any significant results after 6-12 months. Whereas in the case of hair transplant surgery, you will permanently regrow your hair after 12 months.
You will not have to apply any medications or take any pills. Those results are going to last you a lifetime. However, with these hair loss medications, as soon as you stop taking them, your hair will start to fall again. So, you’ll have to keep investing in these drugs for a very long time without them ever promising you any permanence.
Finasteride Can Cause Birth Defects
It is a reason why women do not end up taking this treatment at all. FDA has approved it for androgenetic alopecia in males only. Women who are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant should not even hold the tablets of finasteride.
That is because any crushed or broken pill can be absorbed into the body through the skin. It can result in the abnormal development of a male fetus. It is also not prescribed to breastfeeding mothers as it can pass into the breastmilk.
Finasteride can cause the following side effects:
- Reduced sex drive
- Weak ejaculation
- Tender breasts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nipple discharge
- Pain in your breast
On the other hand, minoxidil can cause:
- Skin rash,
If you’re experiencing tachycardia, dizziness, chest pain, and swelling, along with some other out-of-the-ordinary symptoms, then also you need to get in touch with a doctor right away.
The fears about losing your hair again after a hair transplant are quite natural. You’ve gone through a bad experience and do not want to go through something similar. Quite naturally, you’ll try to do all that you can to avoid it.
Finasteride and minoxidil are used for hair loss, but usually before hair transplant. Many studies show a decrease in hair loss as a result. However, it has some pretty big disadvantages. Their results will never be permanent. You’ll have to keep using the products for a long time. If you experience a side effect, you may need to discontinue the medicine.
Finasteride is harmful to developing male fetuses. Only touching the drug can be dangerous when the woman is pregnant or is planning to get pregnant. Its side effects are also certainly quite undesirable. Compared to that, hair transplant surgery is a far better solution for hair loss.
You will not lose your transplanted hair, so you do not have to take these medications. The surgery itself makes them redundant. Since the new hair follicles aren’t affected by DHT, finasteride is of no use. And normal hair growth will take place without the use of a minoxidil topical solution.
If you want to book surgery with us, you can always reach out to us. If you’re someone who has some aftercare questions with regards to their recovery, our address is [email protected].
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.