Concerns About Shedding From Propecia – What Are The Chances It Will Occur?

I have spent countless hours researching hair loss including getting bombarded by television, radio, internet, etc etc. It’s nice to be able to read a website (The Bald Truth & IAHRS) and listen to someone with obvious knowledge in the field. I know you always write a disclaimer in your emails that you’re not a doctor but I’m willing to bet you know more about the subject of hair loss, physically and emotionally than 99% of the doctors out there.

I have 2 questions and I appreciate any time you put into responding. I am 32 years old and first noticed I started thinning when I was about 25. I haven’t done a thing for it but to be honest it’s been really gradual. I’m currently about a stage 3 on the scale (I forget the name) so it’s definitely time to either “shave it or save it”.

I am going to start using Propecia, hopefully I didn’t wait too long to get that working. I’m just wondering about the ‘shedding’ phase. It doesn’t mention it on the Propecia website and I haven’t been able to find much credible information on this. I’m just wondering what the chances are of this occurring, and if it does happen how much shedding given the worst case scenario?

I am also going to start using the Laser Hairbrush so I guess I won’t be able to say which works better or at all on their own, but I hope that the duo does something for me.

Can you offer any advice on if this and if you think it is a good plan, and also about the shedding process likelihood and severity?

I appreciate your response and I’m glad I found your show to listen to as well.

Thank you

As always, I have to state clearly that I am not a physician and that my opinions and knowledge concerning hair loss and its treatment are based on extensive research and reporting on the subject as a consumer advocate and hair loss educator.

In my opinion early intervention with FDA approved medical treatment is the key to success when it comes to effectively treating your hair loss.

From what you wrote, it doesn’t sound like you’ve progressed dramatically, so I think you have a good chance of having success with Propecia.

As far as the dreaded “Propecia shed,” the truth is there really is no clinical data that I am aware of that acknowledges this as a common phenomenon, but I do believe that there is enough anecdotal data available which indicates that it can happen.

From what I know, if you do experience a shed, it is almost always temporary. In my opinion, if you really want to effectively attempt to treat your hair loss, finasteride should always be your first line of attack.

In reality you have two choices, take a 5a-Reductase Inhibitor and potentially stop your hair loss and regrow some hair, or not to take one and lose your hair.

I’m not a big fan of the “kitchen sink” approach for treating hair loss. To me, logic dictates that it would be very difficult to accurately gauge the efficacy of any treatment if you are using more than one at a time.

My advise is to talk to your doctor about your treatment plans and to give Propecia a try on its own for several months before adding anything else to your regimen.

I wish that I could say that I was a big believer in LLLT (Low Level Laser Light Therapy) for the treatment of hair loss, but at this point I cannot.

Check out the featured segment section to listen to IAHRS accepted members Dr. Alan Bauman and Dr. Alan Feller discuss the issue. There’s also a segment with David Michaels, the CEO of Lexington International which is the manufacturer of The HairMAX Laser Comb….It’s pretty compelling stuff!

Hope this helps!

Spencer Kobren
Host of The Bald Truth Radio Show
Founder, American Hair Loss Association
Founder and Director of Consumer/Patient Affairs, International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS.ORG)


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  • I’m from England but when I was about 15 I won ‘best looking guy in my year’ (out of about 150 odd guys) .This was voted for by the girls in our year at high school. This is a very American concept I understand but.. still… it was worth winning.

    Im sure there were better looking guys and I felt a bit of a fraud.I never really appreciated what this ‘award’ meant in real terms and certainly didnt abuse my new found status to lure women. I was too young and still too shy.

    I never really believed my own press, even though I was told that I was nice looking by a number of different sources.

    Then I woke up one morning, aged between 16 and 17. The hair that I meticulously gelled every morning was now lank and the products I used would simply no longer hold in my hair. My hair had always been quite thin but with gel in it certainly gave me the boy bandish look that was all the rage in the mid-late 90’s.

    At first I didn’t totally understand what was happening to my hair .As I had mild depression, I assumed it was just because I was a bit stressed.

    Er.. wrong. For the next year It was ok (now using wax rather than gel) but I was becoming so thin that it was a real problem.

    I remember having a great day when on a whim I went back to my ‘shockwaves gel’ and it actually held in my hair. Something I had taken for granted had now become a red lettter event. What a

    I remember going on a skiing trip with school in sixth form (age 17/18). Some of the younger girls on the trip declared me ‘stud of the tour’. As they were attractive I should have filled my snow boots, but all I could think was
    ‘you wouldn’t think that if you saw my hair straight after I take this ski hat off my head’ .

    Hair loss has been like an impending sense of doom that you know ultimately results in total baldness .This in itself is gut wrenchingly scary and horrific, but the journey doesn’t half give you some kickings aswell.

    (For example a much older male colleague at work said on my 21st birthday:

    ‘Congratulations…(looking at my thinning thatch)…but are you sure all of you is only 21?”

    To which I replied ‘No … I have adolescent calf muscles’ which I thought rather wittily would have fended off any further unkind comments.

    But the colleague then stated..’I was talking about you going bald.’

    How do you deal with that?..and yes as much as you try to laugh it fucking hurts

    Im 24 and have been shaving my head on and off since I was about 18 (mixed in with some enterprising hair colouring episodes).

    Im not completely bald but am really quite thin on top and receeded.

    My previous comments where not designed to boast about my handsome teenage self but to show the sheer devastation that baldness has caused me. That teenage boy seems like a different person, a boy who never really got to enjoy the trappings of being young and good looking. I feel so old.

    I had a girlfriend between age 17 and 20 but that fell by the wayside. I developed crippling depression which dovetailed with my rapidly disintegrating follicles.

    University was attempted but then avoided at all costs and I have ended up in full time employment working with 5 guys in their 50’s. All of whom have more hair than me. very nice.

    I can now look at this situation with elements of humour, and as i have decided to get a tan and get myself in to shape..I think the future may be brighter. It may be lost on American readers but I sometimes get likened to the Swedish footballer Freddie Ljungberg. That helps.

    However, I feel like so much of my youth has been hacked away by this self conscious disease. I have been ceilbate from age 19 to the present day. May be this would have been the case if I had kept my hair but a rough guess suggests that this celibacy is 99.85% to do with my hair loss.The other 0.15% is to do with the sub-standard prostitutes in my home city.

  • Lords

    Bob, thank you for your post. I can feel it you wrote it with open heart and I thank you for it. I just turned 21 and a few months ago noticed I started to loose hair. I also noticed it after a friend made a remark about it. As you can guess it wasn’t too kind. I really got nothing else to say. Just thanking you for your post. I feel it.

  • James

    Bob, thank you so much for sharing this. I am currently 17 years old and an going through the exact same thing as you had in your younger years. I also went on a ski trip with a few friends, and a similar situation happened where i thought to myself, thank god i have a hat on! Until now i thought i was the only person my age who was balding. I have always been a stressful person, but now am extremely depressed and most of the time don’t want to leave the house. Women are also an issue for me, i have no self confidence at all. I was always shy, but haven’t had a girlfriend since i was around 14-15 and i can guarantee it is because of my thinning, receding hair. What stresses me out even more is that I don’t think I Will look good bald, or even with a buzzed head. I am trying Propecia now, and cant really tell if it i s working or not…… see some new hairs sprouting, but am thinning out quite a bit in the top. I hope this is just a shedding phase of something. Anyways, can’t thank you enough man, maybe i can make it through life even if i do go bald.

  • therock

    Thank you bob for sharing your story. I have the exactly story. Im 21 now and it all started when I was 17. I’ve been teased about it by friends and family and sometimes it hits me and I start questioning other things that have nothign to do with hair. Well anyways, I just want to say hi and best of luck.

  • Bob, I’m quite a bit older than you being 30, but I feel your pain man. I too was always considered quite a good-looking guy when younger and was also too shy to do anything about it which I am regreting now…. If only to have that hair now! My friends have always joked about me going bald for years even though, looking back at those times I wasn’t really losing hair at all. In the last couple of years and particularly the last 6 months my hair loss has excelerated to point where now i hate being under any kind of light as the hair i have left appears see-through. As I said I am older and it is still no easier….. not helped by the fact that the 4 year relationship I was in broke down relatively recently as well. So now I have to try and find myself a girl, but I have zero self-confidence.

    There are 2 things that i was wanting to say. Firstly, I know its difficult but we have to put things into perspective a little. My good friend who is also 30 was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative disease that normally only effects much older folks. His whole life before hand was all about outdoor activities like climbing cycling and running. Now he can’t do any of them. He doesn’t mind me whinging to him about my problems (such as hair loss), but I know he would give all his hair and a whole lot more to be in my position and able to do the things he loves to do so much.

    And secondly, if someone (either a friend or a potential girlfriend) doesn’t like you because you have no hair, then is that really the kind of person you want to be around anyway? life is short and we need to be living it and making the most of it instead of worrying about hair. To be honest I don’t always take my own advice and find it difficult to slowly watch my hair disappear, but I thought I’d post this anyway in the hope it might encourage you (and me) a little. You sound like a nice guy who has probably got a lot of good things going for you so should try to have a little confidence and all will work out fine.

    All the best buddy

  • oakes

    hey bob. thanks for your post. i can echo the same sentiments as the other guys. my situation is almost identical to urs. im 24 know and feel the pain, of the balding process, something i thought id never get till much older. the worst thing was a couple of months ago my best friend jokingly pointing out a pretty advanced bald guy and saying “thats you in 5 years time!” u laugh it off but ahh the fuckin pain.just started finasteride a month change yet but i hear it takes at leas 3 months to see any change. am hopin i cn just get to a respectable level of hair and get on with my fuckin life stop thinkin bout it.

    anyway dude, theres no need to feel depressed i follow english football, if you look like ljungberg man dont think it would matter if you went totally bald, you still be set with the ladies. gluk man, and to evyrone out there whos dealin with this



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"Spencer Kobren's nationally syndicated show "The Bald Truth" has a dedicated listenership that would have Rush Limbaugh pulling his hair out in envy." --Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


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