-By Matthew MacDonald, Hair Technician
Hair loss is an issue that can be frustrating to deal with. Not only is there no cure, but there are also a slew of contributing factors that can make pinning down exactly what is causing your hair loss very difficult in some cases. Many people are familiar with stress-induced and hereditary hair loss, but there is another big one that you might not know about: DHT.
What is DHT?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone made from testosterone in certain male and female glands and tissues. This hormone is responsible for the development of sexual structures and characteristics in those assigned male at birth, such as increased muscle mass, a deeper voice, and body hair. Although DHT is crucial for our body to grow and mature, it can also be your hair’s worst enemy.
How Can DHT Affect Hair?
DHT is an offshoot of testosterone that plays a role in some of the same sexual functions and physiological processes as testosterone, but it’s actually much stronger. DHT can bind to an androgen receptor longer, meaning it can increase the impact of testosterone production throughout your body. High levels of androgens, including DHT, can slowly build up over the years around the hair follicle. This causes it to slowly suffocate and shrink hair follicles, as well as shorten, and ultimately end, the hair growth cycle. The effect is that hair grows much thinner and brittle. Gradually, the body will produce far less hair than was there previously.
How Can You Treat DHT Buildup?
To prevent DHT buildup, the best thing you can do is to stay active and incorporate stimulation to the scalp, which helps to promote healthy blood circulation. Examples of this might be getting scalp massages or adding a shampoo that includes ingredients like tea tree oil or cayenne pepper.
Outside of at-home prevention, topical and oral medications may be used such as finasteride or minoxidil. These will help regulate your hair growth cycle. As you may begin to lose more hair than you grow, these products will help bring your growth back to an equilibrium. If DHT buildup goes on long enough without any prevention, it is possible that a hair restoration surgery may be recommended to replace hair in areas of loss or thinning.
To discuss changes you are experiencing in your hair density and volume, schedule a personal consultation to meet with one of our hair restoration surgeons. Drs. Quatela, Lee, or Montague will meet with you to learn more about your personal situation and goals, as well as educate you on the various options available at our center and what would be best for you.