Understanding DHT and Hair Loss


-By Matthew MacDonald, Hair Technician

Hair loss is an issue that can be frustrating to deal with. Not only is there no cure, but also a slew of contributing factors that can make pinning down just what exactly is creating your hair loss very difficult in some cases. Many people are familiar with stress induced and hereditary hair loss, but there is another one that you might not know about called 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 production of male sex characteristics such as increased muscle mass, deepening the 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 Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?

As an offshoot of testosterone, DHT 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, affect hair by slowly building up over years around your hair follicle. This in turn causes the follicle to slowly suffocate and shrink, as well as shorten and/or end the hair growth cycle. Hair then grows much thinner and becomes brittle, while the scalp gradually produces far less hair than was there previously.

Patterns of DHT-Induced Hair Loss

  1. Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenetic Alopecia): This is the most common form of hair loss in men, characterized by a receding hairline and thinning at the crown. It often follows a recognizable pattern and can start as early as the late teens or early twenties.
  2. Female Pattern Hair Loss: Women can also experience hair loss due to DHT, although it presents differently. Instead of a receding hairline, women typically experience diffuse thinning over the crown, with the frontal hairline often remaining intact.

Factors Influencing DHT Levels

Several factors can influence the levels of DHT in the body, including:

  • Genetics: A family history of hair loss can increase the likelihood of DHT-related hair loss.
  • Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect DHT levels.
  • Aging: As people age, the production of DHT can increase, contributing to hair loss.

How Can You Prevent Too Much DHT?

To prevent the buildup of too much DHT, the best thing you can do is stay active with regular exercise, eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and manage stress. This can support overall hair health.

Incorporating stimulation to the scalp to help promote healthy blood circulation is also important. Examples of this might be getting scalp massages or adding a shampoo that includes ingredients like tea tree oil or cayenne pepper.

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 intervention, it is possible that a hair restoration surgery may be recommended. This option involves transplanting hair follicles from the areas of the scalp not affected by hair loss and thinning into the areas experiencing loss.

Understanding the role of DHT in hair loss is crucial for finding effective solutions. While DHT-induced hair loss can be challenging, a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and possibly natural remedies can help manage and reduce its impact. If you’re experiencing hair loss, schedule a consultation with one of our hair restoration physicians to determine the best course of action tailored to your specific needs. Early intervention can make a significant difference in preserving and restoring your hair.

For hair restoration information and patient results, follow us @quatelacenter_hairrestoration.

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