Have you ever wondered why some people have naturally abundant bountiful locks and others are much less fortunate? Why do some men start losing their hair before they finish high school and why do others gracefully ease into their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s sporting the iconic Elvis Presley waves?
There is an explanation, and unfortunately, it isn’t something you can control; DHT is the culprit. Too much of this hormone can have a profound effect on the vitality of your hair. Luckily there are medications, natural supplements, and surgical procedures to help you in your fight against premature hair loss. Read on to learn how this hormone affects your hair and what you can do about it.
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What is Dihydrotestosterone?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a sex steroid and an androgen hormone. Although present in both males and females, androgen hormones contribute to the development of typical “male” characteristics. Such characteristics include; a deepening of the voice, increased body hair, increased muscle mass, as well as changes in how fat is stored around your body. The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) converts about 10% of testosterone into DHT. It attaches to the same sites as testosterone but it’s more powerful in that it remains bound much longer.
What are the Dangers of Too Much DHT?
Moderation is key is a good motto to have in life, especially when it comes to DHT. The potential for too much DHT to cause harm goes beyond your hairline. In men, abnormally high levels of DHT have been linked to male pattern baldness, slow healing of the skin after an injury, enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, and coronary heart disease. In women, high levels of DHT have been linked to increased growth of facial hair, increased growth of pubic hair, cessation of menstrual periods and increased acne outbreaks.
What is the Connection Between DHT and Balding?
Sex hormones are the most significant underlying factor behind male pattern hair loss. DHT is believed to cause hair follicles to miniaturize and the process of new hair growth is slowed and eventually halted. This leads to hair thinning and balding. As hair follicles become smaller, the shaft of the hair becomes thinner with each cycle of hair growth. Eventually, the growth phase becomes so short that new hair growth doesn’t even peek through the surface of the skin. Hairs also fall out much easier from being less anchored to the scalp. This will cause hair loss in the typical pattern of Androgenetic Alopecia.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Stop DHT From Thinning My Hair?
Luckily there’s a lot you can do to manipulate the production of DHT and the effect it has on your hair. Firstly, you can reduce the production of DHT by using blockers. These work by reducing 5-alpha-reductase, which will prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT. They can also interact with DHT receptors to block the DHT from binding. Finasteride is one of the most popular DHT blockers approved by the FDA, although it may come with the undesired side effect of sexual dysfunction. Natural alternatives include the following;
- Saw palmetto
- Stinging nettle
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Green tea
- Tea tree oil
Another option to help you avoid thinning hair and balding is to look into getting hair transplants. Hair transplants are becoming increasingly popular due to the ease and effectiveness of the procedure. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, nearly 90,000 hair transplant operations were performed in 2012 and more than 310,000 hair restoration procedures took place worldwide. Comparatively, in 2016 more than 635,000 hair transplant surgeries were performed, so the popularity continues to grow at astonishing rates.
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