If you’re looking to prevent and reverse hair loss, you need to know about DHT.
If you have been dealing with thinning hair or hair loss, one of the prime suspects that may be the cause is DHT, or dihydrotestosterone. DHT-related hair issues affect half of men and a quarter of women over the age of 50, meaning it is very possible that your hair loss is affected by your body’s levels of DHT.
For the majority of your younger life, DHT is not a concern, but as you get older it can negatively affect your hair, causing it to grow shorter and get thinner. In this post, we walk you through how DHT can affect your hair as you get older and what you can do to prevent DHT-related hair loss.
How DHT Can Affect Your Hair
Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone found in men and women. However, DHT is more abundant in males. As an androgen, or male sex hormone, DHT is responsible for the distinctly masculine physical characteristics that are present in men after puberty, including a deeper voice, the ability to grow facial hair, and more body hair in specific areas. Women’s bodies have much lower levels of DHT than men's bodies, but your DHT levels can affect you regardless of your gender.
During the later half of life, DHT can have an adverse effect on your hair, causing it to thin out and grow to much shorter lengths. The hormone is the primary culprit in male and female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia. In most cases, if you are experiencing hair thinning in certain parts of your head later in adulthood, the cause is androgenic alopecia.
Male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss differ from each other in most cases, causing your hair to thin in specific areas depending on your gender. For men, the most commonly affected areas are the hairline, which recedes due to androgenic alopecia, or the crown of your head, which can thin out and eventually go fully bald. For women, androgenic alopecia often results in an overall thinner head of hair, with thinning especially visible in the spot where your hair parts on the side of your head.
Androgenic alopecia is more common for men than for women, and many hair loss products are marketed specifically towards men. However, the same genetic factors are often the cause of hair loss in men and women, and the same treatments can be major difference-makers for you whether you are male or female.
One of the best ways to combat hair loss is by using a shampoo with DHT-blocking ingredients. Fortunately, there are several naturally-derived ingredients that can have a positive impact on your hair’s overall health and keep it growing and looking full and healthy.
Below is a list of several natural ingredients with DHT-blocking properties to keep an eye out for:
- Stinging nettle. Stinging nettle contains biotin (vitamin H), an antioxidant that can help support your hair against weakening as you get older.
Molecules in your body known as free radicals can uptick in production as you age, which can cause oxidative stress if your body is not supplied with enough antioxidants. When your body is undergoing oxidative stress due to excess free radical activity, it can have a negative effect on your hair, causing a reduction in the production of important proteins that keep your hair strong. In addition to naturally blocking DHT production, stinging nettle’s antioxidant content makes it ideal for keeping your hair healthy.
- Licorice root extract. This herb can act as a phytoestrogen, a substance that mimics the effects of estrogen in your body. When your DHT levels are too high and are causing your hair to thin out, licorice root extract can help to balance out the excess DHT. When you drink licorice root extract as a tea, it can have numerous additional benefits for your body. However, the best way to use the ingredient to improve your hair health is in a shampoo.
- Saw palmetto. This plant’s berries can block one of the key enzymes that converts testosterone into DHT in your body. When you are looking to reduce hair loss by blocking the effects of DHT on your hair, saw palmetto is an ideal ingredient to look for.
Argan Oil: A Powerful Hydrating Ingredient
In addition to a high-quality DHT-blocking formula, your shampoo should contain other ingredients that are beneficial for your hair’s overall health. One powerhouse ingredient to look for in your shampoo is argan oil.
Derived from the fruit of the argan tree, argan oil contains antioxidants and fatty acids that are beneficial for your hair and scalp. Keeping your hair moisturized when you are combating hair loss is a must, especially if you are using minoxidil as part of your anti-hair loss regimen. Minoxidil has the potential to dry out and irritate your scalp when you do not provide your hair with proper hydration, but argan oil can be a huge help.
Because argan oil is rich in antioxidants, it can also be used to strengthen your hair and boost its production of essential proteins like keratin, which keep your hair strong and prevent breakage. Supplying your hair with antioxidants is one of the best ways to combat the impact of oxidative stress as you get older, which can contribute to hair loss in some cases.
How to Use DHT-Blocking Shampoo
We recommend using your DHT-blocking shampoo daily for best results. After a 60-day period, you should start seeing results, but this waiting period is slightly shorter for some and slightly longer for others. Patience is essential when switching up your hair care regimen. Results take time, but they are worth the wait.
When using DHT-blocking shampoo, the process of washing your hair is a bit different. The powerful ingredients in the shampoo need time to absorb into your hair and scalp, so it is important to let the lather sit for several minutes before you rinse out.
In addition, our DHT-blocking shampoo is also a conditioner. Conditioner works best when it has time to permeate your hair before being rinsed out, so again, let the lather sit in your hair for at least three minutes.
Using DHT-blocking shampoo and conditioner is one of the best ways to deal with pattern hair loss, especially when combined with minoxidil. If you have been discouraged and frustrated by seeing your hair thinning out, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
A strong hair care regimen with a high-quality DHT-blocking shampoo can make a major difference in the health and fullness of your hair. It all starts with understanding what is causing your hair loss and then attacking the cause at the root to achieve a fuller, healthier head of hair in the long run.
If you are dealing with hair loss, a DHT-blocking shampoo can play a key role in getting back to a full head of hair that you can feel great about.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.