When it comes to hair
loss, everyone is looking for a culprit. Is it because you’re too stressed? Not
eating enough? Or just getting old? The truth is that both male and female hair
loss is often caused by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (otherwise known
as DHT). DHT is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone that is also
found in trace amounts in women.
DHT is created as a
byproduct of testosterone through the 5a-reductase enzyme. This enzyme is
responsible for converting a certain amount of testosterone into DHT in tissue
like the skin, liver, and unfortunately, hair follicles. Almost 10% of the
testosterone produced by an adult each day is converted to DHT.
For people prone to
genetic hair loss, DHT will bind to receptors in their hair follicles and cause
them to shrink and eventually die. This process is known as “miniaturization”
and over time, can lead to complete baldness. The amount of DHT produced
depends on the amount of testosterone present in a person’s body. People with
greater amounts of testosterone in their blood will have more converted to DHT,
and this can affect hair loss. This is why women generally experience less
balding than men – since they have less testosterone.
Don’t start fretting
about that way you will look bald yet though – there are ways to slow and
prevent hair loss! Since we’ve established that DHT is, in fact, the main
culprit, the best way to target hair loss is to block DHT. At the follicular
level, this can be done by using a DHT blocking shampoo or spray. You could
also go down to the root of the problem and use drugs like finasteride that prevent
testosterone from being converted to DHT. Finasteride can be taken orally or as
injections but must be medically supervised.