DHT, or as it’s officially known, Dihydrotestosterone, is well-known to any man that has dug a little deeper in to the causes of his hair loss. Those three simple letters can cause grown men to quake in fear at the thought of what it can do to their hair! But what is it exactly? And is it really as bad as it’s thought to be?
Hair loss is, sadly, a natural part of the aging process. As inevitable as wrinkles and grey hair, most men over the age of 50 will experience some thinning or balding. It can happen earlier or later of course, but will most likely start at the temples, the hair line and on the crown – in other words, classic male pattern baldness. What causes it to be more prevalent in some men than others has to do with the individual’s genetic sensitivity to DHT.
DHT is not, contrary to some opinion, a bad substance. In fact, DHT is responsible for, amongst other things, the growth of facial hair during puberty. Remember how desperate you were to cultivate that mustache during your teens? Well, back then, DHT would have been your best friend! Hair loss occurs when DHT, produced as a derivative of the male hormone Testosterone, binds itself to the follicle’s receptor cells, suppressing the growth and in some cases, stopping it altogether. Described in more medical terms as ‘miniaturisation’, the once-healthy follicle shrinks, becoming thin and malnourished.
Fortunately for men particularly sensitive to the effects of DHT, there are several options available to them now to slow down or even stop the damage. Usually known as DHT ‘blockers’, a number of products on the market have the ability to inhibit the action of 5 Alpha Reductase, the enzyme that converts Testosterone to DHT. The prescription treatment Finasteride (also known by its generic name, Propecia) is a very effective blocker as is the over-the-counter formula Minoxidil which is often included in hair loss shampoos and conditioners. These treatments can, overtime, reduce DHT levels by as much as 60%, allowing the hair follicle to receive the nourishment it needs to continue growing healthy and strong.
You may also want to try a combination of natural herbal supplements to reduce the damaging effects of DHT. Saw Palmetto, Pumpkin Seed and even Green Tea have shown promise in inhibiting 5 Alpha Reductase, particularly when used with Ketoconazole, an anti-fungal used to remove DHT build up on the follicle. And don’t forget, in order to receive nourishment, you need to make sure you’re giving your body as much healthy, nutritious food as possible.
DHT may be the major foe of follicles, but you do have plenty of ways to fight back!