What Is DHT?
DHT – which is more formally known as dihydrotestosterone – is a hormone crucial to male sexual development, body hair growth, sweat gland function, prostate health, and regulation of the libido. Unfortunately, having high DHT levels can contribute to certain types of hair loss, including male or female-pattern baldness.
What Does DHT Do to Your Hair?
DHT’s role in baldness is that it binds to androgen receptors in the hair follicle. This causes follicles to shrink until they stop producing hair. DHT-related follicle miniaturization often has a genetic component that results in male and female-pattern baldness.
What Are The Signs Of High DHT?
If you are experiencing hair loss at your crown or temple, or if you are developing a receding hairline, you may have high levels of DHT – which can lead to DHT baldness. Other symptoms of high DHT are increased body and facial hair, adult acne, increased sweating, aggression, sleep apnea, high red blood cell count, or high blood pressure.
How Do You Reduce DHT?
It may be possible to reduce DHT baldness through medications, dietary changes, and DHT-blocking shampoos.
Originally developed to treat an enlarged prostate, oral prescription medication Finasteride inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, in turn helping to prevent DHT from shrinking hair follicles. Finasteride (brand names Proscar and Propecia) should not be taken casually or without medical supervision – as it can have serious side effects including decreased sex drive, gynecomastia (male breast development), and depression. It should not be taken by women who are or may become pregnant, as it may cause harm to male fetuses in utero.
The foods we consume play a role in maintaining healthy DHT levels. A balanced diet that includes foods like spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, dark chocolate, walnuts, and almonds can help regulate the production of DHT. Reducing the consumption of red meat, dairy, eggs, and wheat may also be beneficial.
What Is A DHT Blocking Shampoo?
There are numerous DHT-blocking shampoos on the market. The most promising of these contain ketoconazole – an antifungal medication that appears to disrupt DHT pathways and act as a DHT blocker – preventing it from attaching to follicles. Pumpkin seed oil is a natural alternative that may block enzymes from producing DHT from testosterone, and it is used in both hair-growth supplements and external hair products.
Shampoos marketed as DHT blockers may also contain ingredients that stimulate the scalp and slow hair loss. Some of these are biotin, which promotes overall hair growth; rosemary oil, which improves blood flow in the scalp; saw palmetto, which unclogs follicles and encourages regrowth; and finasteride and minoxidil, which slow hair loss progression when applied topically.
Austin Hair Restoration Clinic Can Help
If you’re experiencing male- or female-pattern baldness, Austin Hair Clinic is here to help. We offer a variety of non-surgical treatments as well as the minimally invasive ARTAS Hair Transplant System – a procedure that produces exceptional results and will get you back to your day-to-day life in just a few days. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Dr. Sanjeev Dubey is an experienced hair restoration and emergency medicine physician in Austin, Texas. He holds a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and has been practicing medicine for over two decades. His affiliations include Seton Medical Center Austin, Seton Northwest, and various local hospitals.