What is DHT Hair Loss?
DHT hair loss is a distressing condition experienced by large numbers of men.
Although often mistakenly assumed to be an exclusively male problem, it can also affect significant numbers of women.
DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is an androgen. That is a class of substances in the body that is linked to the production and maintenance of typical sex-based characteristics. In the case of men, those are things such as body hair, deep voices, muscle mass and so on.
DHT is made by the body from testosterone – the rather better-known ‘male’ sex hormone linked to many factors, including libido. Women also have testosterone in their bodies, which again plays an important role in female libido. However, males tend to have far higher concentrations of testosterone in their bodies and that means they will also typically have higher levels of DHT.
It is now known that DHT can bind to receptors in hair follicles and both inhibit hair growth and cause hair loss. In males, this tends to lead to the classic male pattern baldness hair loss, with receding hair lines around the temples running backwards. In females, the effect of DHT is the same except that the hair thinning is typically more evenly distributed though it may in some cases also be more pronounced along the parting of the hair.
In both sexes, the technical term for this condition is “allogenic alopecia” or “androgenetic alopecia”.
Many things remain unknown about DHT and its effect on a given individual’s hair.
It is not clear why some men and women seem to have unaffected hair even though their DHT levels are relatively high compared to averages, while at the same time, other men and women may suffer hair loss even though their DHT levels are below average.
The best explanation is the rather vague “genetics”. Yet the evolutionary purpose that would give rise to hair being lost through DHT remains unknown and the exact genetic mechanics are complex and not fully understood.
Options for prevention
As the exact genetics behind the effects of DHT are not entirely clear, there is no obvious test for a pre-disposition towards androgenic alopecia.
What is clear is that there is a tendency for the condition to run in families. If you have a parent or sibling that has suffered from androgenic alopecia then you have a higher chance of developing the condition than if your family has no such history.
Typically, the first indication of this condition is usually the tell-tale signs of thinning hair and unusual hair loss. These earliest warnings are often dismissed as ‘normal’, which is a pity because there are treatments available.
However, there is no obvious method at present to prevent this condition from starting to develop.
A critical step is the earliest possible diagnosis.
It’s a very smart idea to not ignore unusual hair drop but instead to get to a hair care specialist as soon as possible. They will have the expertise and tools available to perform an initial diagnosis though they may also recommend that you visit a doctor for specific tests.
There are some treatments available that are proven to be successful, even if only partly, in reducing hair loss and hair drop due to DHT or even hair re-growth:
- Finasteride (probably prescription only);
- pumpkin seed oil;
- light therapy (sometimes called ‘laser therapy’ or ‘laser light therapy).
Not all treatments are equally effective for all people. That’s why a diagnostic session with a hair care expert or your doctor would be highly advisable.