Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a steroid hormone very often associated with a cause of hair loss. High levels of DHT are thought to damage hair follicles, contributing to male pattern hair loss. Although it’s believed that DHT is a male hormone, it is also present in women.
Genetic factors and DHT are the leading causes of androgenic alopecia, the most common form of hair loss. Expert opinions about the effects of DHT in diagnosing this type of alopecia are divided.
What is DHT?
DHT is an androgen. Androgens are male sex hormones synthesized from cholesterol. DHT is derived from testosterone, another hormone that’s present in both men and women. These two androgens contribute to male sex characteristics, including deep voice and increase body hair & muscle mass.
Testosterone is transformed into DHT with the help of the 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) enzyme. Men usually have more testosterone in their bodies, and about 10% of testosterone in adults is converted to DHT.
Testosterone and DHT mediate their actions via the androgen receptor (AR). The AR allows hormonal processes like hair growth.
The process of hair loss is associated primarily with the excessive activity of 5-AR that makes possible more conversion of DHT.
How DHT causes hair loss?
DHT links to hair follicles, contributing to their miniaturization and shortening their lifespan and production rate. Research shows that high levels of DHT can disturb and weaken hair follicles and affect the hair growth cycle. This results in growing less and thinner hair, more prone to fall. Hair loss may also be a cause of DHT binding to androgen receptors.
If DHT causes your hair loss condition, look for treatments that target DHT production and receptor binding.
Finasteride (Propecia): is an oral, prescription-only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating hair loss. Finasteride binds to 5-AR proteins to block DHT conversion. Research proved that oral finasteride encourages hair growth in men suffering from male pattern hair loss.
Capixyl: can reduce hair loss by reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Biochanin A, used in the formulation of Capixyl, is an effective inhibitor of 5-α-reductase activity. Studies show that Capixyl can increase the hair count by +13%.