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What are DHT Blockers and How Do They Prevent Hair Loss?

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Written by

Science&Humans

Medically approved by

Medically approved by

Maria Jacob

Last updated

Friday, February 23, 2024

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Hair loss, a common issue affecting millions, often stems from a hormone named DHT. This detailed guide sheds light on DHT blockers, exploring their crucial role in preventing DHT and hair loss and offering solutions for those seeking relief.

In a world where personal appearance often influences self-esteem and social perceptions, hair loss can be a distressing experience for many. It's not just a cosmetic issue; it often carries psychological effects. This blog explores DHT blockers for women and men, a popular solution to combat hair loss, unravelling the science behind their effectiveness, discussing their role in hair health management, and highlighting the best DHT blocker options.

What is DHT?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen, a male sex hormone, though it is present in both men and women. It's produced through the conversion of testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. While DHT is essential for the development of male characteristics during puberty, it's also linked to hair loss, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to conditions like androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness), making the need for DHT blockers for men and women evident.

Phases of Hair Growth

To grasp the significance of DHT blockers, it's essential to know the various phases of the hair growth cycle.

Anagen Phase

The anagen is the first phase of hair follicles in active growth. In this phase, cells of hair divide quickly and an average increase in length for hair is about half an inch in a month. This stage may extend to about two to seven years, depending on genetics and other factors.

Catagen Phase

The catagen phase is a short and transitional phase that takes approximately two weeks. During this stage, the hair follicles shrink and the hair stops growing. It signifies the culmination of an active growth phase.

Telogen Phase

The telogen phase is a resting phase lasting between two and four months. The old hair stays in the follicle and new hair starts developing under it.

Exogen Phase

 Exogen is the final phase characterized by the shedding of the previous hair in readiness for new hair. Shedding then is part of the normal growth cycle and involves falling off about 50-100 hairs per day.

Role of DHT

DHT binds to androgen receptors in hair follicles which is why it is related to the causes of hair loss. This binding process can over time, shrink the hair follicles that in turn produce shorter and thinner hair. Eventually, hair follicles may stop producing hair altogether, leading to baldness.

DHT's Connection to Balding

While it can happen in both men and women, its association with elevated DHT levels is most often related to male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Here, hair loss usually starts at the temples and the top leading to the development of an “M” form in the hairline for men. In women, DHT and hair loss normally manifests itself as diffuse shedding over the entire scalp.

DHT vs. Testosterone

It's important to note that DHT is a derived hormone from testosterone, leading many to wonder whether cutting overall testosterone in the body can help stop hair loss. 

The other issue is with converting testosterone to decrease DHT is that its conversion serves essential functions in the body like the maintenance of bone density and muscles. Therefore, it tends to focus on the suppression of DHT around the head to stop hair loss.

Ways to Reduce DHT

Several methods and DHT blocker supplements can help reduce DHT levels in the scalp, preventing hair loss and promoting hair regrowth. Here are some popular options:

Finasteride

Finasteride, also known as Propecia, is a drug approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness. This happens because it stops an enzyme called 5–alpha–reductase responsible for changing testosterone to DHT, making it an effective finasteride DHT blocker. Scientific research has revealed that finasteride can reduce hair thinning and stimulate new growth of hair in men. However, it is not advisable for women especially during pregnancy as it causes birth defects.

Minoxidil

A topical solution of minoxidil is also obtainable as both an over–the–counter and prescription medication used directly on the scalp. In particular, the exact mechanism is not entirely clear but it has been suggested that minoxidil helps in blood flow to hair follicles and can therefore lead to new growth of hair.

Natural DHT Blockers

Products like pumpkin seed oil and pygeum bark are considered natural DHT blockers. The best DHT blocker shampoo often contains these ingredients, along with caffeine.

Biotin

One B vitamin you will often find in hair growth supplements is biotin. Although it may not necessarily inhibit DHT, the overall purpose of this dietary supplement is to enhance the vitality and vigour of hair as well as increase its width. Supplemental DHT blocker with biotin occurs in the form of tablets and can be used to support other DHT-blocking drugs.

Pygeum Bark

Derived from the African cherry tree, Pygeum bark extract helps to decrease DHT levels. It is proposed to be helpful because it can stop hair loss. However, further investigations are necessary to establish its efficacy.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Phytosterols in pumpkin seed oil inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Topical use of oils may improve hair growth, and pumpkin seed oil seems to be particularly beneficial, which is why it is often regarded as a natural cure for alopecia.

Vitamin B-12 and B-6

The health of the hair is impossible without Vitamins B-12 and B-6. They produce red blood cells through which oxygen and nourishment are brought to the hair follicles. Consuming these vitamins in sufficient amounts either through food or supplements is also beneficial for healthy hair growth.

Caffeine

Another potential ingredient in the battle against hair loss is caffeine. It is believed to stimulate the hair follicles and result in greater mane growth. At the moment, one can find shampoos and topical treatments with caffeine as DHT blockers.

Side Effects of DHT Blockers

While DHT blockers can be effective in preventing hair loss, it's important to be aware of potential side effects, including DHT blocker side effects.

Finasteride

Some of them may have some sex-related complications like low libido, impotence and the like. However, these side effects are usually rare but might be more persistent on some occasions.

Minoxidil

It comes with a head itchiness and mild dryness. Infrequently, minoxidil may produce hair sprouting in other parts of the body.

Biotin

Supplement biotin is usually safe but it may lead to moderate intestinal symptoms.

Pygeum Bark

The possible side effects could be indigestion or a headache.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

However, it would be rare to encounter allergies or digestive problems with pumpkin seed oil because it is generally regarded as safe for many individuals.

Vitamin B-12 and B-6

These vitamins normally are safe when taken appropriately and produce little or no adverse reactions.

Caffeine

Scalp irritations are caused by some caffeine-containing products.

It is therefore advisable to seek the advice of your health service or doctor before beginning DHT-blocking therapy especially when you have co-existing conditions and/or you are on other meds.

It is therefore advisable to seek the advice of your health service or doctor before beginning DHT-blocking therapy especially when you have co-existing conditions and/or you are on other meds.

To sum up, there exists a lot of hope for the effectiveness of DHT blockers in arresting hair loss and promoting regrowth. The inhibition of hair growth-inhibiting substance is dihydrotestosterone, which results in the shrinking of hair follicles. Some of these include drugs like finasteride, a DHT blocker, and natural remedies, bear in mind their cost-benefit analysis and consult a doctor for a tailored approach.

FAQs

Q. How do DHT blockers work?

A. Various mechanisms are involved regarding DHT blockers. Some include the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase isoenzymes which convert testosterone to DH. Still, others enhance blood flow to the follicles of hair, promote the growth of hair and generally boost the health status of the hair. They aim to minimize the impact of DHT on hair follicles.

Q. Do DHT Blockers Prevent Hair Loss?

A. For some people, especially those with androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness), the use of DHT blockers can work in preventing hair loss as well as encouraging hair regrowth.

Q.  Can women with hair loss take the DHT blocker supplements?

A. Yes, certain types of DHT blockers including Minoxidil might work well for women with hair problems. Nonetheless, most physicians would not recommend finasteride for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Q. For how long do DHT blockers result in better performance?

A. However, the time it takes for you to see the DHT blocker’s results is not constant. For such people, hair growth could improve in as few as three months or longer periods. Using a consistent pattern of implementation, it’s all about patience.

Q. Will my results increase if I use more than one DHT blocker simultaneously?

A. Some people prefer combining various DHT blockers like minoxidil and natural supplements. Nevertheless, one should consult their doctor first before mixing various medications to be sure that they are indeed safe and helpful.

Q. Can natural remedies help with age-related hair changes?

A. For instance, some natural products would be useful to the health of hair like oils for hydration and herbal supplements. On the other hand, they are complementary and not cure-oriented compared to ageing-induced hair changes.

 References

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