The link between DHT and hair loss

General Hair Loss

The way men experience hair loss is different from person to person.

It could be through androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness. This form of hair loss is the most common, affecting about seventy percent of all males. There is also the condition termed as alopecia areata or the manifestation of circular bald patches all over the scalp. A progression of this is termed as alopecia areata totalis or the balding of the entire head. There is also another form called alopecia universalis or hair loss in the entire body. Traction alopecia is when one’s particular hairstyle can lead to hair loss.


There are other ways to lose hair as well. These methods are mostly self-inflicted. The main culprit out of all is stress. One’s anxiety and restlessness can create an environment that encourages hair loss. It could lead to the following causes of balding. A poor diet can result if somebody is stressed. They might not be aware that they are feeding themselves empty calories and artificial foods. This could result in an unhealthy lifestyle that could be compounded with excessive alcohol intake and smoking. Sleep is important for the body to heal and regenerate itself. A person with erratic sleep cycles might have a deficient vitamin D level from not getting enough sun. These are the usual contributing factors to hair loss.

What is the scientific explanation for balding?

The causes that were presented above linked with a discussion of how these generally occur would be helpful. The androgens or hormones in the body are responsible for the development of male reproductive systems and other physical traits. The most common hormone is testosterone. As the body approaches puberty, it expresses the enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme binds with testosterone to produce the more potent dihyrotestosterone (DHT). This new androgen is responsible for the development of the male genitalia. It is also responsible in binding with the androgen receptors in the hair follicles and the prostrate. When the DHT binds with the hair follicles, it blocks the nutrient pathways of the part that is most responsible for hair growth. This part is called as the dermal papilla or papilla of the hair. The dermal papilla is the one that cause the formation of new hair cells. It is also the part that is the most connected to the skin’s blood capillaries. The papilla of the hair in turn has a considerable amount of androgen receptors that allow the dihydrotestosterone androgen to bind with it.

Hair has growth stages. These are: the anagen stage or period of hair growth, the catagen stage or period of transition and the telogen stage or the time when hair rests. It is in the telogen stage where one tends to lose hair strands. When DHT binds with the androgen receptors of the papilla of the hair, not only does it restrict the flow of nutrients to it, it also prolongs the resting period of the hair follicle. This causes the hair follicle to shrink and results in shorter anagen or growing periods. These continue until the hair enters into the vellus stage where hair exhibits a peach-fuzz like texture. The hair is very short, thin, wispy and barely recognisable.

One way to counteract this is through the use of the drug Finasteride. It is one of the two Food and Drug Administration approved substances to counteract balding. Finasteride is orally taken and with continuous use is found to inhibit the spread of male pattern baldness. The other drug is called Minoxidil. Which is topically applied and less potent.


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