What is DHT And Do DHT Blockers Work?
Not many people know about DHT and its effects until they experience hair loss and want to learn more about how to stop it. When you hit Google and search about how to stop hair loss, DHT and DHT blockers are everywhere. While DHT is widely revered and thought to be a lifesaver, you don’t want to just jump on the bandwagon if you don’t actually know what it is and what it does.
You may be wondering, “What is DHT?” “Do DHT blockers work?” “Can they actually help me from balding?” We’re here to give you some answers.
What is DHT?
Dihydrotestosterone—better known as DHT—is a male sex hormone that affects hair and male pattern baldness. This androgen hormone doesn’t affect every man; however, it affects those genetically susceptible to balding.
See the stages of balding to find out which one you are at!
This sex hormone is responsible for hair production and other biological traits, including voice depth, muscle mass, and penis development.
While testosterone is a more widely known hormone, DHT is more powerful and works similarly. The main difference is that DHT binds longer, even though it attaches to the same sites as testosterone.
While DHT is credited with contributing to many commonly attractive qualities, it is also the reason men experience hair loss. As they say, too much of a good thing isn’t such a good thing. That’s the case with DHT, too—when more is produced and interacts with testosterone at the hair follicles, the follicles shrink and fall out. This, right here, is the primary fault for male pattern baldness.
What Are DHT Blockers? Do They Work?
Medications and supplements that are DHT blockers are taken to block DHT production and stop balding. DHT blockers stop further hair loss and halt receding hairlines.
According to the Academy of Dermatology, DHT blockers are the most effective hair loss measure.
Ultimately, DHT blockers stop nutrients from entering hair follicles; this ultimately stops the shrinkage of follicles.
DHT sensitivity And Total Baldness: How Much Time Does It Take?
Fear not: losing your hair doesn’t happen overnight. If you notice thinning, receding, or loss, you’re not going to wake up the following day with no hair. To understand how the process of stopping baldness works, you have to look at the four stages of your hair’s life:
- Anagen Phase: The process of your hair growth, which usually takes about two to six years
- Catagen Phase: Your hair slowing down its growth process, readying itself for its peak
- Telogen Phase: The plateauing of your hair’s growth that lasts a few weeks
- Exogen Phase: The process of your hair shedding 100-150 hairs a day
Does this mean that during the exogen phase, your hair never grows back? Not at all! It’s the process of your new hair pushing the old one out. It’s the circle of life.
As you grow older, your hair follicles get smaller, making it harder for the new hair to grow. This is when you may experience thinning or baldness altogether. Your hair will try to go through its lifecycle, starting at Anagen and ending at Exogen until you essentially have nothing left. But if hair loss is something you’re worried about, most people keep the majority of their natural hair their whole lives! It depends mostly on genetics and health, but of course, lifestyle choices can affect your hair, skin, and nail health.
Also, if you begin showing signs of baldness or hairline recession, it will take years before you reach a state of total baldness, if you experience complete baldness at all. If you wish, this allows you plenty of time to take care of the problem at hand and start your DHT blockers. The earlier you start, the more hair you keep.
What Kinds of DHT Blockers Are There?
Currently, on the market, there are two types of DHT blockers: Finasteride and Minoxidil. Both works effectively, just in different mediums. Studies show that finasteride has proven to be the best product on the market to stop baldness.
What is Finasteride?
In the form of a tablet you take daily, finasteride works by stopping testosterone from converting into DHT.
Studies show that finasteride not only block DHT production but also increases the number of hairs on your scalp. Not only that, but it can also improve the condition of your current hair.
What is Minoxidil—Better Known as Regaine?
You’ve probably heard the word “Regaine” get thrown around if you’ve ever seen a hair loss infomercial on TV. Essentially, it’s a minoxidil-based lotion that you rub onto your scalp daily. The good news is that you don’t need a prescription for this topical medication.
Available as a lotion or foam, Regaine also comes in two strengths. Minoxidil-based hair products usually contain either 2% or 5% minoxidil, so make sure you do some research or talk to a physician about what is right for you.
Just like finasteride, Regaine is also a long-term treatment option that you must use daily. Similarly, as well, it will take months for you to see any changes in your hair growth. The same as the tablets, if you stop using the lotion, your balding will begin again. In addition, any new growth you have experienced may fall out due to a lack of strength and nourishment.
Shampoos and Conditioners
There are two kinds of DHT-blocking hair care: over-the-counter and prescribed. Used the same way as regular shampoo and conditioner, these DHT-blocking hair care products help fight male pattern baldness. An active chemical known as ketoconazole disrupts local DHT production in hair follicles, effectively reducing the amount of hair loss. It’s available by prescription, so if you think it might be the right fit for you, consult with your doctor. There are also over-the-counter shampoo options available; however, they contain only 1% Pyrithione zinc. They have been tested and deemed effective at blocking DHT and inciting hair growth.
The shampoos and conditions are great alternatives for those who prefer not to take tablets by mouth. They are easy to use and show quality results. The only downside is that those with sensitive scalps may show signs of irritation and discomfort. If you show any signs of an adverse reaction, speak to your doctor, especially if you experience an itchy or burning sensation.
Are There Natural DHT Remedies?
In addition to medicinal DHT blocker aids, there are also natural remedies that have DHT-blocking effects, including:
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Green tea
- Saw palmetto
Studies as to whether these remedies are as effective as finasteride or Regaine remain inconclusive and with a mixed track record. To this day, the best DHT blocker on the market remains finasteride.
Do Biotin Supplements Work?
Biotin is well known and widely used for nail, skin, and hair health. Commonly referred to as vitamin B7, it has proven time and time again how effective it can be for your health. Studies show that those who take biotin supplements can counteract hair thinning and even increase hair growth. There are few studies regarding how it affects hairline receding, but it’s a step in the right direction. This vitamin is taken over the counter and can improve the overall health of your skin, nails, and hair—oh my!