DHT And Hair Loss By Bernard Arocha, MD on July 25, 2022


Defining DHT

DHT and hair loss go hand in hand. DHT is a hormone produced in the testes, liver, and skin. It is found both in men and women. However, hair loss related to DHT is commonly found in men more than in women. Male pattern balding is frequently referred to as Androgenetic Alopecia. Pattern baldness is among the most common causes of hair loss for men as they grow older. Women also face DHT hair loss, but not as common as men. Approximately 50 million men in the United States experience pattern baldness compared to 30 million women.

What Does DHT Do?

DHT is found in testosterone, a hormone in both men and women. They are hormones or androgens that contribute to male traits during puberty. The attributes include:

  • Increased muscle mass and body hair
  • A deep voice
  • Due to the beginning of the process of sperm production, there will be the growth of the scrotum, testicles, and penis.
  • Change in the storage of fat in your body

Men have higher levels of testosterone in their bodies. Approximately 10% of testosterone in adults is changed to DHT while being assisted with 5-alpha reductase.


When the DHT flows freely in your bloodstream, it may link to receptors on your scalp's hair follicles. This will make the hair follicles shrink and be difficult for them to support healthy hair. DHT does not only have the potential to harm your hair, but at high levels, it has other effects such as:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Slow healing of the skin
  • Coronary heart disease
  • The Link Of DHT To Balding

Hair in the body comes out of follicles. Follicles are structures underneath your skin, and they are tiny capsules that have single strands of hair. The hair follicle has a growth cycle that can last about six years. When every growth cycle ends, the hair will fall out and produce new hair from the follicles, and the process begins again.


High levels of DHT hormones can shorten the growth cycle and shrink the hair follicles. This will make the hair fall out faster, be more brittle, and look thinner. DHT will also cause the growth cycle to take longer to start after their hair falls out.

Some individuals are susceptible to the DHT effects on the hair on their scalp due to androgen receptor gene variation. This receptor is the one that allows the binding of DHT and testosterone and resulting in body hair growth. However, the variations in the Androgen receptor gene may cause the increase of its receptivity in the follicles in your scalp and thereby increase the chances of you likely facing male pattern hair loss.

Testosterone To DHT

In a male body, the most abundant and active hormone is testosterone. The androgen is responsible for several physiological and sexual processes, such as:

  • Assisting in distributing fat all over the body
  • Regulating sperm production
  • Regulating one's emotions and moods
  • Controlling the levels of androgen hormone all over the body
  • Preserving muscle mass and bone density

Whereas DHT is basically an offshoot of testosterone. It also plays similar roles to testosterone in physiological processes and sexual functions. The part of DHT is much more vital than that of testosterone. Thus, when DHT binds to an AR receptor longer and increases the impact of the production of testosterone in the body.

Ways To Reduce DHT

Male pattern hair loss may negatively affect a man's self-esteem. You can relieve the patterns of hair loss by using some hair loss treatments that have been developed already. You can get several medications for hair loss related to DHT that work by receptor binding and targeting DHT production. The two main types are:


DHT Blockers

They stop 5-AR receptors from being bound by DHT, including the hair follicles, which allow DHT to shrink hair follicles.


They reduce the production of DHT in your body. They include:

  1. Finasteride (Propecia)

It is also known as Propecia or Proscar. This is an oral medicine that is the prescription-only kind, and it can also be taken through injections. The American Food and Drug Administration approved its efficacy and safety in 1997. The medication binds to 5-AR proteins in order to prevent DHT from binding with the proteins. Thus, the DHT will not be able to bind to receptors on the scalp follicles, and they will not shrink. When you stop the finasteride treatment, the pattern hair loss will continue.

  1. Minoxidil

It is also called a peripheral vasodilator. Minoxidil assists in loosening and widening blood vessels for the blood to move quickly. It also assists in promoting hair growth when applied to your scalp.

  1. Biotin

It assists in maintaining and boosting the levels of keratin. Keratin is a variety of proteins found in nails, skin, and hair. Biotin assists in regrowing hair and maintaining the existing hair not to fall out.

The Potential Side Effects Of Blockers

Like any medication, DHT blockers can have side effects. Please consult with your doctor prior to beginning any new medication.

  • Rash
  • Feeling sick
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Taking too long to ejaculate or ejaculating too early
  • Vomiting
  • Congestive heart failure from water retention or salt, more so with minoxidil
  • Tenderness and excess fat development around your breast
  • Thickening and darkening of upper body and facial hair

The Best Snacks For DHT Blocking

Certain foods contain DHT-blocking properties. While these might not be as effective as some of the medications listed above, there are certain studies that have shown the following foods to have some benefit to hair loss.

1. Almonds

They are rich in L-lysine, which assists in stopping DHT from forming, and it is also a rich source of protein.

2. Cashew Nuts

Cashew nuts are rich in protein and zinc. Zinc will assist in maintaining healthy tissue repair and tissue growth. Also, zinc will help in stopping testosterone from changing to DHT.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

They have high levels of phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol.

4. Pecans

They are a great source of gamma-tocopherol, an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese, selenium, and iron. These nutrients are very useful in maintaining healthy hair follicles.

5. Lavender oil

It has been discovered recently that the plant's oil stimulates hair growth.

6. Peanuts

The nutritiously dense food is packed with fiber, protein, fatty acids, omega 6, and vitamin E, which help in hair growth for people experiencing hair loss.

7. Turmeric

This is a herb changed to its powder extract and commonly used in cooking. It is popular for its functions such as enhancing exercise recovery, improving cholesterol levels, and reducing arthritis pain. Turmeric also has high levels of active compounds known as curcuminoids that help on lowering DHT levels through blocking the 5-AR enzyme’s actions.

Why DHT Affects People In Diverse Ways

The reasons why DHT affects individuals in different ways are such as:

  • The higher sensitivity of the androgen receptor
  • Increase in the follicle's DHT receptors
  • Growth in the number of testosterone circulating which serves as DHT's precursor
  • A more significant production for local DHT

Increase in the number of DHT being produced around the body and those arriving through circulation

Roles of 5-AR ( 5-alpha reductase)

The 5-AR enzyme changes testosterone into more [potent androgen. When the levels of 5-AR are raised, the number of testosterone changed into DHT will be higher, resulting in more significant hair loss. 5-AR is into types: type one and two enzymes.

What's Next?

Dr. Arocha offers complimentary virtual and in-person consultations to discuss your hair loss concerns. Call us at 713-526-4247 to schedule a consultation today.


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