DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is an androgen hormone formed when testosterone interacts with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. It is also the hormone responsible for androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss, on account of how it causes follicular miniaturisation.
Shrinking hair follicles produce weaker, ‘wispy’ hair, and eventually, if left untreated, DHT can cause hair to stop growing altogether. When this stage is reached, hair cannot be regrown medically, so it’s important to deal with DHT sooner rather than later.
There is one clinically proven medication that blocks DHT, the oral tablet Propecia. This medication has been licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA (the UK and US medical regulatory bodies) for its purpose as a hair loss treatment, and can be very effective at regrowing thinning hair along the top of the scalp, although its efficacy as a solo treatment for regrowing a receding hairline is unknown.
Another Option For DHT
However, women cannot take Propecia, and some men may prefer to use a topical treatment rather than an oral tablet. It’s also true that Propecia won’t be effective at regrowing a receding hairline, so how can these hair loss considerations be dealt with?
A second medication called minoxidil, which is suitable for men and women alike and highly complementary when used alongside Propecia for men, has also been licensed or approved by the medical bodies mentioned above. However, whilst minoxidil is great for stimulating regrowth, especially at the hairline when our unique high strength minoxidil cream is used, it doesn’t block DHT.
So for hair loss patients who don’t use Propecia, Belgravia has incorporated ingredients into our minoxidil that, in our experience treating many thousands of patients, appear to block DHT when applied locally. A hair loss specialist can establish both the ideal strength of minoxidil for your specific case along with the ideal formulation, so, what are these added minoxidil ingredients?
Three Possible Added Minoxidil Ingredients
MPG (medroxyprogesterone) is the first potential added ingredient that can be included in a minoxidil formulation at Belgravia. It is sold under several names in tablet form as a means to regulate periods, and is an active ingredient in birth control. However, in topical form, it is an anti-androgen, as it replaces or supplements the hormone progesterone, which competes with DHT and testosterone to bind with hair follicle receptors. If progesterone binds with the receptor, it means that DHT, in that particular instance, cannot, therefore preventing the DHT damaging the hair.
Another potential ingredient is azelaic acid. A licensed medicine used to treat acne, it is also thought to contain properties that make it beneficial in the treatment of hair loss. By reducing inflammation and acting against the growth of keratin surface (the harder, outermost skin cells) which in turns prevents sebum build up, fewer obstacles stand in the way of healthy hair growth.
The final potential added ingredient is caffeine. In 2007 German researchers published a study (in the International Journal of Dermatology) that indicated caffeine can block DHT and stimulate new hair growth when applied locally. So, whilst the above three ingredients are not licensed or approved to be sold as hair loss treatments, the fact is that they are safe for use (based on two being medications for other purpose and one a common ingredient in soft drinks) and enhance the work of the two proven medications.
So, the majority of our patients benefit from this dual approach to blocking DHT. By creating a comprehensive approach to treating hair loss, we support the use of clinically proven medications with treatment boosters that in our many years of experience help to treat hair loss and keep the hair and scalp in the best condition possible. From added ingredients in the minoxidil to the FDA cleared Laser Comb and nutritional supplement Hair Vitalics, a hair loss specialist will formulate your bespoke treatment plan based on your exact needs.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.