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What is DHT?

Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a natural but powerful metabolite of the human body and the main cause of hair loss in both men and women. It’s a chemical derivative of testosterone, created when the metabolism of androgen gets involved with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. It’s formed primarily in the prostate gland, testes, adrenal glands and hair follicles and interestingly, though it is important in early stages of development, DHT can have serious negative effects in adult life. However, there are clinically proven medications that work to address the effects of DHT, like hair loss.

The Purpose of DHT

DHT is the main cause of male and female pattern baldness

Researchers have found that during adult life testosterone, rather than its bi-product DHT, is essential for normal sexual behaviour and important in building protein and in metabolic activities, like the production of blood cells, bone formation, carbohydrate metabolism and liver function.

DHT on the other hand is essential in the development of male characteristics (such as facial hair) during puberty, but later in life it only has “a causative role in acne…prostatic hypertrophy [enlargement of the prostate], and androgenetic alopecia.”*

So ironically, while DHT puts hair on the face early in life, for many men it also takes it away from the scalp.

How Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?

Rather than causing the hair to fall out, DHT actually restricts the follicles ability to produce hair growth. Some people aren’t affected by DHT in the scalp but in those who have a genetic tendency to hair loss, the hair follicles are particularly sensitive to the effects of DHT.

When it attaches itself to the receptor cells of genetically predisposed hair follicles, DHT prevents proteins, vitamins and minerals from providing the needed nourishment to sustain life in these follicles and with this, also causes them to shrink. With miniaturisation, the hair is reproduced at a slower rate meaning it either shortens the growing phase or lengthens its resting stage. The result is thinning hair as the hair shaft becomes finer with each new growth cycle and eventually the hairs stop emerging.

How Do You Treat DHT-induced Hair Loss?

While proper nutrition is important in maintaining hair health, it alone will not counter the effects of DHT. There are only two products that have been licensed by the MHRA for the treatment of hair loss, which means they are both safe and effective in stabilising and reversing hair loss.

Without interfering with testosterone levels, clinically proven hair loss treatments intervene in the process by either counteracting the symptoms to increase blood flow to the hair follicle, or by directly inhibiting the production of DHT.

Hair loss specialist in consultation with patientExperts recommend consulting a hair loss specialist before you consider treatment options, because many factors need to be taken into account, like family and medical history, lifestyle and personal preference. To find out more, contact contact The Belgravia Centre – the UK’s leading hair loss clinic – on 020 7730 6666. Or fill in an online diagnostic form for free expert advice and access to treatment from anywhere in the world.

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26 Comments

28th December, 2012 at 11:14 am

Michael

what are the 2 products have license for treatment of hair lost

9th December, 2014 at 5:03 am

ibraahim

i am 17 yrs old i lost my hair in that age ,please can you tell me how to regrow my hair

9th December, 2014 at 10:40 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hello Ibraahim,

It depends on your particular hair loss condition, however, assuming it is male pattern baldness - the most common form of hair loss in men - then male hair loss treatments should help you to regrow your hair, however, they are not recommended for men who are under 18 years old.

1st March, 2015 at 7:45 pm

Bilal

Hello I'm 23 and I started losing my hair in the age of 17 and now I have no way please help me because now it started emmbarassing me.please

2nd March, 2015 at 11:15 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hello Bilal,

The best thing to do is to visit a specialist for a professional diagnosis of your hair loss condition. They can then recommend the most effective treatments for your type and stage of shedding. Assuming this is male pattern hair loss, this is likely to be a combination course of minoxidil and finasteride 1mg. You can call us on 020 7730 6666 or send us a message to book a free hair loss consultation, or if you are not based in London, simply complete our Online Consultation instead.

26th September, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Janet

I have had an underactive thyroid for about 20 years and am presently taking 125mcg thyroxine daily. However, I am presently experiencing severe hair loss, not something a female wants. My doctor doesn't appear to be taking this seriously which concerns me greatly. This is beginning to have a huge effect on my social life as I only go to work and then immediately home as I am so self-conscious of my hair being so very, thin. Can you suggest anything to help? I'm not in the UK, so it's not like I can even book in for a consultation. Thank you

1st October, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Janet, Please see our blog for a personal response to your query from one of Belgravia's senior hair loss specialists. We hope you find this helpful.

2nd October, 2015 at 7:31 pm

karan

hi . im from india im having hair fall like 30 hair im losing a day i feel hair are thinning and there's some areas on scalp which is shiny i used to take a year ago saw pamletto and horsetail extracts it was fine before once I stopped things are changed now what should i do? and when i do hair parting i see small hair coming out , is those hair are new which had fall out ??

6th October, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Sarah

Hi Karan, One of our senior hair loss specialists has provided an in-depth answer to your query, here. We hope this helps.

16th December, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Tony Fornetti

Finasteride and dutasteride cause sexual dysfunction in men..Some people say this. Is this true ?

16th December, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Tony, Dutasteride is not approved by the MHRA in the UK or FDA in the USA as a hair loss treatment and is not available from Belgravia. With regards finasteride 1mg you can find out more about the potential side effects here and learn what experts experiences are of this daily tablet here.

11th January, 2016 at 1:53 am

Saif

Hi I m 27 and I m useing regaine rhodiola rosea saw palmetto and also my diet is good mean omga3 and vitamin c is their always and ya I use that laser had I don't what they call it but when I stop useing regaine I m losing my hair again.so can you please tell me what should I do .thanks

11th January, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Saif, Regaine is a brand of minoxidil used to treat male pattern baldness. Any genetic hair loss treatment will need to be used on an on-going basis in order for it to work effectively. If you stop using your treatment there is nothing to help prevent your hair loss condition - which is permanent and progressive - from continuing.

8th February, 2016 at 1:00 am

Stigma

I'm a 19 years old girl.I've been losing my hair 3 years ago doctors said it's genetic, I've been using minoxidil for 2 months and half now with folicum ( vitamins I guess) and no obvious results. Is it normal? I'm afraid I would never get my hair back, is it possible?

8th February, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Stigma, This does not sound like anything to worry about - to find out more please see here for a full response to your query.

1st March, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Kurt

Hi. Im 35 and my hair is thinning by the day. My father and both my grandparents had hair so its not genetics. I have a lot of dandruff and i have been under a lot of stress for years now. Hair have started turning grey considerably very quickly over these 8 months. Can stress be a cause of thinning hair or hair loss ? PS I cannot place an appointment as i live in another country. Ive heard "jamaican black castor oil" is good. Please help. With thanks, Kurt

2nd March, 2016 at 11:54 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Kurt, Please find a full response to your query, here - we do offer a worldwide home-use service so if you would like more personalised advice, please complete our Online Consultation.

6th March, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Muhammad Thasleem

I'm 18years old mam. I started loosing my hair from my 17th so dr mam can u suggest me the healthy food and what all requirements should I do?

7th March, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Muhammad, Following a healthy diet will help to improve the condition - that is to say the health - of your hair, but it is unlikely to help a hair loss condition. Find out more in this full response one of our senior hair loss specialists has provided.

17th March, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Beola

Hi, My son is 5yrs old and he started loosing his hair when he was 4yrs. I was made to understand that it is alopecia areata. WHat do you recommend we do? Any lotion or drug he can take? His friends are beginning to make jest of him. Concerned....

18th March, 2016 at 10:55 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Beola, We are sorry to hear that. As your son is so young it is best for you to visit your GP in order to get a medical assessment of his condition. Unfortunately we are unable to treat children under 16 years of age as there are age restrictions in place for the medication used in Alopecia Areata treatment (high strength minoxidil). Your doctor will be able to give you practical advice and you could also contact Alopecia UK and the Little Princess Trust who are charities that help girls and boys with hair loss.

24th May, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Chantal McCulligh

There are so many factors that come into play with hairloss. read up on the problems for male vs female, hair type, cause of hair loss, existing hair damage, etc

12th November, 2016 at 11:44 am

Jinesh

i m 35 years old and lost most of hair, can u suggest me the healthy food and what all requirements should I do?

14th November, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jinesh, following a healthy diet may help to improve the condition of your existing hair but it will not stop your hair loss if it is genetic (Male Pattern Baldness). There are only two clinically-proven hair loss products for treating this type of thinning - finasteride 1mg and minoxidil - and you can find out more about these on our Male Hair Loss Treatment page.

14th November, 2016 at 1:38 pm

andy

im suffering with hair loss,seborrheic problems. i am considering DHT blood test as i believe the oil in my scalp is destroying the follicules. what treatment do you offer?

14th November, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Andy, a DHT blood test is a fairly unusual step. We would recommend you speak to a hair loss specialist first to get a free diagnosis of your scalp and hair loss conditions. It could be the case that there is an underlying medical condition that is causing your thinning as well as your scalp problems. Sebderm can also cause the hair to become weakened and prone to breakage if it makes you scratch your head a lot. If the follicles are being destroyed by DHT, this is a case of genetic hair loss (male pattern baldness) and that can be diagnosed without having to get your DHT levels tested. It is nothing to do with the oil in your scalp - these are actually healthy and help to keep the scalp moisturised. If you would like to understand more about your scalp and hair loss issues, please contact us or complete an Online Consultation form.

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