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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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28th December, 2012 at 11:14 am


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

9th December, 2014 at 5:03 am


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


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


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


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


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

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