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Thinning hair in women

Women all over the world experience hair loss. While it might be more common in men, 40% of women still experience some kind of hair loss by the time they reach forty. [1]

This is very upsetting for many. Hair loss can have a profound impact on your mental state, with many women feeling self-conscious and insecure when it happens. The good news is that there are some solutions, including DHT blockers. The question is, what are DHT blockers, and do they help women reverse or prevent hair loss?

What is DHT?

DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a key male hormone that naturally occurs in men’s bodies and plays a significant role in their sexual development, particularly during puberty. [2] For example, DHT is responsible for prostate growth, facial hair, and body hair. While there are higher levels of DHT in male bodies, it does occur in female bodies, too. Excess levels of DHT are thought to be responsible for women experiencing excessive body hair and scalp hair loss, which is why DHT blockers can be helpful.

What is a DHT Blocker?

It’s just as it sounds. Essentially, DHT blockers actively stop the production of DHT. It works by stopping the 5-AR enzyme from converting testosterone into DHT. Some DHT blockers are natural, whereas others are medications.

Does a DHT Blocker for Women Reverse Hair Loss?

Yes. In many cases, there have been highly effective results from a DHT blocker for women, which is why it’s often used as a hair loss treatment. One study in Normoandrogenic postmenopausal women [3] found that taking 2.5mg per day of oral Finasteride (a DHT blocker) was very effective as a treatment option for hair loss in women.

Oral Finasteride and Dutasteride

The two most common DHT-blocking medications are Finasteride and Dutasteride. Unfortunately, the oral versions of these medications aren’t recommended for women, as they can affect other hormones within the body.

Finasteride is an oral medication often prescribed to men with larger prostates but can also be prescribed to men with male pattern baldness. While studies are showing the effectiveness of Finasteride as a hair loss treatment for both men and women, most women won’t be able to get Finasteride as a prescription in the UK.

Dutasteride is another DHT-blocking medication that is used to treat enlarged prostates. Again, this is a medication predominantly prescribed to men – as a woman, you are unlikely to get this prescribed for the treatment of female pattern hair loss.

Finasteride tablets for women

Oral DHT Blocker Side Effects

There are several reasons oral DHT blockers aren’t generally recommended for women. Primarily, it’s due to the following potential side effects: [4]

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Dizziness
  • An increase in body hair
  • Lowered libido
  • Breast swelling
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches

These symptoms aren’t to be ignored. Of course, there are side effects that men can experience when taking oral DHT blockers, too, but they tend not to be as severe, which is why they are often prescribed to men.

What About DHT Blockers for Women?

With oral Finasteride and Dutasteride being mostly unavailable to women with hair loss, you might wonder what DHT blockers are safe for women. The answer is topical and natural DHT blockers, many of which you can safely buy over the counter without any issues.

Topical Finasteride and Dutasteride

Luckily, Finasteride and Dutasteride are available not only in oral form – you can also use them topically. This is excellent news for women with hair loss, as it allows you to take these medications without suffering from the unpleasant symptoms that come with the oral versions.

Topical Finasteride and Dutasteride work by lowering the amount of DHT in the scalp (without it affecting the rest of the body), which is why there are fewer side effects. As a result, many women experience hair regrowth after using them.

You will still need a prescription for topical Finasteride or Dutasteride. So, if you’re a woman interested in using these medications to regrow hair, you should speak to your doctor or dermatologist.

Are Topical DHT Blockers as Effective?

Yes, many studies indicate that topical DHT blockers work just as well as oral DHT blockers. Take this study from the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics as an example [5]; it shows that both oral and topical DHT-blocking treatments reduced DHT levels on the scalp by almost the same amount. That means you can enjoy the benefits of Finasteride and DHT without putting up with the nasty side effects.

Natural DHT Blockers

Finasteride and Dutasteride are not your only options – there are some natural DHT blockers that are popular with both men and women.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a highly promising natural DHT blocker that has shown excellent results when used to treat alopecia. A study on men with male pattern baldness [7] showed that it was just as effective at regrowing and thickening hair as Minoxidil (a medication specifically formulated for hair growth).

Hair oil for hair loss

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Another natural oil that naturally blocks the production of DHT is pumpkin seed oil. One study [6] showed that those using pumpkin seed oil experienced more hair growth than those taking a placebo. While this study was done on men with androgenetic alopecia, it still shows that it works as a DHT blocker and will likely work on women, too. Pumpkin seed oil can also have other benefits on the hair; it can strengthen the strands, add shine, and even add a touch of colour.


Caffeine might not just work to get you going in the morning; it’s also been shown to work as a DHT blocker, helping to stimulate hair growth. You can find caffeine in many over-the-counter shampoos.

Caffeine Shampoo for hair loss

Green Tea

Another potentially good natural hair loss treatment is green tea. Drinking green tea can help block DHT production, which may help reduce hair loss in women. You can also take green tea in tablet form or find a shampoo that has green tea extract as one of the ingredients.

Saw Palmetto

The Saw Palmetto you find in health shops is extracted from the Saw Palmetto tree. This 100% natural ingredient is often used to treat enlarged prostates due to its ability to block DHT. [8] The good news is that side effects are quite rare, but they can cause dizziness, stomach upset, and headaches in some people.

Should Women Use DHT Blockers?

If you have experienced hair loss as a woman, trying a natural or topical DHT blocker is a great idea. It’s a non-invasive solution that may just help you regrow your hair. Adding a DHT-blocking shampoo to your hair care routine isn’t hard to do!

However, it might not work for you, and, in this case, you may have to look at other hair loss solutions for women. Fortunately, DHT blockers aren’t the only way to treat female pattern baldness.

Other Hair Restoration Solutions for Women

If DHT blockers for women have not worked for you, you may want to look at other hair growth solutions.

Laser Therapy

One popular method for regrowing hair is laser therapy. Laser therapy can be administered at health clinics and uses a low-level laser to stimulate hair growth. Most patients take part in a six-month laser treatment plan for best results, but some people may need more or less depending on their level of hair loss.

Light treatment for female hair loss


Minoxidil is a popular and effective hair loss treatment for women and men. It’s a topical treatment that works by increasing the size of hair follicles and prolonging the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. [9] As it doesn’t affect hormones, this is generally the preferred option for women wanting medical treatment for hair restoration. You can get Minoxidil over the counter.

Hair Transplants

Hair transplants are becoming increasingly popular for women experiencing hair loss, as they provide a long-term, natural-looking solution. The FUE hair transplant, in particular, produces extremely natural results and can be completed within a single day. We offer FUE hair transplants at Harley Street Hair Clinic to both men and women, so book a free consultation today. You can download our hair track app to do so.

DHT Blocker Women: In Summary

So, it’s true: DHT blockers can help women regrow hair. However, oral DHT-blocking medications like Finasteride and Dutasteride are not recommended and generally not prescribed to women. If you want to make the most of the hair restoration benefits from DHT blockers as a woman, you’ll need to either use topical Finasteride/Dutasteride or opt for a natural DHT blocker like rosemary oil.

Don’t forget – there are other hair restoration solutions out there for women. If you’ve suffered from hair loss for many years and topical treatments do not help, the FUE hair transplant might just be the best option for you. If you want to learn more, you can contact our professional team and look at our patients gallery, which shows just how natural the results are.


  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/hair-loss-medref#:~:text=Forty%20percent%20of%20women%20have,image%20and%20emotional%20well%2Dbeing.
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/24555-dht-dihydrotestosterone
  3. https://karger.com/drm/article-abstract/209/3/202/112477/Finasteride-Treatment-of-Patterned-Hair-Loss-in?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803857/#:~:text=We%20reported%20decreased%20libido%20in,2%5D%20have%20also%20been%20reported.
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264392265_A_novel_finasteride_025_topical_solution_for_androgenetic_alopecia_Pharmacokinetics_and_effects_on_plasma_androgen_levels_in_healthy_male_volunteers
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/
  8. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-971/saw-palmetto#:~:text=Saw%20palmetto%20also%20might%20prevent,benign%20prostatic%20hypertrophy%20(BPH).
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14996087/#:~:text=Minoxidil%20may%20also%20cause%20prolongation,opener%20of%20sarcolemmal%20KATP%20channels.
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