Hair loss affects around half of all men over the age of 50, and male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss among men.
Today, we’re looking at the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a male sex hormone that causes male pattern baldness in both men and women.
DHT is an androgen hormone that is produced in the gonads, androgens are responsible for the biological characteristics for males, including a deeper voice, body hair and increased muscle mass.
DHT is a chemical derivative of testosterone, created when the metabolism of androgen gets involved with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, up to 10% of testosterone is normally converted into DHT. DHT is more powerful than testosterone and it attaches to the same sites, but more easily, once there it remains bound for longer.
Many people believe that DHT causes hair to fall out, however, this is not the case. DHT restricts the follicles ability to produce hair growth.
DHT 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. By doing this DHT can alter the hair growth cycle and cause the hair follicles to shrink. This process is called miniaturisation, the hair reproduces at a slower rate meaning either the growth phase is shortened or the resting phase is lengthened.
The process of miniaturisation can cause thinning hair as the hair shaft can become finer with each new growth cycle and eventually hairs will stop emerging.
No, at current there is no way to stop the production of DHT and in turn, cure male pattern baldness. There are a number of different hair loss medications that can help to slow the process of male pattern baldness and help you keep your hair for longer.
One of the most successful hair restoration procedures that many people suffering from male pattern baldness opt for is an FUE hair transplant. During the hair transplant, individual hair follicles are removed from an area of the scalp where the hair is fuller – this is usually at the back and sides of the scalp, and then transplanted to areas of the scalp where there has been hair loss. You can see some of the amazing FUE hair transplant case studies here.