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What is the Hormone Behind Hair Loss and Growth?

What is the Hormone Behind Hair Loss and Growth?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone that plays a big role in hair growth. But it also plays a part in hair loss. But what is it? DHT is an androgen, which means it's a hormone that contributes to the development of what are considered male characteristics, such as body hair.

The Dual Nature of DHT

DHT is derived from testosterone and is more potent. In the body, the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase works to convert testosterone into DHT. In the scalp, DHT tends to bind to receptors on hair follicles, leading to the reduction of the follicle. This contributes to eventual hair loss. As this is the main cause behind male and female baldness, medical treatments often focus on blocking DHT production.

Why are My Hair Follicles Shrinking?

DHT binds to certain receptors in the hair follicles and causes them to shrink. This process, known as miniaturization, affects the hair's growth cycle and leads to thinner, shorter hairs.

DHT reduces the length of the anagen phase, or growth phase, of the hair cycle. This means hair spends less time growing before transitioning to the resting phase.

Over time, DHT can cause hair follicles to become dormant. These follicles stop producing hair altogether, which results in balding.

What can I do to reduce DHT?

Given its role in hair loss, controlling DHT levels can be a strategy for preserving hair. Medications such as finasteride and dutasteride are prescribed to inhibit the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, reducing DHT production. Topical treatments like minoxidil do not directly affect DHT levels but can help to counteract the hair loss effects by revitalizing shrunken follicles and stimulating hair growth.

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