How do you counter something that naturally occurs in your body? How do you stop your nails from growing, or your heart from beating? The short answer is: you can’t – and you probably shouldn’t.
If something exists naturally in your body, then surely it must be serving some kind of purpose.
Still, there are certain functions in your own body that might be indirectly causing some of your problems. Today we will be looking at a certain hormone that affects men – something that is being linked with hair loss, specifically “male pattern baldness”.
This hormone we’re speaking of is known as the dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
So what is DHT, and what are its effects? Why is it being produced by your body, and what does it have to do with your hair problem? Let’s take a closer look at this naturally occurring hair loss culprit.
What is DHT?
Dihydrotestosterone actually serves a lot of functions in the male body, so we can’t say it only affects hair. DHT is actually a hormone and a “sex steroid” that naturally occurs in the human male anatomy. It is an androgen, meaning it is responsible for the biological characteristics that are often defined as “masculine”. Examples of these traits include deep voices and increased muscle mass. Of course, it also has something to do with why men are hairier than women. If you have a beard or a hairy chest, you can thank DHT for that.
And because it is “endogenous” that means your body produces it on its own, for all the reasons we mentioned above. It has in utero effects for male embryos, serving a role in the formation of the male external genitalia.
As for the adult males, it acts as the primary androgen in multiple body parts including the prostate gland, the skin, and of course, the hair follicles. For those of you who want a more technical name for DHT, it is also known as 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT). Its purposes are quite simple, despite having that lengthy name.
How Does DHT Affect Your Hair?
The exact effect of DHT on your hair is actually unknown, and it is still being studied by scientists up until today. However, there are plenty of theories out there that make a lot of sense, considering the hormone’s role in the development of the male body.
There could be an increased local DHT production in a certain person’s body that affects the growth of hair. Studies have even suggested that DHT can cause these follicles to slow down its production of new hair.
You see, hair growth is divided into three parts. These parts are called the anagen, catagen, and telogen phase. The anagen phase is when new hair begins to grow. It allows hair to keep on growing longer for up to six years! The catagen phase lets hair renew itself, and the telogen phase is when the follicle begins to grow dormant and start to shed off.
It is shown that DHT can prolong the telogen phase while significantly shortening the anagen phase. So what does this mean for your hair? It means new hair will not grow out of your scalp as quickly as old ones shed off.
But don’t worry, this problem is very common, affecting up to 57 percent of men as they reach the age of 60.
The Natural Ingredients Against DHT
DHT poses a threat to your hair, but you can’t get rid of it because your male anatomy relies on it. So what you can try to do is find a natural way to “block” DHT – or at least slow it down and limit its production.
There are certain drugs that are said to fight DHT’s effects, such as Rogaine (generic name is Minoxidil Topical or just plain Minoxidil). You can use it to grow hair on your scalp, but we suggest consulting your doctor first before using it. It also needs to be used continuously, as its effects stop when you stop using it.
Additionally, because this is a drug, it is bound to have some side effects. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe scalp irritation, palpitation, rapid weight gain, chest pain, and dizziness.
Like we said earlier, it is best to ask a physician first. We still suggest going natural when it comes to blocking the effects of DHT. Saw Palmetto is a great herbal blocker of this hormone. This herb is known as an effective anti-androgen, meaning it will also lessen your libido, but at least it will also slow down hair loss. Other than that, it has no major side effects, and is even used to treat prostate hyperplasia. However, it can still cause stomach irritation for some people especially if taken on an empty stomach.
One simpler alternative is plain old green tea. It works basically the same way, and it is also a powerful antioxidant. This can help stop hair loss while also allowing re-growth. In fact, it has plenty of other helpful benefits such as aiding in weight loss.
There’s always a natural solution to your body’s natural problems – even if the culprit also naturally exists in your body.