The Role of DHT in Male-Pattern Baldness

by Viviscal Hair Expert on March 11, 2013

Few things can be more frustrating to a man than going bald. Honestly, it really does bother most men. What’s the culprit behind male baldness?

It’s the male hormone dihydrotestosterone, otherwise known as DHT. This hormone is essential to human male development, including changes in the voice, the production of acne, hair growth and the onset of puberty. This manly hormone is important to the male species.

However, there’s a nasty side to DHT. In addition to giving us much-needed manly qualities, it can turn on us and cause baldness. When DHT is converted in the bloodstream and then reaches the scalp, it binds with androgen receptors on the hair follicle, interfering with the growth of hair. It also keeps vital nutrients and oxygen from nourishing the hair. As a result, hair loss occurs when the hair follicles literally starve. The most vital part of the hair follicle, which is responsible for hair growth, is called the dermal papilla.

The papilla gets its nourishment from the surrounding capillaries. The androgen receptors also contained within the papilla is what DHT binds to.

The follicles’ susceptibility to the effects of DHT causes miniaturization, which greatly shortens the lifespan of the hair. Miniaturization is the gradual shrinking or starving of the follicle. This results in finer, softer hair and is the “peach fuzz” that many men with male pattern baldness experience. Our hair has growing and resting phases, and DHT interferes with those phases. As the process continues, the follicles continue to shrink until they eventually shut down. The disturbing part of this process is that once the follicle shuts down, it’s permanent.

Male pattern baldness is technically termed androgenetic alopecia, which usually begins at the temples and works its way back, ending in a horseshoe pattern. Genetics play a part in the way our hair follicles react to DHT. About 30 percent of men show signs of thinning or balding by age 30, and 65 percent of men by age 60.

Luckily, there are some ways that we can fight back. Start by reducing your stress levels and practice gentle scalp massage when in the shower. Eat a diet rich in Vitamin C, Zinc, Flax Seed Extract, and marine proteins. Or for an easier solution to promote existing hair growth, try taking a good, drug-free hair growth supplement. Finally, switch out the harsh chemicals you’re using on your hair in favor of more natural, gentle products. Baby that scalp!