DHT Molecular StructureDHT Molecular Structure

DHT Hair Loss

DHT hair loss is the main cause of losing hair in men and women alike. It affects more men than women, because men have higher levels of Testosterone, and DHT comes from that hormone.

What does DHT stand for?

When you first saw the word DHT you probably wondered what it meant. If you look above, you will see something that, although it looks like a Lego® toy, it is not. It is rather the molecular structure of DHT.

Certainly, I'm not here to give you a science class, neither to talk about toys. I'm here to help you understand what DHT means, and how it is possible to have DHT hair loss.

What DHT means is dihydrotestosterone, and this is one of the causes of hair loss.

If you split the word it would say: di-hydro-testo-sterone; di means two; hydro means hydrogen. So di-hydro shows that there are two hydrogen molecules. I know it sounds like a science class.

So the word testo comes from testis, which means testicles, or the male organ that produces sperm. What do we have left? Yes, sure, sterone, which means it is a steroid hormone.

But what is DHT hair loss? Can you counter it? To answer those questions, we have to know what testosterone is.

What is Testosterone

Testosterone is the steroid hormone that controls the development and maintenance of a man's sexual organs, sexual desire, sperm production, muscle development, deep voice, and body hair.

It is found in both humans and animals. In the case of men, this hormone is produced in the testicles, and in the prostate.

In women, it forms in the ovaries, although in smaller amounts. Testosterone begins to accumulate at puberty, and varies in quantity, starting at age 30.

Men have a concentration 10 times higher than women. However, the latter are more sensitive to the change from the hormone to DHT.

The maximum level of testosterone in a man is 1000 ng/dl, according to Men's Health. That is 1000 nanograms per deciliter. Now don't ask me what is the meaning of that. The only thing I can tell you is that is a measure known to doctors and laboratories.

I once asked my urologist, what happens if someone reached the maximum amount, and he said the testicles begins to atrophy. So it doesn't seem like a good idea to go that far.

Well, you know what testosterone is. Now you just have to know what DHT is, and what its effects are on hair follicles. First, let's see what it is.

What is DHT Hair Loss?

Well, you know what testosterone is. Now you just have to know what DHT hair loss is, and what its effects are on hair follicles. First, let's see what it is.

DHT is a by-product of testosterone. About 10 percent of testosterone is converted to DHT. A by-product is the product obtained from a principal, or it can also be an unexpected consequence.

DHT meets both of these definitions well. First, because it is a by-product of testosterone and second, because it also produces an unexpected consequence.

Now it all boils down to one question, what does testosterone levels have to do with hair loss, and why is DHT having an unexpected consequence?

Does Testosterone cause Hair Loss?

Some people think that testosterone levels in bald men should go through the roof. But is that so? Will these men be more prone to DHT hair loss?

The fact is that in different studies it has been shown that there is no difference in hair loss between the person who has a high level of testosterone, and the person who does not.

The difference is in how the hair follicles respond to hormones, or to hormonal changes. Men who become bald when they are still young have testosterone more sensitive hair follicles.

Dihydrotestosterone is synthesized, that is, it brings together two or more elements to do something new, either in the testicles, prostate, hair follicles, and in the two adrenal glands, which are the glands that are above the kidneys.

The 10 percent of the testosterone that is formed joins the enzyme 5-a reductase, and the two hydrogen molecules, to form DHT.

To understand this better, imagine you want to make a cake. You have milk, eggs, flour, sugar, and vanilla. What happens when you mix those ingredients? Well, you would have a mixture of those ingredients, but you still don't have a cake.

What do you need to do it? Heat, yes, fire. If the ingredients are not cooked, they will never turn into a cake. When cooking them, these are changed or transformed into something else, which in this case would be a cake.

So when you mix all these elements and apply heat, they transform into a delicious dessert. At least I hope so.

In the same way, when two hydrogen molecules mix up with testosterone, and the enzyme 5-a reductase, DHT is formed. It can be said that the enzyme 5-a reductase is the fire that joins these elements.

Only, when dihydrotestosterone is formed, the result is not always as delicious as a dessert, as it can turn into DHT hair loss. That is why we say that DHT produces an unexpected result.

Because one of the main causes of hair loss is due to DHT. One of the reasons is that one of the places where testosterone transforms into DHT is hair follicles. 

For reasons that are still unknown, DHT is important for the growth of body hair, but fatal for hair on the head, or the scalp.

DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, until many of these eventually die. The hair that is still alive has been reduced so much that it can hardly be seen with a magnifying glass.

Reasons for losing hair include genetics, hormones, and the environment. In the case of DHT hair loss, it is classified as a hormonal cause because the hormone testosterone is changed to DHT by the enzyme 5-a reductase.

Weightlifters, for instance, use anabolic steroids to increase their testosterone levels. What they may not know is that it also increases the probability of losing hair, because 10 percent of testosterone is converted to DHT.

DHT binds to the same places as testosterone but with more strength and for much longer. What are the consequences of this happening on the scalp?

·        Hair follicles atrophy

·        Hair comes out with more difficulty because the follicle membranes harden more and more

·        Hair cannot take advantage of the proteins, vitamins, and minerals that we consume, because it has little blood circulation. Therefore, it does not grow strong and healthy

·        Hair grows thinner

·        The anagen, or hair growth phase, becomes shorter over time

·         Hair loss is more noticeable

·         Finally, the hair does not grow in the affected follicles

Hair growth is a cycle and has four phases: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. When those four stages have been completed, it returns back to the anagen phase, which is where the hair grows.

Male pattern hair loss begins when in the anagen phase, which is where the hair grows, it does not grow back with the same thickness, but thinner.

Over time the anagen phase becomes shorter and shorter. The hair comes out with more difficulty, until it looks like baby hair. In the end, it doesn't peek out again.

To understand this better, you can read the article Telogen Effluvium. In a next article I will talk about how to counteract DHT.