Spotting those dreaded first signs of hair loss can be a daunting time. You might be worried about what’s causing it, and what you can do to keep your proverbial wig on. It helps to get the facts, and the truth is that Dihydrotestosterone or DHT cause most of the male hair loss cases we hear about today.
What is DHT?
DHT is a by-product of testosterone and is crucial in the development of many male characteristics, including facial & bodily hair, and the formation of genitalia.
Unfortunately, DHT can have an unwanted side effect. Some people are genetically vulnerable to it, as their hair follicles are overly sensitive to its effects.
For those unlucky enough to inherit these genes, DHT will bind itself to the hair follicles on the head, and prevent the follicles from getting the nourishment they need to keep growing. This essentially stifles the hair, causing increasingly slower growth in a process called miniaturisation. Eventually, DHT will thin the hair to the point that it stops growing altogether.
So, the same hormone that fuels the growth of your beard and chest hair is also responsible for the stunted growth on your head – oh the irony!
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How to beat it!
- Minoxidil is a topical solution and is applied directly to the scalp on a regular basis. It then gets to work by widening the blood vessels and potassium channels around the hair follicles. Over time, this allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the hair, giving them the essential ingredients needed for growth.
- Finasteride, meanwhile, is an oral medication that attaches itself to the enzyme in your body responsible for converting testosterone into DHT. Effectively, it stops DHT production at the source, without affecting your usual hormone levels.
Although these treatments can be used separately, together they make something of a dream team! They will give you the best possible chance of stopping your hair loss.
Scott McDougall (MPharm) is a clinical pharmacist and in addition to being Cornerstone’s senior in-house pharmacist, is the co-founder of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies.