DHT hair lossThere are many arguments and debates about what causes hair loss, and generally speaking, if you ask one person for an opinion, you will get the input of 10. Worse still, these will no doubt contradict one another. In this mix of fact and opinion, how do you know where to turn? The best advice is to ask an expert, but there is no harm in reading around the subject first, to try and get your head around some of the terminology a trichologist (hair loss expert) will use.

If you’re suffering from one of the more common types of hair loss, male pattern baldness (or androgenetic alopecia), you will no doubt have researched the subject, and found a wealth of complicated scientific information which aims to explain it. One of the most frequently asked questions is ‘what causes this type of hair loss’ – and the assumptions tend to lean towards genetics or the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

So which of these is correct?

DHT‘ is the acronym that trichologists will talk about the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (5a-Dihydrotestosterone) – and it is clear to see why it is shortened to something more manageable. This is a hormone which is linked to the male reproductive system and is an androgen. DHT combines with an enzyome called ‘5a-reductase’, a process which takes place in different places around the body, including the hair follicles. Depending on how this fusion occurs, this can affect the follicle and result in hair loss. If the levels of DHT in the follicle are not correct, this causes the follicle to shrink (a process called miniaturisation), and this is what causes the hairs to fall out. Although DHT is more prevalent in men, women have this hormone too, which means that androgenetic hair loss can affect both sexes.

So they both have a role to play?

Yes – the truth is that both genetics and DHT are linked to hair loss, although it is the underlying genetic predisposition that it ultimately responsible. Everyone produces the hormone DHT and for many people this will not affect your hair follicles. However, if your genetic makeup includes a predisposition to androgen sensitivity, then the combination of these factors will almost certainly result in some degree of a



By Ian Watson


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