Dihydrotestosterone: How It Affects Balding In Men

The key-player behind male-pattern baldness is an androgen hormone named Dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It has many functions and many roles to play. First of all, it triggers development of male characteristics during puberty. Besides it affects metabolic rate and sexual characteristics.

During puberty, increased level of DHT (not too much or more than required) is a boon for men. But after they grow older this very hormone becomes the bane as it lets them down by inhibiting and reducing hair growth in the follicles resulting in balding, sometimes early balding. This is how the term ‘androgenic alopecia’ has come into being.

Although DHT is also produced in female bodies, its contribution to female hair loss problem is limited. Women go under thinning, shedding due to lots of other reasons too. But of course, in some cases women too suffer from male-pattern baldness and that can occur due to increased DHT.

Formation of DHT

DHT has other names like ‘5α-DHT’, ‘5α-androstan-17β-ol-3-one’ or ‘17β-hydroxy-5α-androstan-3-one’. Please mark the common factor which is ‘5α’. This comes from an enzyme named ‘5α-reductase’. This very enzyme synthesizes DHT from testosterone in the adrenal glands, prostate, testes and most importantly in the hair follicles.

Hair follicles go under ‘Miniaturization’, a certain condition that results in balding, due to increased amount of DHT synthesis. But increased level of DHT can also occur due to increased secretion of testosterone.

We shouldn’t blame the enzyme only. If the testosterone level is not on the higher side then the DHT level won’t be high. That’s why after the puberty is over, men should keep the testosterone level in their bodies in check by consulting doctors, especially if they have some genetic traits of balding.


his is what DHT does. It reduces the growth of hair by malnourishing the roots so that gradually the follicles shrink and hair length gets reduced. Hair life cycle goes under two stages—‘Anagen’ which is the growing stage and ‘Telogen’ which is the resting stage. DHT extends the latter and shortens the former. As a result the hair gets gradually miniaturized only to disappear completely after a while and leave the place barren.

Miniaturization due to DHT first hits the frontal part of the scalp and the crown. These are the areas where genetically-susceptible follicles are found. A person who has a family history of balding typically carries the most DHT-vulnerable follicles on these parts and such follicles fall prey to this synthesized hormone quickly. This is the reason why many men experience early balding, sometimes when they are in their late ‘20s even.

How to fight back

The most effective way to fight back is to inhibit ‘5α-reductase’ enzyme. If done, that will inhibit DHT as well. You need to consult a doctor and take prescribed medicines only. There are a couple of approved ‘5α-reductase’ inhibitors in the market but never ever take doses without any kind of consultation.

If receding hair-line problem has become acute and you’ve almost lost the normal thickness of hair on the frontal scalp, start using men’s hair system. These hair replacement systems are not too pricey and if bought from a reputed supplier, there won’t be any discomfort. The best part is after a while you’ll tend to forget that you are a sufferer of balding.