What is Dihydrotestosterone?
Dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT, is a powerful sex hormone, stronger than testosterone, the most commonly known androgen hormone.
How Dihydrotestosterone Get Created in The Body?
Our body creates dihydrotestosterone with the help of 5α-reductase, the enzyme found in the reproductive organs (testes, ovaries), prostate, skin, hair follicles and other internal organs.
5α-reductase plays an important role in steroid metabolism in the body, it converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. In general, about 10% testosterone in the body gets converted into DHT. Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone behind the male characteristics such as body and facial hair, deep voice and muscles.
Do Women Have Dihydrotestosterone in Their Body?
Although women have much lower testosterone levels than men, women produce testosterone in their body too. Due to the presence of 5α-reductase, some of the testosterone gets converted into dihydrotestosterone. High dihydrotestosterone levels in women have been associated with the excess facial and body hair, irregular menstrual periods and persistent acne.
How Dihydrotestosterone Affects Hair on The Scalp?
For some people, the presence of dihydrotestosterone in the hair follicles doesn't affect the hair life cycle, however, for some others, it triggers the thinning of the hair. In certain cases, DHT causes baldness in both men and women.
There have been countless studies on hair loss, however, it is yet to be fully understood why dihydrotestosterone causes hair loss in some individuals. Is this kind of an autoimmune disease?
Dihydrotestosterone Attacks Hair Follicles
Dihydrotestosterone may cause hair follicles to shrink gradually. Over the times, hair appears visibly weaker, shorter and thinner. In science, the term of androgenetic alopecia is used for a hair loss condition caused by androgen hormones, particularly dihydrotestosterone. Left untreated, this hair loss condition may cause baldness in both men (male pattern baldness) and women (female pattern baldness).
How exactly DHT causes hair follicles to shrink is not yet fully understood, however, the mechanism of DHT action in androgenetic alopecia can be explained in two steps:
1. Dihydrotestosterone Shortens The Anagen Stage of The Hair
For people who don't suffer from hair loss, during the anagen stage, their hair keeps growing for a period of three to five years. However, for those who suffer from androgenetic hair loss, their hair follicles are sensitive to DHT. Dihydrotestosterone causes their hair follicles to shrink. As a result, the hair can't no longer grow as long as it would be. The hair becomes gradually thinner and shorter. In men, the temple and crown are the first two most common areas affected by hair loss.
2. Dihydrotestosterone Lengthens The Telogen Stage of The Hair
In addition to shortening the Anagen stage, DHT lengthens the resting stage of the hair. At advanced stages of hair loss, hair follicles are no longer alive. When the hair follicles are already dead, there is nothing can be done to bring them back to life. Even with hair transplantation where hair follicles from the donor site are transplanted to the balding area, it is not possible to fully restored the hair density.
As hair loss is usually a gradual process over a period of time, a proper treatment at early stages of hair loss can significantly slow down the progress and prevent baldness. In the next article, Hair Loss and Thinning Hair Treatment, you can learn how to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Hair Loss and Thinning Hair Treatment. Read >>>
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