DHT and Hair Loss
What Is DHT & Why Does It Matter?
Learn About DHT & Hair Loss
INTRODUCING DHT & THE AR GENE
DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a hair loss hormone associated with balding in both men and women. It plays a significant role in hereditary hair loss, or pattern baldness,which is estimated to have an impact on 80% of men at some point in their lives. For women, less than about 45% make it through their lives with a full head of hair. So what exactly is DHT, and what role does it play in hair loss? We’ll address this question and many others like it in this comprehensive review of DHT.
What Do Hormones Have to Do With It?
DHT is a hormone, or androgen, similar to testosterone. While produced primarily in men, this hormone is also found in women. In the body, an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase is needed to transform testosterone into DHT - an even more potent compound of this common sex hormone. For this reason, DHT is often referred to as the “hair loss hormone” and is believed to be responsible for pattern balding in both men and women.
Also known as 5α-dihydrotestosterone, or 5α-DHT, this is the primary hormone known to aid in the development of many male characteristics. However, this hormone is also found in women and is directly linked to hair loss and hereditary balding in both sexes within the X chromosome. Since the male X chromosome comes from the mother’s side of a person’s hereditary line, it is commonly believed that “hair loss is inherited from the mother’s side”. This, however, is a severe oversimplification of a complex problem involving many other variables.
In the case of androgenetic alopecia, the person suffering with hair loss is typically born with a specific gene that makes them more prone to hormone-associated hair loss. This gene is the androgen receptor gene and is often referred to as the AR Gene. It is the ONLY known gene to provide the right hereditary “coding” for creating the conditions necessary for androgenic alopecia. Coupling this with our previous discussion of hormones, a balding scalp is usually an indication of high DHT levels plus the presence of the AR Gene.
If there is a DHT buildup in the body it is common for the hair follicles to shrink. Ultimately, they can become so small that the follicles become dormant and hair growth ceases altogether. Many people think that since most cases of hair loss are the result of heredity, there is little to be done to prevent thinning hair. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, and it is now possible to defeat the embarrassing effects of DHT and the AR Gene in a way that is painless, effective, and safe. You will see how as you read on.
How Does DHT Affect My Hair?
The hair loss equation is anything but simple. However, the relationship between DHT, the AR Gene, and balding is clear.
HAIR LOSS EQUATION:
Testosterone + 5-alpha reductase enzyme = DHT >>> DHT + AR Gene = Pattern Balding (androgenetic alopecia)
It all starts inside the body, where testosterone is converted into the potent hair loss hormone known as DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This activity increases your risk of hair loss and further affects the overall conversion of the natural hormone testosterone inside the body. It is vital to halt this chemical conversion in order to stop hair loss. For this reason, 5-alpha reductase enzyme inhibitors are a popular way to slow hair loss and reverse balding for both men and women. But it’s not the only way.
THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE PROBLEM OF HAIR LOSS
Losing your hair isn’t a one-size-fits-all problem. In fact, there are many different causes of hair loss in both men and women. While studies have shown that pattern balding is a genetically pre-determined disorder that affects men and women equally, there are many other factors at play when hair loss occurs. Aside from genetics, which we have already discussed, three additional reasons for hair loss include:
- Restrictions of Blood Flow. Hair follicles rely on a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to grow strong and new healthy hair strands. But if there is a loss of blood flow to the scalp due to something like fibrosis or calcification (or both), the resultant affect is a suffocation of sorts, in which the hair follicles slowly cease to function and eventually die off altogether.
- Fibrosis. This is a term used to describe an over-accumulation of the connective tissue known as collagen in the scalp. Collagen is an essential compound needed to build strong and healthy skin tissue; however, excess collagen can leave the scalp taking hair follicles that become entrapped in scar tissue along with it, manifesting as perifollicular fibrosis – scarring that damages the hair follicle.
- Calcification. This is a process in which the small capillaries inside the scalp become blocked, inhibiting blood flow. Hair loss often occurs in people whose balding scalp regions are partially calcified. Calcified areas have been shown to restrict blood flow to the hair follicles and this in turn contributes to an increased risk of hair loss. If this restriction of blood flow to the follicle occurs, the follicle will also be starved of important nutrients and may eventually die off completely, leaving the sufferer of hair loss bald in the affected area.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT DHT-RELATED HAIR LOSS?
While there are many different natural remedies that have been used in ancient healing traditions to halt hair loss, only two chemical substances have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). These drugs are Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Minoxidil is the generic name for a hypertension medication used to treat high blood pressure, now better known for its ability to re-grow hair. Also packaged as Loniten or Rogaine, the active ingredient in minoxidil was originally used for its hypertensive actions. After unexpected results demonstrated that the drug also helped to re-grow hair in balding subjects by stimulating blood flow to hair follicles, the FDA approved it for use in the treatment of hair loss for both men and women.
This solution comes in many forms and is even marketed in shampoos and foams. Unfortunately, despite its popularity, many side effects have been noted by users including skin rash, burning, inflammation, swelling, dizziness, and chest pain. Additionally, it is well known that the helpful effects of this drug wear off over time, often leaving the user no better off than when they started their treatment regimen.
This popular FDA-approved hair loss medication works in a different way from Minoxidil. Known in the scientific world as a “5-alpha reductase type 2 inhibitor”, Finasteride is in a class of medications known as anti-androgens. As you can probably guess, this simply means that the drug works to inhibit androgens – those pesky hormones known to cause hair loss in men and women.
Finasteride has been shown to significantly reduce the amounts of an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase (ring any bells?). Acting in this way as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, studies suggest that the inhibitory results may be due to Finasteride’s ability to block the conversion of testosterone into the more-potent hair loss hormone DHT. For this reason, Finasteride is also often included under the category of “DHT Blocker”.
Propecia is the going brand name for this FDA-approved medication for hair loss. It is most commonly prescribed in 1mg-5mg doses. Unfortunately, similar to Minoxidil, Finasteride is not without its own little laundry list of common side effects, including chills, dizziness, faintness, weight gain, itchy skin, and even breast problems.
Based on this, it becomes apparent that a safer, more sustainable method for achieving healthy hair regrowth is necessary. Enter the illumiflow Laser Cap: the hair growth technology that changes everything.
INTRODUCING LLLT & THE ILLUMIFLOW LASER CAP
The illumiflow Laser Cap was designed to address all of the causes of hair loss without the use of any additional medications. The 100% painless and completely safe FDA-approved Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) tech built into our Laser Caps has been shown through numerous clinical trials to strike at the root of hair loss. This has proven true whether the experience of hair loss is due to genetics, surgery, illness, iron deficiency (anemia), thyroid disease, malnutrition, and even medications.
5 Ways the illumiflow Laser Cap Works to Re-Grow Your Hair
The illumiflow Laser Cap delivers cool-temperature Low Level Laser Therapy directly to the scalp at the follicle to help you re-grow hair. Here are five of the most notable ways in which this gentle therapy can have a massively helpful effect on the quality and health of your hair:
- Inhibits 5-alpha Reductase. 5-alpha reductase is the enzyme responsible for converting the common sex hormone testosterone into the hair loss hormone known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Researchers have found that the more 5-alpha reductase enzyme a person has, the more likely they are to suffer with hair loss. The illumiflow Laser Cap inhibits the production of 5-alpha reductase in the user, thereby halting the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This in turn slows and eventually halts the loss of hair due to DHT.
- Activates Shock Proteins. Heat shock proteins are known to aid in cellular health. In the scalp, the specific shock protein known as HSP27 is utilized. The LLLT technology of our Laser Cap works to activate this specific shock protein and others, allowing them to boost hair follicle stem cell growth. Essentially, this process encourages hair re-growth at the innermost layer of the cell, the outer root of each sheath, and within the top layer of skin (at the epidermis cells where a structural protein called keratin is produced).
- Boosts Oxygen Delivery. The illumiflow Laser Cap boosts oxygenation to every cell of the scalp. When the low-level infrared lights interact with your scalp, the laser separates two key factors of the hair loss equation: nitric oxide (NO) and an enzyme known as cytochrome c oxidase (CCO). These elements then bind together, moving oxygen on a cellular level and lowering cellular respiration. As a result, more life-giving oxygen is delivered to hair follicles along with essential nutrients for new hair growth.
- Increases Blood Flow. As the cells of your scalp begin to receive more oxygen, the small capillaries of your scalp are finally allowed to “breathe”. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, helping to widen the tiny blood vessels. Old blockages are released and the flow of blood increases even as the delivery of oxygen is improved. This process is often referred to as vasodilation and, as you might imagine, it is vital to the growth of new hair and considered a foundational requirement for sustainably healthy hair.
- Causes Acute Inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response of your immune system and can be used to encourage hair regrowth. While too much inflammation can actually contribute to hair loss (remember our discussion regarding fibrosis and calcificationabove?), smaller “doses” can be significantly beneficial to the hair growth process. The focused effect of red light on the scalp helps to instigate this helpful form of inflammation, this aiding in the growth of new hair without becoming uncomfortable or resulting in any negative side effects.
While the problem of hair loss is surprisingly complex and entirely unique to each individual, the question of treatment regimen need not be. Using a device like the illumiflow Laser Cap is perhaps the very best way to nip hair loss in the bud and - even better yet - support a healthy scalp for the production of new hair, too.
To discover whether the illumiflow Laser Cap is right for you, complete a FREE Hair Loss Evaluation by CLICKING HERE.
To order an illumiflow Laser Cap and get the jump on hair loss once and for all, visit our product page HERE.