It’s no secret that hair loss is a big issue for men. In fact, it’s estimated that around two-thirds of men will experience some form of hair loss by the time they reach the age of 35. And while there are a number of treatments available that can help to slow down or even stop hair loss, many men are still looking for a more natural solution.
One of the most popular natural solutions that men are turning to is DHT blocking shampoos. DHT is a hormone that is responsible for causing hair loss in both men and women.
DHT blocking shampoos claim to be able to reduce the amount of DHT in the scalp, which can help to prevent hair loss, but do they really work? Let’s look at the science-backed information!
What Is DHT?
DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, is a male androgen hormone — similar to testosterone — that causes hair follicles to shrink. This process can eventually lead to baldness.
Dihydrotestosterone is derived from testosterone and is produced in the body of both men and women by way of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. In men, this enzyme converts testosterone into DHT in a number of different areas including the prostate gland, testes, and hair follicles.
DHT has been linked to hereditary hair loss, which accounts for 95% of all male pattern baldness cases. While DHT does play a role in hair loss for women as well, it is not currently fully understood how it contributes to female pattern baldness.
Hereditary hair loss caused by DHT occurs when the enzyme 5-alpha reductase combines with testosterone to form DHT in the hair follicles. The presence of high levels of DHT causes the hair follicles to become thinner and weaker until they eventually die under the scalp. As this process continues over time, more and more hairs are lost until eventually, male pattern baldness develops completely.
DHT is a hormone that's naturally present in your body. It's the byproduct of testosterone interacting with 5-alpha reductase, which is an enzyme that combines with testosterone to produce DHT. DHT is important for developing male characteristics during puberty and for maintaining them throughout adulthood.
However, DHT can also cause hair loss in men and women. When DHT binds to receptors in the scalp, it can shrink hair follicles and stunt their growth. Eventually, this leads to balding patches on your head. This condition is known as androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
There's no cure for androgenic alopecia yet; however, there are treatments available that can slow or stop the process of hair loss entirely.
The Basics of DHT Blocking Shampoos
DHT-blocking shampoos can be an effective way to combat hair loss because they block the effects of DHT on your scalp without affecting your body. You won't lose any testosterone when you use them — just the unwanted side effects of that hormone on your hair.
However, over-the-counter DHT blockers work best for people who have started losing their hair recently and people with mild to moderate hair loss. If your hair loss has been going on for years or if you have bald patches, then you might want to consider a prescription medication such as finasteride (Propecia), which is a more powerful DHT blocker than those found in shampoos.
The Best Ingredients To Find in DHT Blocking Shampoos
There are several ingredients that are commonly found in DHT blocking shampoos, but not all of them are equal. Some are scientifically proven to be effective, while others are just snake oil.
Below we'll go through some of the common ingredients you can find in DHT blocking shampoos and explain how they work, or in some cases why they don't work.
The key ingredient in DHT blocking shampoos is ketoconazole, an anti-fungal agent used to treat dandruff.
The 2% version of the shampoo is available over the counter and the stronger 1% version is only available by prescription. Research has shown that ketoconazole can be effective in some cases of hair loss, even reversing miniaturization, but it has not been proven effective for alopecia areata, scarring alopecias, or telogen effluvium.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil contains numerous fatty acids that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help block DHT, as well as reduce inflammation caused by the production of testosterone in the body. It also helps if you use an anti-inflammatory shampoo to nourish your scalp and fight infection at the same time.
Biotin is a B vitamin that helps break down fats and proteins within the body. In addition, it also contributes to healthy nails, skin, and hair. When you have low levels of biotin within your body, your hair may become brittle and eventually fall out.
Rosemary oil has been used as a traditional remedy for centuries. Rosemary oil contains carnosic acid, which has been proven to prevent DHT from attaching to your hair follicles. If that happens, then the follicles will become smaller and smaller until they die off completely. Rosemary oil doesn't actually block DHT production, but it does prevent it from attacking your hair follicles.
Saw palmetto is one of the most effective ingredients when it comes to reducing the amount of DHT in your scalp. There have been numerous studies conducted on saw palmetto and its effectiveness at reducing DHT levels, and they have all concluded that this ingredient has a significant effect on male pattern baldness.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil has some amazing properties that make it one of the best ingredients you can find in a shampoo. For starters, tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal which helps keep your scalp clean and healthy which is essential for hair growth and strength. It also works to moisturize and prevent dry scalp.
The Ingredients To Avoid in DHT Blocking Shampoos
What are the ingredients to avoid in DHT blocking shampoos? This is a question that many men who want to regrow their hair ask themselves. There are plenty of products out there that claim to make this possible, but how do you know which ones will truly work?
The best way to know which ingredients to avoid in DHT blocking shampoos is by doing your research. There are several websites online where you can find out what ingredients should not be included in a shampoo. Many of these websites also have reviews from people who have used these products before, and they may give their opinion on whether or not they worked for them.
However, it can take some time before you find one that works well for your specific situation. Some of these sites have thousands of reviews, and it might take weeks before you find one that fits your needs. Also, it might be difficult trying to figure out which ones will actually block DHT since there are so many different types of shampoos available today.
Parabens have been used as a preservative in personal care products for decades, but they have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. The reason is that some research has linked parabens to increased estrogen production, and elevated estrogen levels can cause early puberty in girls and low sperm counts, and testicular cancer in boys.
Although the evidence is far from conclusive, because of these potential health risks, many people are choosing to avoid products that contain parabens. Fortunately, there are plenty of DHT blocking shampoos on the market that do not contain parabens.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Another ingredient that you should avoid when buying shampoo is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is commonly referred to as SLS. In addition to being used in shampoo, SLS is also found in soaps, toothpaste and laundry detergents.
SLS can be derived from coconut or palm oil, but most of it comes from petroleum. It is used as a cleaning agent because it makes products foam up well and remains foamy for a long time. Unfortunately, when SLS comes into contact with other chemicals — such as those found in tap water — it can form carcinogenic byproducts.
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, is used in many hair care products because it is inexpensive and helps thicken the product. Unfortunately, sodium chloride can strip the scalp of natural oils and cause dryness and irritation. Dry scalps produce more sebum to compensate. Sebum is a precursor to DHT so the end result of using a shampoo containing sodium chloride could actually be increased hair loss.
Alcohol is a common ingredient in many commercial products, and it's not just in shampoos. You can find alcohol in lotions, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and so on. The reason why manufacturers add it to these products is that it has antibacterial properties. However, alcohol also tends to dry out hair and skin.
When used regularly, it can cause damage to both hair and scalp because it strips away moisture. This is especially true if you have thin or fine hair already prone to dryness. If your hair is already dry, alcohol will only make it worse; if your scalp is already irritated or inflamed, alcohol will only make the problem worse. For this reason, you should be skeptical of any shampoo that contains alcohol as an ingredient.
Dimethicone is a type of silicone that coats the skin, sealing in moisture and creating a barrier against irritants. This is a good thing if you have extremely dry skin, but it's not so good for those who have oily or acne-prone skin. The coating that dimethicone provides will clog pores, trap sweat and dirt and lead to breakouts.
Triclosan is a compound that is used as an antibacterial in many DHT blocking shampoos. The use of triclosan has been highly controversial for several years, and the FDA will be banning its use in soaps next year. This is because it has been shown to have detrimental effects on the thyroid, which controls hormone function in the body. This can actually lead to more hair loss as well as other health problems.
Other Products for Treating Hair Loss
If a DHT-Blocking shampoo isn’t doing it for you, don’t worry, there is still a lot of stuff to try, from holistic solutions to prescription medications.
Holistic Hair Loss Solutions
What is holistic hair loss treatment? It's a kind of alternative therapy that addresses the whole person — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual — rather than just the outward symptoms.
This kind of all-encompassing treatment can be effective for some people because hair loss can have many causes. For example, it may be hereditary or due to a hormonal imbalance, or it may be a side effect of medical treatments such as chemotherapy. In other cases, hair loss may result from stress or depression.
Sandalwood has been used for centuries to improve complexion and treat skin problems. It's also an aromatic herb that has a calming effect on the body and mind. It's been shown to prevent dryness and itchiness of the scalp, which can lead to hair loss.
Rosemary is used to stimulate hair growth and protect the scalp from dandruff. It also improves cellular generation, which can help hair grow faster and look healthier.
Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy to help promote relaxation and relieve stress. It is also known to stimulate circulation around the body and is thought to increase blood flow to the scalp. This increased blood flow may help promote faster growth of hair as well as hair that is more vibrant in appearance. To use lavender oil for hair loss massage a few drops into your scalp each day as part of your regular routine. Leave the oil in for at least an hour before washing your hair or wash it out immediately if you do not have time.
Thyme oil may help prevent hair loss and premature greying by strengthening the roots of your hair. The thyme plant contains a chemical called carvacrol that can help inhibit the effects of the enzyme that causes hair loss. Plus, it has antimicrobial properties that may treat skin conditions like dandruff or infections that lead to hair loss (like ringworm).
Massaging your scalp is a simple but effective way to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. It increases blood flow to the scalp by stimulating the follicles. Regular scalp massages with or without oil also helps loosen and remove dead skin cells and other debris that can clog follicles and impede healthy hair growth.
Your scalp needs regular exfoliation just like your skin does. This will remove any dead skin cells and encourage faster hair growth by improving blood circulation in your scalp region. You can make a simple exfoliator by mixing together 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup olive oil. Apply it to your scalp and gently massage it in using circular motions with your fingers. Rinse it off after 10 minutes using warm water, then shampoo as usual.
Cystine and Lysine
Cysteine and lysine are two amino acids that promote hair health. Hair is made of a protein called keratin, which contains the amino acids cysteine and lysine. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that these amino acids are important for the growth of hair and nails because they help build keratin.
You can take both cysteine and lysine as a supplement in pill form or you can eat foods containing these amino acids. The National Institutes of Health recommend taking 500 mg to 1500 mg per day of cysteine to promote hair growth, but if you have a medical condition talk with your doctor before taking this supplement.
Foods that contain cysteine include red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and oats. Lysine is found in dairy products such as milk and cheese, meat, fish, eggs, and soybeans.
Science-Backed and Proven Hair Loss Treatments
These prescription medications are FDA-Approved and prescribed by Canadian doctors.
Finasteride is one of the most well-known hair loss treatments. The only FDA-approved oral medication for hair loss, this medicine is usually prescribed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), but it was discovered that this drug also blocks DHT in the scalp. A daily pill, it normalizes the hormone imbalance that causes hair loss and is generally quite effective — nine out of 10 men in clinical trials saw positive results. It can take 1 to 9 months to see results, and the balding process usually resumes if treatment is stopped. In order to get rid of DHT in the body, Finasteride has to be taken orally for at least three months before you start seeing results. The downside is that once you stop taking this drug, your hair will start to fall out again.
Another well-known hair loss treatment is Minoxidil (Rogaine). This topical solution was originally used to treat high blood pressure, but it was discovered that it can also help with hair growth. The reason why it's effective against balding is that it widens blood vessels which allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to reach hair follicles. However, minoxidil doesn't work for everyone because each person's body reacts differently.
If you are losing your hair, you may want to consider combining minoxidil and finasteride to help stop hair loss and regrow some of that lost hair. This medication combination is highly effective at stopping hair loss and restoring normal hair growth when used together as directed.
Finasteride and minoxidil are the two most common treatments for male pattern baldness. Both treatments have been proven to slow hair loss, with some men even regrowing hair after taking either treatment. Even though finasteride and minoxidil are both very effective, there is evidence that combining the two maybe even more effective at preventing hair loss.
Want To Try A Prescription Solution?
Phoenix is ready to help. Our telehealth platform is catered for men’s health issues like hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Our plans are inexpensive, meaning you can get the healthy head of hair back that you deserve for a low cost. Make an appointment to text-chat with a doctor today.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.