What is the role of DHT in hair loss?


Quick Answer

DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a type of male hormone that shrinks hair follicles. Researchers believe that the amount of DHT that binds to receptors in the hair follicles' oil glands is the major contributing factor to pattern baldness, according to the American Hair Loss Association.

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Full Answer

Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone with an enzyme that occurs in the adrenal glands, hair follicles, testes and prostate. DHT affects hair follicles by preventing the follicles from taking up vital nutrients from the skin. Even women who have normal levels of testosterone can develop hair loss caused by DHT, adds the American Hair Loss Association. When the level of female hormones is lowered, the effects of DHT results in hair loss.

Medical News Today states that 95 percent of male pattern baldness cases are caused by DHT, and genetics determine how much DHT a person produces. An increase in the size of the prostate can lead to increased levels of dihydrotestosterone. A connection between DHT and prostate cancer may exist since DHT is responsible for prostate cell growth, according to The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Medications for male hair loss include dutasteride and finasteride, which prevent the binding of DHT with the enzyme that synthesizes it.

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