Updated: Oct 22
Around 85% of men and 33% of women will face hair loss in their lifetime.
This problem is more common than you might think. Male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia makes up around 95% of male hair loss cases. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 65% of American men will have hair loss of various degrees by age thirty-five and forty percent of women have visible hair loss by the time they are age 40, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Why is this?
Dihydrotestosterone, commonly known as DHT, is a predominant male sex hormone that exhibits an affinity for binding to receptors in the scalp. This interaction, particularly in genetically predisposed individuals, instigates a process of hair loss resulting in the well-known condition of male pattern baldness, clinically referred to as androgenic alopecia.
Within the human body, several androgen hormones are produced. Both males and females generate androgens, which are essential for various physiological functions. However, it is noteworthy that men typically produce a greater quantity of these hormones, as they assume a pivotal role in male developmental processes. This explains why more men experience hair loss than women.
DHT plays a fundamental role in the sexual maturation and physical differentiation of males, effectively distinguishing them from females. Androgens are a class of sex hormones that actively contribute to the development of secondary sexual characteristics in men. Derived from testosterone, DHT is instrumental in shaping traits such as:
1. Augmented growth of body hair.
2. Increased muscle mass.
3. Deepening of the voice.
4. Alterations in the distribution of body fat.
5. Enhanced sexual health, libido, and fertility.
Additionally, DHT is implicated in the enlargement of the prostate, highlighting its involvement in various aspects of male physiology.
What is a DHT blocker?
If you suspect that DHT is a contributing factor to your hair loss concerns, don't be alarmed. There are several treatments to introduce a DHT blocker into your routine hair care regimen. These options encompass prescription medications or natural or over-the-counter solutions such as the incorporation of topical products like The Pigmented's Rapunzel Hair Growth Serum, which consists of a whooping 5 DHT blockers!
How does DHT affect women?
Excessive levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in women can lead to several discernible effects, including the growth of excess body, facial, and pubic hair (a condition known as hirsutism), irregular periods (amenorrhea), and acne. While usually associated with men, women need testosterone too. When levels of DHT become too high, it can cause the hair follicles to shrink.
Before we list the 10 DHT Blockers proven to reduce hair loss, answer the following question.
These are the 10 Ingredients Scientifically Proven to Reduce Hair Loss
Minoxidil is a topical medication that is applied to the scalp to stimulate new hair growth in those experiencing hair loss,” explains Samantha Fisher, MD, a Florida-based dermatologist.
Minoxidil—the generic name for Rogaine—is a topical treatment that is well-accepted by the dermatological community as an effective oral treatment for hair growth. The FDA granted approval for the use of topical minoxidil in the treatment of male hair loss, leading to the introduction of Rogaine. Subsequently, this approval was extended to include the treatment of female hair loss as well.
In addition to its ability to encourage hair growth and combat a receding hairline, Minoxidil has the potential to enhance both the density and thickness of hair. Simply put, it aids in the restoration of fuller and healthier hair strands. Research also demonstrates that Minoxidil is efficacious in stimulating both hair regrowth and increased hair density among individuals with Androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss.
This medicine usually comes with patient instructions. It is important that you read the instructions carefully. In the U.S., this medicine is available without a prescription, however there are some side effects and symptons you should consider before using. Topical minoxidil and oral finasteride have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of AGA, but due to these adverse effects, patients seem to be drawn to alternative treatments as the following 9 DHT blockers on our list with fewer side effects.
In a 2015 study focused on people with andogenic alopecia, researchers found rosemary oil to be as effective at encouraging hair regrowth as minoxidil, a medication better known as Rogaine®, says Dr. Khetarpal. The 2015 study expanded upon discoveries from previous research in 2013 and 2010, which had suggested the potential of rosemary in combating hair loss.
Why is this?
Rosemary contains a phenolic chemical compound in the plant called carnosic acid. This compound possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant attributes, which can contribute to the revitalization of damaged nerves and tissues within the body. When applied to the scalp, it fosters an environment conducive to the flourishing of hair. Dr. Khetarpal elaborates that by enhancing blood circulation to the scalp, you provide the essential nutrients required for reduced hair shedding, increased hair growth, and overall improved hair health.
3. Pumpkin Seed Oil
A 2014 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study designed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of Pumpkin Seed Oil for treatment of hair growth in male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia concluded that Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) has shown to block the action of 5-alpha reductase and to have antiandrogenic effects on men, acccording to the National Library of Medicine.
In a 24-week study involving 76 men experiencing male pattern hair loss, those who daily took a 400-mg pumpkin seed oil supplement exhibited significantly greater hair growth compared to those who received a placebo. Notably, there were no substantial differences in hair thickness between the two groups. These findings were attributed to the pumpkin seed oil's ability to hinder the production of DHT from testosterone by blocking the alpha-5 reductase enzyme. You can also use the pumpkin seed oil topically for safer use!
4. Stinging Nettle
Research indicates that stinging nettle extract, derived from both its leaves and roots, possesses the capability to reduce the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone hormone produced from testosterone and is known to contribute to substantial hair thinning and hair loss when produced in excessive quantities. Stinging Nettles has been used in bodybuilding to lessen side effects related to hormones, including hair loss caused by steroids. This is likely why stinging nettle is considered a treatment for hair loss due to androgenic alopecia. But it has more uses. Studies show it can:
1. Calm an overactive immune system, which is seen in alopecia areata.
2. Control the production of substances that can harm the scalp and lead to conditions like dandruff.
3. Help with issues like heavy metal exposure and lack of essential minerals, which can cause temporary hair loss.
5. Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto (SP), a botanical extract with antiandrogenic properties, has gained commercial popularity for its purported benefits on hair regrowth. Scientists believe that saw palmetto may have the ability to block the actions of 5-alpha-reductase, which could prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT within the body. The study concluded that saw palmetto extract in either topical or oral formulations may have a role in the treatment of hair loss disorders such as androgenic alopecia (AGA) or Telogen effluvium (TE), demonstrating modest improvement in hair regrowth.
However, because many ongoing trials have limitations due to insufficient information, small sample sizes, and not providing long-term results, it's wise to be cautious when considering their findings, especially if you are considering taking it orally.
6. Green Tea
Green tea has shown potential in supporting healthy hair growth and regrowth.
Within green tea extract, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has demonstrated the ability to safeguard hair cells, promote follicular stimulation, and act as an inhibitor of hormones associated with hair loss. Furthermore, it exerts a calming influence on the brain, which proves advantageous in mitigating physical stimuli that have the potential to induce hair loss or damage.
In a small study, researchers applied a topical extract of EGCG, derived from green tea, to the scalps of three individuals with alopecia. After just four days, there were notable increases in hair growth activity among the participants. EGCG appears to stimulate hair follicles and protect skin and hair cells from damage, promoting hair growth.
Moreover, in a study involving mice experiencing hair loss, 33% of those consuming green tea extract demonstrated hair regrowth after six months, in contrast to no improvements observed in the control group. Nonetheless, the speed and effectiveness of green tea treatments for hair growth in humans, particularly those without hormone-related hair loss, remain uncertain.
Biotin may aid in promoting hair growth for individuals whose hair thinning or loss is attributed to a deficiency in biotin. Biotin, a prominent B vitamin, plays a crucial role in the synthesis of keratin, the protein responsible for the formation of nails, skin, and hair. Various studies, including one conducted in 2016, have indicated that a deficiency in biotin within your body can be a contributing factor to hair loss. In a small-scale study from 2012, women who perceived their hair as thinning reported an improvement in both the overall thickness and growth of their hair after consuming a multivitamin containing biotin.
Biotin is renowned for its role in maintaining healthy hair and is often recommended by dermatologists to combat hair loss concerns. Dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, MD says “We find biotin to be very helpful for hair disorders, it also makes nails thicker, and oral biotin is exceedingly safe.”
It's essential to distinguish between substances that promote hair growth and those that prevent hair loss. At present, there is insufficient research to conclusively affirm that biotin actively stimulates hair growth. Nevertheless, biotin has demonstrated efficacy in preventing balding and hair loss. It is primarily used in cases of alopecia, a condition affecting individuals of all genders. According to Dr. Bergfeld, " “Biotin helps maintain hair growth and helps with inflammation, the hair follicle, the skin and the nails all benefit.”
8. Azealaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring substance that research has shown can inhibit 5-alpha-reductase in human skin. This enzyme typically converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is associated with male pattern hair loss when it accumulates on the scalp. Azelaic acid's ability to block this enzyme can reduce the concentration of DHT on the scalp, potentially facilitating hair regrowth. A 2020 study found that azelaic acid stimulates catalase activation and promotes hair growth through upregulation of Gli1 and Gli2 mRNA and Shh proteinIn hair loss treatment products, it is often added to minoxidil solutions due to its unique mechanism of action in preventing hair loss.
You can commonly find azelaic acid in prescription acne medications. In hair loss treatment products, it is often combined with minoxidil solutions because it operates differently in preventing hair loss. What's even more interesting is that when azelaic acid was used alongside zinc sulfate, it had an even more powerful effect. Dermatologist, Dr. Stamatiadis suggested that the combination of these two compounds might have the potential to treat androgen related conditions.
Azelaic Acid presents a promising option for addressing hair loss, offering affordability, safety, and accessibility as it is available in numerous non-prescription products and side effect associated with topical use of azelaic acid is extremely rare.
Caffeine is a stimulant that increases circulation, allowing beneficial nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to the hair follicles to keep them healthy," explains Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
Caffeine promotes hair growth by reversing the DHT-induced miniaturization of hair follicles. It accomplishes this by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which had previously suppressed cell proliferation in the scalp's hair follicles. When this enzyme is inhibited, the signaling pathways between cells are preserved, enabling them to effectively communicate with hair follicles, ultimately facilitating hair growth.
As of now, the only approved treatments by the FDA for Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) are oral finasteride and topical minoxidil. However, recent advancements have indicated that caffeine might offer benefits to individuals dealing with AGA. The suggested mechanism by which caffeine counters the miniaturization of hair follicles induced by DHT involves the inhibition of phosphodiesterase. This inhibition elevates cAMP levels within cells, leading to increased cell metabolism and promoting proliferation.
Pygeum africanum, also known as the African cherry, is an evergreen tree native to Central and Southern Africa. It boasts wide, dark green leaves and yields petite, white flowers as well as fleshy fruits with a resemblance to cherries. This tree holds a rich heritage in traditional medicine, having been historically utilized for various purposes, including wound healing, appetite stimulation, and arrow poison extraction.
The enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase plays a pivotal role in converting testosterone into DHT, a potent androgen responsible for both male and female pattern baldness. DHT exerts its influence on hair loss by suffocating hair follicles, causing them to gradually shrink. This prolonged effect weakens hair growth, ultimately culminating in hair loss. Pygeum inhibit the production of DHT, a hormone that contributes to male and female hair loss. By enhancing scalp circulation, beta-sitosterol facilitates the delivery of essential oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots and follicles, precisely where they are required, facilitating new hair growth.
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