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4 DHT Blocking Treatments You Should Know

By Alexa Gozali
Reviewed by Jennifer T. Haley, MD, FAAD on February 16, 2021
Male pattern baldness is a common form of hair loss that is caused by excess dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Thankfully there are several effective treatment options available today to help manage hormone-based hair loss.

Male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss occurs when too much of the sex hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is produced. According to the Birmingham Dermatology Clinic, excessive levels of this hormone can cause hair loss. But there are ways to help manage this type of hair loss including medication, natural remedies, and light therapy.

Male pattern baldness is a form of androgenetic alopecia and is identified by its distinct pattern leading to a receding hair-line. Androgenetic alopecia can also affect women but follows a different hair loss pattern, with uniform thinning all over the scalp or widening of the part. 

But why does this occur? The answer is hormones. DHT is a sex hormone that is a derivative of testosterone, but excess amounts of this hormone can affect the hair follicles. DHT interferes with the hair’s growth cycle, shrinking and shortening the hair making it easier for it to fall out and more difficult for it to grow back. 

Thankfully, there are a number of effective treatments that work to inhibit and block the production of DHT. These include: 

1. Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a topical agent that is available over the counter in two strengths, 2% and 5%. Minoxidil stimulates hair growth by increasing the growth phase cycle, shortening the resting phase, and increasing the blood flow to the hair follicle. 

“I usually have my patients start with the 5% dose due to greater efficacy, and recommend going down to the 2% dose, if irritation develops, which is rare,” Betty Park, MD, a dermatologist in Dallas, Texas tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

2. Finasteride

Finasteride is an oral, prescription-only medication that works by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. Originally developed to treat an enlarged prostate, finasteride works by blocking DHT from shrinking the hair follicles. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), finasteride may damage the developing genitals of male fetuses which is why women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not take this drug. Finasteride may have side effects including decreased sex drive, gynecomastia (breast development in men), and depression.

3. Pumpkin Seed Oil

If you are looking for a more natural option, pumpkin seed oil has shown some promising effects on its ability to inhibit DHT. In fact, its effects on DHT have been studied for many years in relation to its effects on enlarged prostates. According to a 2014 study published by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine participants showed a 40% increase in hair growth after taking 400mg of pumpkin seed oil for 24 months when compared to a placebo. 

4. Light Therapy

While this treatment does not directly block the production of DHT, low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) has been shown to promote hair growth in men with androgenic alopecia. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Dermatology showed that patients treated with LLLT for 26 weeks found significantly greater increases in hair density than in patients given false treatments.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Today. 

The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible damage. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a fuller head of hair.