Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a steroid hormone stronger than testosterone. The hormone causes body and facial hair to start growing on men and is important for men to reach sexual maturity.
Later in life, DHT has a negative effect on the hair follicles and causes the hair follicles to shrink. The longer the hair follicle is subjected to DHT, the smaller it gets. At the same time, the hair grows shorter and thinner. DHT also causes the hair to enter the dormant phase quicker, meaning that the hairs grow thinner and shorter and decrease in numbers. These factors together contribute to a noticeable thinning of the hair.
What is DHT?
All human bodies have testosterone. The testosterone converts into DHT from an enzyme called alpha reductase. The enzyme can be blocked by certain medicines such as Finasteride, while PRP can focus on giving the hair follicle the boost it needs to produce hair.
DHT may cause hirsutism, a clinical condition affecting women with high levels of DHT that causes increased male hair growth on face or body. DHT also causes androgen alopecia (hereditary hair loss), which is common among men, but may also affect women.
DHT’s effect on the hair follicle
Hair follicles exposed to DHT for any length of time will diminish in size. When the hair follicle shrinks, the hair follicle no longer produces hair as strong and the hair does not grow as quickly. Eventually, the hair follicle stops producing hair.
Both men and women may have DHT and this may cause thinner hair. Androgens may have different effects on the hair on different parts of the body. While the hair on certain parts of the body may display good hair growth, such as the face or the chest, DHT may cause the hair on other parts of the body to grow thinner and thinner, such as the hair on the scalp.
Solutions for DHT
There are medicines that reduce the effect of DHT. These are medicines such as Finasteride and Minoxidil, which inhibit the production of the enzyme alpha reductase and thereby block DHT from manifesting around the hair follicles. For women, medicine containing spironolactone may also inhibit hirsutism. The downside of these medicines is that side effects may occur, and the medicine must be taken regularly in order to have an effect. If you’re careless with the medicine or stop taking it, the levels of the enzyme will return and the hair follicles will be affected by DHT.
PRP treatment has proven to be highly effective in stopping the negative effect DHT has on the hair follicle if the treatment begins in time before the hair follicle is completely shrunken.
DHT decreases the size of the hair follicle, which in turn inhibits hair growth. PRP has the opposite effect on the hair follicle. Blood plasma is injected into the scalp and the growth factors in the blood plasma stimulate the stem cells surrounding the hair follicles. The hair follicles expand, and the hair follicle may then produce a stronger hair. Hair growth also increases with PRP.
PRP has no side effects as the patient’s own blood is used. And after 3 treatments, the patient usually only needs to have one PRP treatment every six months to maintain the positive effect of PRP.
However, if you have very high levels of DHT, it’s possible that PRP will not have as great of an effect because the negative effect of DHT cancels out the positive effect of PRP.
If the hair loss has continued for any length of time, or you are looking for a more permanent solution, a hair transplant may be a better option for you. During a hair transplant, we take hair follicles from an area rich in hair and relocate them to an area lacking hair. There, the new hair follicles will take root and new hair will start to grow in the area.
The transplanted hair follicles are usually harvested from the back of the neck, where the hair is genetically coded not to fall out, but it is also possible to take hair from the chest, for example, if there is not a sufficient amount of hair on the back of the head.