Buying expensive hair growth products do not guarantee instant and effective results for your hair. Your mane's quality does not only depend on your hair growth shampoo or conditioner. Many factors, such as your body's hormones, influence your hair's length, texture, and density.
Hormones, chemical compounds produced by the endocrine glands, regulate different biological activities, such as nutrient metabolism, cognitive processes, and sexual functions. Even your hair growth relies on the power of hormones.
A particular hormone known as DHT has been linked to hair loss problems. What is this hormone all about, and how can it affect hair growth?
Learn more about this controversial hormone and discover ways to control this super-testosterone.
DHT, the Super-Testosterone
Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is produced when the androgen testosterone undergoes conversion. This potent hormone is mostly responsible for the male's sexual characteristics. DHT is also in-charge of pubic hair growth for both males and females.
Testosterone conversion to DHT is made possible by the gonads and the integumentary system. DHT production also depends on the testosterone levels in the body. Thus, depletion of androgens can also lower the amount of dihydrotestosterone.
How does the body transform testosterone into DHT? According to the Society of Endocrinology, DHT production is regulated by your brain's hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
When your brain detects a decrease in testosterone levels, your hypothalamus sends gonadotrophin-releasing hormones to your pituitary gland. The endocrine gland then releases luteinizing hormones to be received by the gonads' Leydig cells. These cells then activate testosterone production, leading to DHT conversion.
The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is the catalyst for DHT formation. This enzyme is present in your hair follicles and sebaceous glands. An increase of 5-alpha-reductase indicates the proliferation of dihydrotestosterone in the body.
Since men and women have androgens in the body, both are susceptible to DHT imbalance. Below are the effects of DHT levels on your body.
Effects of Low DHT Levels in the Body
What will happen if your body produces too little dihydrotestosterone? Here are some of its adverse effects.
1. The onset of puberty is delayed.
Dihydrotestosterone is an essential hormone for sexual development. Thus, a decrease in DHT levels can impede genitals from maturing and other secondary sexual characteristics from developing.
2. Prenatal development is put at risk.
A series of studies explained the importance of DHT in fetal development. Testosterone and androsterone are essential in masculinization. These androgens are converted into DHT, which are needed in the creation of male genitals. Investigations show that low DHT levels can cause abnormalities in male sexual development.
3. Hair growth may slow down.
Testosterone is an essential catalyst for hair growth. Without enough testosterone, hair growth begins to slow down. Eventually, this gradual process will lead to hair loss.
Outcomes of Excess DHT Production
On the other hand, excess DHT production also has negative consequences. Here are the risks of too much DHT in the body.
1. It can cause amenorrhea.
Amenorrhea happens when menstrual periods are absent. Several factors can cause amenorrhea. Aside from pregnancy, a defect with a hormone-producing gland can be the root of this medical condition. When the pituitary gland or the ovaries malfunction, it becomes more difficult to curb DHT production. Thus, a hormonal imbalance can stop your ovaries from releasing eggs, leading to amenorrhea.
2. It can lead to infertility.
An excessive amount of androgens can prevent a woman from ovulating during a menstrual cycle, leading to a condition identified as polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is caused by an irregularity of reproductive hormones in the body. If the egg is not developed and released by the ovary, it will be difficult for the woman to become pregnant.
3. It triggers acne.
Hormonal fluctuations can activate acne breakouts. A disturbance in DHT levels can trigger sebum overproduction. In this case, bacterial invasions can occur, thereby causing acne.
4. It impairs wound healing.
Research shows that DHT slows down wound healing. This potent androgen prevents re-epithelialization, a process of restoring the skin's epithelium. Because DHT inhibits epithelial cell regeneration, it delays the wound repair.
5. There is excessive hair growth in the body.
Testosterone promotes hair growth. Therefore, an extreme amount of DHT in a woman's body can trigger excessive body and facial hair growth.
6. Hair follicles shrink and die.
A surge of DHT levels in the body may affect your hair follicles. The androgen receptors on the scalp allow DHT to bind the follicles. Thus, an extreme amount of DHT may miniaturize follicles. The shrunken follicles will eventually die since they won't receive enough nutrients for hair growth.
7. It can lead to hair loss.
An excessive amount of DHT in the body is strongly linked to male and female alopecia. DHT overproduction is a threat to the hair's life cycle. It can shorten the lifespan of the hair growth phases, namely the anagen, catagen, and telogen. If any of the growth phases is disrupted, it will lead to thinning hair and hair loss.
How to Control DHT Levels
No matter how powerful this super-testosterone is, you can still regulate its levels on the body. Below are various ways of preventing DHT from causing havoc.
1. Use products with DHT Blockers
DHT receptors surround your hair follicles. Therefore, it is vital to prevent DHT from harming those follicles. One effective way is to use hair growth products loaded with DHT blockers. Many of these DHT inhibitors can be found in natural ingredients.
Aloe vera is an excellent source of DHT blockers. This plant-based ingredient contains linoleic acid, which can inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. Aloe vera also has phytosterols, which can reduce DHT formation.
Seeds such as grape seeds, flax seeds, and black sesame seeds are also potent sources of DHT blockers. These legumes are also loaded with linoleic acid, a fatty acid known to nudge out DHT and its adverse effects.
2. Have an adequate sleeping time.
Sleep deprivation is associated with DHT production. Whenever you are fast asleep, your melatonin hormones are at work. These sleep-regulating hormones are also crucial in battling DHT. Melatonin does not only get rid of the free radicals. It also blocks the DHT receptors on your follicles and reduces the levels of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.
3. Avoid stressful situations.
When you are under a stressful event, your body produces the 'fight-or-flight' hormone identified as cortisol. Studies show that large amounts of cortisol can affect hair follicle growth. An extreme imbalance can push your follicles into the telogen phase. The sudden change can cause your hair to fall out prematurely, a hair loss condition known as the telogen effluvium.
Stress can be triggered due to several factors, such as inadequate sleep. Sleep allows your cells and organs to regenerate, thereby returning the body into its healthy state. Without enough sleep, your endocrine glands may start to malfunction, causing your hormonal levels to become erratic. DHT production can fluctuate, causing unwanted physical changes in the body.
4. Massage your scalp regularly.
A good scalp massage provides many hair growth benefits. First, it reduces stress levels. Massaging your scalp signals your brain to release happy chemicals. Second, when you feel more relaxed, your hormonal levels return to its normal state. Therefore, a scalp massage can prevent DHT levels from shifting. Third, massaging your head stimulates proper blood circulation, allowing enough blood to deliver oxygen to your hair follicles. Lastly, it can also remove the oil and dirt build-up on your scalp, thereby preventing dandruff formation.
5. Enjoy foods with natural DHT blockers.
Eating a nutritious meal is necessary for regulating your hormonal levels. Thus, you need an ample amount of vitamins and minerals that can help you fight against DHT.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with DHT-blocking properties. It is also responsible for the red-pigmented color of some fruits and veggies. Therefore, fill your plate with lycopene-loaded foods such as carrots and tomatoes.
Aside from lycopene, phytoestrogens are also plant-derived DHT blockers. These chemical compounds can imitate estrogens, which can lessen the dangerous effects of DHT. Hence, eat a hearty supply of legumes such as soybeans, dried beans, flax seeds, and mung beans to get your daily dose of phytoestrogens.
Healthy hair growth does not only rely on DHT blockers. Your body needs a generous amount of hair vitamins and other nutrients to boost your hair growth's quality and quantity.
DHT: Is It Good or Bad for Hair Growth?
Dihydrotestosterone is both good and bad for the body. DHT is an essential sex hormone for body and pubic hair growth. A deficiency in DHT can lead to poor hair growth. However, high levels of DHT also pose a threat to hair growth. Hence, it is vital to keep your lifestyle healthy to prevent your body from overproducing DHT. You must also use hair growth products with natural DHT blockers for further protection against hair loss problems.