Hair issues have recently grown to a new annoying peak. With more-than-ever increasing stress, air pollution, water pollution, and diet falling down, lifestyle is facing a degradation. But there are a few disorders that have little to do with pollution and more to do with heredity. One such issue is male pattern baldness, also known as hair thinning, also known as androgenic alopecia. And what is the main culprit behind this? It is the devilish DHT.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how DHT causes hair thinning and what we can do to tackle it.
Understanding DHT and Hair Growth
We rarely can understand an issue without understanding about the area that it affects. Similarly, to understand how DHT causes hair thinning, it's important to first understand the basics of hair growth. Each hair on your scalp grows from a hair follicle, which is a tiny sac beneath the skin. These follicles contain hair roots and blood vessels that supply nutrients to the hair. If we think of these hair follicles as pods where lifelessness happens, we won’t be wrong at all. These follicles take nutrition from blood vessels and turn this nutrition into stronger hair. As the hair grows, it passes through the follicle and out of the skin.
Hair growth is regulated by a variety of factors, including hormones. One of these hormones is testosterone. Testosterone, which many consider to be a manly thing, is produced in the testes (in men) and the ovaries and adrenal glands (in women). Testosterone is converted into DHT by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which is present in the hair follicles. But why does it happen?
Why does testosterone get converted into DHT?
The reason why 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into DHT is that DHT is a more potent androgen than testosterone. Androgens are hormones that play a key role in the development and maintenance of male characteristics, such as
• the growth of facial and body hair,
• deepening of the voice,
• development of the male reproductive system, etc.
Why it happens is because DHT is more potent than testosterone as it binds more strongly to androgen receptors in target tissues. This stronger binding activates the androgen receptors more strongly and leads to a more pronounced androgenic effect. This is why DHT is responsible for the development of male-pattern baldness and prostate enlargement, which are conditions that are sensitive to androgen levels. Sensitivity means that a slight change in the levels and you see impact manifesting itself as a disorder.
The Role of DHT in Hair Loss
DHT plays an important role in the development of male sex characteristics, but it can also lead to hair thinning over time. When DHT binds to receptors in the hair follicles, it causes them to shrink and produce thinner, weaker hairs. This process is known as miniaturization, and it can eventually lead to the follicle becoming completely inactive, resulting in permanent hair loss.
Interestingly, not all hair follicles are equally sensitive to DHT. Some follicles are more susceptible to the effects of DHT than others, which is why hair loss often occurs in a specific pattern. In men, hair loss typically begins at the hairline and crown and progresses over time. Women with androgenetic alopecia tend to experience more diffuse hair thinning across the scalp.
Now, here is a bit more of science - DHT shortens the anagen phase by increasing the production of a protein called transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) in hair follicles. TGF-β1 is a signaling molecule that plays a role in regulating the hair growth cycle. When TGF-β1 levels are increased, it can lead to a premature transition of hair follicles from the anagen phase to the catagen (transitional) phase, and then to the telogen (resting) phase. This premature transition leads to a shorter anagen phase, which means that hairs spend less time growing and more time resting. This results in a gradual decrease in hair length and density over time.
What to do? Here are some simple solutions to put a halt to the pace of hairfall:
• Minoxidil Topical Solution
• Hair Transplant
• Stress releasing activities like meditation, yoga, etc.
• Oil massage.
Always consult your doctor first before going for these treatments. When buying minoxidil or hair oil, look for a quality one. You may get these at a lower cost on eBay alternatives that deal in health and beauty products.
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