What is a dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blocker
Male pattern baldness affects millions of men around the world. It is caused by a genetic sensitivity to a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) .
What is DHT?
DHT prevents nutrients from being absorbed by hair follicles, which causes them to shrink and eventually fall out. Several treatments have been developed to block the effect of DHT and thus help stop or reverse male pattern baldness.
Because many men experience anxiety or depression over their hair loss, it’s understandable that so many seek treatment for it. However, there are many products available that will have no effect upon male pattern baldness. Some may even be harmful to your health. For this reason, it’s important that you only use treatments that have been endorsed by healthcare professionals.
Read on to find out more about which DHT blockers to trust.
Because DHT is known to be the cause of male pattern baldness, it makes sense that “blocking” or inhibiting DHT would help prevent or reverse hair loss. However, this is easier said than done.
Natural DHT blockers (or herbal DHT blockers)
If you search for the term “DHT blockers” on the internet, you will find many products sold as natural or herbal hair loss supplements. These supplements are purported to block the processes of DHT, and therefore prevent hair loss. Examples include:
- Saw palmetto
- Pumpkin seeds
- Green tea
Although you might read positive reviews about the effects of these so-called “natural DHT blockers”, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support these claims.
Taking natural supplements in moderation is unlikely to negatively affect your health. However, they can be expensive, and delay you from taking treatment which actually works.
Medical DHT blockers
There is only one treatment that has been clinically proven and approved to block the effects of DHT, and that is the prescription treatment: finasteride.
Finasteride is the active ingredient of the well-known hair loss treatment Propecia. It is also available in a slightly cheaper generic form, under the label finasteride. Both Propecia and finasteride are prescription medicines, and are not available for free on the NHS for the treatment of hair loss.
Finasteride works by combatting the effects of DHT upon the hair follicles. In this sense, it is a DHT blocker, however it is not referred to by this name in the medical community. As a treatment for male pattern baldness, finasteride is sold in the form of tablets (either as Propecia or generic finasteride). One tablet must be taken every single day for as long as you wish to combat hair loss. Finasteride cannot provide a permanent cure for hair loss, so if you stop taking it, your hair loss will resume. Any new hair that has grown will fall out after you have stopped taking finasteride.
Unlike natural supplements such as saw palmetto, there is a wealth of evidence showing that finasteride is an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. One photographic study, carried out on men with moderate hair loss, showed that 90% of the men stopped losing hair after taking finasteride. This makes it the most effective treatment for blocking DHT and treating male pattern baldness.
Other hair loss treatments
Whilst it’s not technically a DHT blocker, minoxidil (often sold as “Regaine”) is also a highly effective treatment for hair loss. In fact it has been proven to stop male pattern baldness in over 60% of men. Unlike Propecia, Regaine is not a prescription treatment so you can find it in most high street pharmacies.
I’m suffering from male pattern baldness. What should I do?
You should start by speaking to a doctor. They will be able to offer you more advice about your treatment options, bearing in mind that male pattern baldness has no cure..
For further information you can take our free online assessment, and one of our doctors will assess your hair loss and suggest appropriate treatment.