Alopecia Androgenetica (AGA) is the name given to hereditary hair loss and is also the most common form of hair loss. Those affected react sensitively to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is a hormone that defines the greatest enemy of our hair, as the hair follicles shrink. The consequences are very stressful for many affected persons: The hair grows thinner and thinner out of the shrunken follicles.
In this guide, you will learn about the role of DHT in men and women, what the oestrogens are, what types of hair loss can be caused by the destructive hormone and what treatments are proving effective in reducing alopecia.
Not only men, but also women are also affected by hereditary hair loss
As a rule, the course of alopecia androgenetica in women is different from that in men. When women suffer from AGA, it is usually observed that the hair becomes increasingly thinner. The bald spots are usually on the top of the head, where they grow larger from the middle parting. The scalp becomes increasingly visible due to the permanent expansion. Although the hair becomes thinner and thinner, bald spots do not develop in women. Usually the front hairline is also preserved. Only a few women show a pattern of hair loss, which is also visible in affected men.
How many men and women are affected?
Severe alopecia is a widespread problem. Both in men and women. Men are affected much more often: Approximately one in two men experience AGA. It is estimated that about three to six percent of women under 30 suffer from Alopecia Androgenetica. Among women over 70, the figure is as high as 33 percent, i.e. every third woman. But what is the chemical molecule dihydrotestosterone for anyway, if it ultimately damages our hair, and how can we fight it? More on this later.
What does DHT have to do with oestrogen?
Women can also be affected by the DHT effect. However, unlike men, female patients are naturally protected from the harmful effects of DHT for a long time. The protection mechanism is defined by estrogens, the female sex hormones. However, if there are changes in the hormone balance and the oestrogen level drops, there is a risk that the hereditary predisposition will become apparent. This primarily affects the following changes:
- Pill break
First steps of the examination: Estimating the degree of hair loss
To be able to estimate the degree of hair loss, these two scales are used for women:
- Savin scale
- Ludwig Scale
These methods were named after their inventors Dr. Savin and Dr. Ludwig. The Savin method, however, is the more accurate measurement, as the density of the hair is also included.
DHT is not the only cause of Alopecia Androgenetica
Studies show that AGA triggers the sensitivity reaction to dihydrotestosterone in men in virtually all cases. The situation is different for women. Here, in addition to DHT, other factors play a decisive role when it comes to hereditary hair loss. However, researchers have not yet been able to determine these factors in trials. What is known, however, is that hair growth treatment is not only about inhibiting DHT. Stimulating hair growth is also important for a satisfactory result.
What type of hair loss is caused by DHT?
Hereditary hair loss is one of the most common types, accounting for more than 60 percent. Other forms are defined by circular and diffuse hair loss, as well as unspecific forms of hair loss, which can be triggered by the following aspects:
- Mechanical traction
If it is hereditary hair loss, both men and women can benefit from a drug called Minoxidil, which is intended for external use. Alternatively, antiandrogens are used to stop hair loss. This preparation is for internal use only and is intended for women only. Circular hair loss is treated with either dithranol for external use or glucocorticoids for internal and external use. If the bald areas are larger, they can be treated with Topical Immunotherapy. Alternatively, UV-A light can be used. The abbreviation PUVA means: psoralen plus UV-A. This therapy approach defines a combination of long-wave UV light and the so-called psoralen, i.e. the nutrient of various plants, which is contained in their essential oils. Both components are characterized by photosensitizing properties and can be used for therapeutic purposes.
Are there natural DHT inhibitors?
Yes, to be exact, there are a number of natural active ingredients that you can use as DHT blockers. We would like to introduce these to you in the following:
African plum tree (Pygeum africanum)
When the plant is extracted, phytosterols appear as an active ingredient that can inhibit DHT production. Essentially, Pygeum ensures that the DHT content in the blood is reduced. In addition, the number of sites where DHT can settle can be minimized. In order to achieve a synergistic effect in hair loss prevention, the extract is often used in combination with saw palmetto, a plant from the Southeast of the USA.
Pumpkin seed oil
With regard to the dark green, almost black shimmering oil, scientists were able to prove that DHT formation can be controlled with it. Basically, pumpkin seed oil destroys DHT in the liver and is particularly suitable for age-related hair loss.
This is a strong antioxidant, which has numerous positive effects:
Whether as tea or in the form of extract pills: Green tea can stop unwanted hair loss and facilitate regrowth thanks to the catechins and flavonele contained.
The oil actually keeps what its name promises: it is extracted from emus. To be more precise, from the fatty tissue of “Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae” or its subspecies. And even if it is an oil, it is still fat-free. You can spread the highly effective antiandrogen on your scalp in the evening, let it work overnight and thus fight the annoying hair loss.
This is not directly a DHT blocker, but an amplifier of other DHT blockers. Studies have shown that L-lysine, in combination with other blocking products, can help promote hair growth.
This is an excellent product when it comes to strategies to curb annoying hair loss. Not only can the scalp be significantly nourished by jojoba, but also the general health can be improved. Well-documented cleansing properties on the scalp are combined with anti-aging effects that can promote hair growth in its entirety.
The cactus plant primarily impresses with its antibacterial and moisturising properties. The medicinal plant contains several active ingredients which prove to be effective in the prevention of hair loss:
- B Vitamins
The plant also ensures that the hair follicles are better supplied with blood as soon as the gel from the thick leaves is massaged into the scalp.
This is a very popular food supplement, which promises us not only beautiful hair, but also beautiful skin and fingernails. Biotin is also known as vitamin H and is used to promote hair growth, protect against dryness and support the biosynthesis of unsaturated fats.
What does the body need DHT for anyway?
One of the most important hormones in our body is the sex hormone testosterone, which is primarily responsible for male development. It occurs in both the male and female body, but differs there not only in its concentration but also in its mode of action. This mode of action refers to its activity as a hormone precursor for DHT, i.e. its biologically most active form. This in turn means that a transformation must take place: from testosterone to DHT. A specific enzyme is responsible for conversion and regulation. The name of the enzyme: 5-alpha-reductase. The conversion to DHT takes place in the target cell. The target cell contains the enzyme and 5-alpha reductase.
The linolenic acid contained in the emu oil presented above defines a potent inhibitor of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme and is therefore suitable for the treatment of all diseases related to DHT. Before you take medication and run the risk of having to deal with unpleasant side effects, you should add emu oil to your diet. The same applies to cayenne pepper, as it ensures that the blood circulation is stimulated. Hair follicles with good blood circulation are essential for unrestricted hair growth. The red colour of chilli pepper is due to its high content of vitamin A, which is essential for the following factors:
- Healthy immune system
- Cell activity
- Normal vision
It is best to round off your eating habits with the addition of Ylan Ylang. The plant is a subspecies of the annone family and produces a valuable oil which is used to combat unwanted hair loss and at the same time stimulates hair growth.