If you spend enough time researching hair loss, you’re bound to come across products and natural remedies advertised "DHT blockers." To understand what this actually means, we need to first talk a little bit about science and what we know about balding.
For starters, DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone. It is a hormone that’s derived from testosterone and is believed to be the reason why a number of guys experience hair loss, especially hereditary hair loss. Interestingly enough, it’s part of the reason why we get body hair, develop a deep voice, and are able to grow muscles and increase our strength – it’s also linked to having a healthy sex drive.
But you know the saying:* nothing in this world’s for free.* Despite all of DHT’s benefits, it’s also one of the reasons why we lose our hair. While scientists are still trying to fully understand how and why DHT causes balding, they have found that DHT, when converted from testosterone locally at hair follicles, is the primary cause of male pattern baldness. It’s important to note that the DHT is produced inside the follicles, which is why some of the topical ointments on the market are met with minimal success unless they contain a sticky, oil-like substance that penetrates the scalp and attacks DHT head on.
More on DHT Blockers
Now that you know a little bit about DHT and what it does, it’s easier to understand why DHT blockers are a thing.
So, do they work?
Well, it depends on your definition of effectiveness. If you're expecting for DHT blockers to magically erase all negative effects of male pattern baldness then no, they do not work. But if you’re looking for something that could help slow down or prevent further hair loss when added to your daily routine, then DHT blockers could be right for you.
But before you go out and spend a large portion of your paycheck on every remedy with DHT in the description, you need to understand a couple of things. First, there is no magic fix to hair loss. Scientists have not discovered a way to reverse or eradicate male pattern baldness. Anyone who says otherwise might as well be selling you snake oil and energy bracelets. What scientists* have found *
Secondly, be careful of what you see advertised as herbal, organic, all-natural, holistic, or any other buzzwords that essentially mean *not real medicine. *The jury is still out on whether many of these natural treatments work or not, and right now there’s little scientific evidence to support most of these remedies.
DHT Blockers That Actually Work
Now that we have that behind us, we can take a look at ways to actually help prevent hair loss. The good news is that there are a number of different ways that you can treat male pattern baldness, and many of these methods become more effective when used together as part of a daily regimen. Here are some ways to block DHT and protect your hair.
DHT-blocking shampoos and conditioners
Used the same way as regular shampoo and conditioner, these DHT-blocking hair care products have been proven to help in the fight against baldness. This is because of an active chemical
The benefit of using DHT-blocking hair products is that they’re quick and easy to use. The downside is that people with sensitive skin could experience discomfort, so consult a doctor if your shampoo and conditioner are causing your scalp to itch or burn.
Finasteride is a pill that's taken once a day and has been known help prevent balding in a number of men – 83% to be exact. Finasteride has been extremely effective for a number of men struggling with receding hairlines and thinning hair. Not only has it helped stop male pattern baldness in its tracks for many of its users, a 66% of the men observed in clinical trials experienced hair regrowth in areas that have been affected by hair loss. And best of all, most people don't experience side effects from taking finasteride.
However, it is important to note that approximately 2% of men taking finasteride experience sexual side effects like lowered libido and difficulty maintaining erections. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind before taking finasteride – although many of the people who experienced these side effects reported that they went away while they continued taking the medication, and side effects went away immediately for people who stopped taking finasteride.
Also known as vitamin B7, Biotin is a supplement that has been linked to stronger hair and nails. While there are a number of questionable "natural" hair loss remedies with little scientific basis, biotin has proven its effectiveness. Scientific studies have found that people who take biotin supplements are more likely to counteract hair thinning and increase hair growth than those who don’t. Not bad for an over-the-counter supplement, eh?
Getting the Full Effect
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about DHT blockers, let’s take a look at another popular hair loss treatment: minoxidil. This topical solution is available in both 2% and 5% form. When applied directly to your scalp twice a day, it will help to prevent your hairline from receding and your hair from thinning. Using it alongside other treatments will greatly increase your chances of keeping a lush, full head of hair.
The best way to stop hair loss is to wage a full-on war against male pattern baldness. That means coming up with a treatment program that incorporates a number of different DHT blockers and other remedies designed to stop hair loss dead in its tracks.
Important Safety Information
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Finasteride is for use by MEN ONLY and should NOT be used by women or children.
Read this Patient Information before you start taking Finasteride and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.
What is Finasteride?
Finasteride is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).
It is not known if Finasteride works for a receding hairline on either side of and above your forehead (temporal area).
Finasteride is not for use by women and children.
Who should not take Finasteride?
Do not take Finasteride if you:
- are pregnant or may become pregnant. Finasteride may harm your unborn baby.
- Finasteride tablets are coated and will prevent contact with the medicine during handling, as long as the tablets are not broken or crushed. Females who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not come in contact with broken or crushed Finasteride tablets.
- If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken Finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in Finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
are allergic to any of the ingredients in Finasteride. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients in Finasteride.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking Finasteride? Before taking Finasteride, tell your healthcare provider if you:
have any other medical conditions, including problems with your prostate or liver
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How should I take Finasteride?
- Take Finasteride exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
- You may take Finasteride with or without food.
If you forget to take Finasteride, do not take an extra tablet. Just take the next tablet as usual.
Finasteride will not work faster or better if you take it more than once a day.
What are the possible side effects of Finasteride?
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
There may be an increased risk of a more serious form of prostate cancer in men taking finasteride at 5 times the dose of Finasteride.
The most common side effects of Finasteride include:
- decrease in sex drive
- trouble getting or keeping an erection
a decrease in the amount of semen
The following have been reported in general use with Finasteride:
- breast tenderness and enlargement. Tell your healthcare provider about any changes in your breasts such as lumps, pain or nipple discharge.
- decrease in sex drive that continued after stopping the medication;
- allergic reactions including rash, itching, hives and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face;
- problems with ejaculation that continued after stopping medication;
- testicular pain;
- difficulty in achieving an erection that continued after stopping the medication;
- male infertility and/or poor quality of semen.
in rare cases, male breast cancer.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Finasteride. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA1088.
How should I store Finasteride?
- Store Finasteride at room temperature between 59˚F to 86˚F (15˚C to 30˚C).
Keep Finasteride in a closed container and keep Finasteride tablets dry (protect from moisture).
Keep Finasteride and all medicines out of the reach of children.
General information about the safe and effective use of Finasteride.
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in this Patient Information. Do not use Finasteride for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Finasteride to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.