Dihydrotestosterone is a metabolite that belongs to the testosterone family of hormones. Like testosterone, it plays a role in hair growth but paradoxically results in hair loss across the scalp. To understand what DHT is, we’ll have to explain what androgens are, the role they play in your body, and why DHT is necessary in some ways but aesthetically frustrating in others.
What are androgens?
The term ‘androgens’ applies to the hormones that play a role in male and female reproductivity. As far as men go, this means testosterone, which helps to maintain fertility. In women, androgens help to kick start estrogen synthesis.
Androgens have hundreds of functions across the body, but to maintain those functions they require derivatives. This is where hormones such as testosterone and its further derivative DHT comes in. Aside from your muscles, your body can’t use testosterone in its purest form. Instead, it needs an active version that interacts with the rest of your organs, which is DHT.
Why is DHT important?
To put it into context, DHT needs to be three times stronger than testosterone to achieve its functions. From your skin through to your brain, its presence helps several body systems function. Without it, we would struggle to survive.
However, if you produce too much DHT and you have a genetic predisposition to being sensitive to it, its presence results in hair loss. In other words, you can create too much DHT and not encounter hair loss on your scalp, but unless your genes say otherwise, it won’t affect you. That’s why they call it ‘hereditary hair loss,’ as well as ‘male pattern baldness,’ and ‘androgenic hair loss.’
How does DHT affect the scalp and why?
That genetic susceptibility we’ve mentioned allows DHT to bind to the receptors in your scalp’s follicles. Scientists aren’t sure why, but when they do this, they alter the phases of growth your scalp’s follicles enter. DHT makes your follicles enter the telogen phase, which is where old hairs begin to fall out.
Usually, your hair will eventually move back into anogen; where hairs can grow again. However, DHT prevents this, and the longer it’s allowed to work against your scalp, the more the follicles shrink. As a result, you’re less likely to encounter full hair growth or recover from androgenic hair loss.
It’s for this reason that those encountering hereditary hair loss work towards blocking DHT. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to do this.
Is there a cure?
Male Pattern Baldness isn’t a disease, as much as it’s a hormonal condition. There is no cure, but instead a series of steps that must be taken to balance the hormones. Some may find it to be an impossible task. The results aren’t instantaneous, which can be frustrating. Others will do what is necessary for the long haul, as they understand, they didn’t go bald in one day.
What is the best way to naturally block DHT?
The first step in fighting hair loss and regrow hair naturally is to regulate and balance your hormonal production. Balancing your hormones, allows you to create an ideal environment for your hair follicles to grow. Once you have attacked the underlying issues, you can prevent any further damage caused by excessive DHT to your scalp.
Which hormones should we be focusing on?
Studies have determined which three hormones are involved with male pattern baldness. Testosterone, 5-alpha-reductase, and dihydrotestosterone. As men, we need testosterone. If we were to block it, there are quite a few nasty side effects that come with it, including the following.
- First, is gynecomastia, or enlarged breasts in men. The only large breasts a man wants, are on a woman.
- Second, is a decrease in strength. We need to be able to combat any other men, who try to take our large breasted woman.
- Third, is sexual dysfunction including infertility. If we aren’t performers, no matter how strong, our large breasted woman will not stick around.
To be straight up, we need testosterone for our daily functions as men. This revelation leaves two other hormones to focus on. 5-alpha-reductase, and dihydrotestosterone. These remaining two hormones can be targeted with little to no side effects.
Best DHT blockers supplements
If you’re looking to help kickstart your hair growth, you should invest in the supplement that blocks the dihydrotestosterone from forming, as this hormone is the main culprit of hair loss. Here’s a list of five of the best DHT blocker supplements, and our recommendation for those who are wearing thin – whether on your head or your nerves.
To help you choose the right one, we’ve taken a look at the additional ingredients of all of them.
HairOmega DHT contains Biotin, Vitamins A,C,B Complex, Iodine, Copper, Zinc, Silica and Selenium to also support hair growth and Niacin, Green Tea Extract to support the blood circulation for a better result. Another plus is that they are for vegetarians.
Ultrax Labs Hair Rush DHT Blocker adds Pumpkin Seed Powder for healthier and faster hair growth and boost the follicles with Biotin, Zinc, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium, just to name a few.
Shen MIN DHT Blocker is one of the more budget-orientated ones here on the list and also contains Zinc and Selenium and other natural ingredients to support the follicle growth.
Also totally free of animal products and gluten-free is Advanced Technology DHT Blocker. It adds great benefits by adding Lactobacillus Acidophilus, an ingredient that has proven to have several healthy benefits.
Nu Hair is the only all-natural one here on the list (unfortunately once in a while out of store, so put it on your watch list to get notified when it will become available).
Topical Supplements that focus on inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase.
Why topical solutions? Because we are fighting the effects of an abundance of DHT in a specific location: The scalp. This is where you are losing the battle. If untreated, the hormones will remain on location, and continue to cause damage. We begin our assault, by neutralizing our immediate threat: The active DHT, on location!
How to Prepare our scalp to block DHT
There is something we need to do before we can begin applying topical supplements and treatments. We want to make sure that our scalp is prepared, and exfoliated. This is a war of attrition, and we want to remove the hormones that create DHT. The best way is by performing a scalp peel.
This is far less gruesome than it sounds. It is a cleaning process that revitalizes your scalp. It does so by removing dead skin, cosmetic products, embedded sebum, pollutants, and DHT. Once removed, you’re giving new hair follicles a better chance of pushing through the tight epidermis. This can be achieved by creating an exfoliating peel, like a woman’s beauty mask.
- ½ Tbsp Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1 Tsp Powdered Activated Charcoal
- 3.5oz Ginger and Cucumber Juice
- 1 Whole Lemon, Juiced.
If you have a juicer, this is the preferred method to start your preparation. If you don’t have a juicer, you can always blend these ingredients and strain them with a muslin cloth. First, you’ll juice the ginger root, cucumber, and lemon. Once juiced, combine the salt, charcoal, and mix thoroughly. Mixture complete.
Apply the mixture to the areas where you are experiencing thinning and loss. Let the mixture sit anywhere from seven to ten minutes. You will want to rinse with warm water, but not too hot. Any remaining mixture can be peeled gently from your scalp.
This process works well for preparation of the topical solutions. But if done daily, will overly dry out the scalp. Recommended usage of no more than twice weekly.
The reishi mushroom is known as the mushroom of immortality. They have recently been studied for their effectiveness in fighting prostate ailments. Including enlarged prostates, and prostate cancer, among other dangerous illnesses. The main cause for most of these prostate ailments, are an excessive amount of DHT.
The Reishi mushroom was the dominant winner of that study, versus 18 other mushrooms. It had the largest reduction of 5-alpha-reductase activity. It was measured to block nearly 80% of all activity. This has great potential to help regulate the hormonal battle on your scalp.
Here is the equivalent of a rejuvenation facial mask, but for your scalp:
- ½ Avocado
- 12 Vanilla Essential Oil Drops
- 8 Cherries without pits and peeled
- 4oz Water
- 3 Bunches of Nettles
- 4oz Reishi Mushrooms
Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is at a boil, add reishi mushrooms and nettles to the water. Immediately remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. From there, you will need to strain the tea. Discard solids, and pour what’s left into a blender. Add cherries, vanilla oil, and the half of an avocado. You’ll blend this until it’s smooth and doesn’t have any visible chunks.
Once you have completed your normal shampooing, apply this revitalizing mask to your wet hair. Massage it into your scalp, gently, for three to four minutes. Allow sitting for twenty minutes. Then rinse the mask out. In hindsight, you will be hoping that you spent the extra time to make sure you had blended it very well because it’ll be getting rinsed down the drain. Dry gently.
This rejuvenating mask is very helpful in many ways and more than just inhibiting DHT. It is an elixir of hair health! The cherries and avocado provide moisturization, essential nutrients, and fatty acids. The herbs and essential oils help to stimulate new hair growth.
Long known for their medicinal abilities. That is, once you get past their aggressive defense mechanisms. As an extract, the stinging nettle boasts an impressive resume of beneficial effects. This includes a massive list of beneficial actions. Acting as an antihistamine. Moderating cortisol. Lowering blood pressure. Relieving joint and muscle pain. Fighting enlarged prostates and prostate cancer, and many other conditions. Not to be outdone, it is a known combatant in the fight against DHT, by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase.
Here is a natural shampoo that you can make at home:
- 3 Bunches of Nettles
- 1tsp Coconut Oil
- 12 Rosemary Essential Oil Drops
- 1tsp Tumeric Powder
- 8oz Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1tsp Baking Soda
Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is at a boil, add the bunches of nettles. Immediately remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. From there, you will need to strain the tea. Discard the solids. Pour the herbal tea into a large bowl. Add coconut oil, rosemary essential oil drops, tumeric, and apple cider vinegar. Mix well, before adding the final ingredient, baking soda. Once it’s bubbled down, mix well. It’s now ready for shampooing duties.
When adding vinegar to baking soda, do it slowly. When combined, the two have a strong reaction, producing a bubbling off gas. It is nothing to be alarmed about, and dies down very quickly. It can otherwise rapidly expand and can make quite a mess if you’re not ready for it.
Use this mixture, like you would any other shampoo. In a nice warm shower. Always be gentle with scrubbing your scalp, and try to avoid any abrasive techniques. Be mindful of digging your nails into your scalp, and further agitating them.
This shampoo is very beneficial to your hair. It is jam-packed full of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It is also a great cleanser, thanks to the vinegar and baking soda. The coconut oil helps to moisturize as well. If you don’t feel like making your own shampoo, check our article on the best hair loss shampoo.
From the coastlines of Korea and Japan, there is an alga known as Ecklonia Cava. It can be found in soups and cuisine everywhere. But more than just a food, it has been proven to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase. Applied topically as a whole, it has been found to block nearly 61.6% of all androgen activities! When extracted, dieckol is also present. In combination with the algae, they have proven to be even more potent together. They are as effective as prescription strength finasteride!
Rosemary Oil and Extracts
one of the best dht blocker is Rosemary Oil Extract. It has been able to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activities, by 82.4% to 94.6%, when applied directly to affected areas. That’s on average, much better than prescription strength finasteride, at 81.9%! Most effective use, is to use it in combination with a scalp massage. Care should be used, when massaging into your scalp. Using your nails can damage your already delicate hair follicles.
Can Saw Palmetto block DHT?
Saw Palmetto is a berry plant that is highly capable of inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase. It is best known to reduce the levels of DHT, by blocking the process of DHT creation. It is an ingredient powerful enough to be the main ingredient in the majority of supplements looking to control hair loss. Using Saw Palmetto topically on the affected areas, inhibits the 5 alpha-reductase reaction with testosterone. This also prevents any DHT build-up within your scalp tissues. Saw Palmetto extracts can be found in grocery stores and drug stores for a low cost.
Here is a recommended recipe for topical application of Saw Palmetto:
- 8oz Warm Water
- 1Tbsp Baking Soda
- 1Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Capsule Saw Palmetto
- 3oz Grapefruit Juice
- 3Tsp Grapeseed Oil
Use a large bowl to combine all ingredients. When adding vinegar to baking soda, do it slowly. They have a strong reaction with a bubbling off gas. It is no cause for alarm, and dies down quickly. It will otherwise rapidly expand and can make quite a mess if you’re not ready for it.
The application to the scalp is beneficial in many ways. The apple cider vinegar, grapefruit juice, and grapeseed oil, revitalize the scalp. All the while, the Saw Palmetto does its job of inhibiting the creation of DHT!
Best DHT blocker Shampoo
Below is a list of what I consider to be the best shampoo to block DHT.
To help you choose the right one, we’ve taken a look at the additional ingredients of all of them.
We’ve done a very detailed review on the Hair Restoration Labaroties’ DHT Blocking Shampoo here and with over 20 DHT blocking ingredients in it you won’t find any other product out there that is more packed to fight DHT. You can get it here on Amazon.
Ultrax Labs Hair Surge is a shampoo that we reviewed and tested for a while and saw great effects with it – plus a nice peppermint smell. You can see our full review here and also get it on Amazon here.
We also tested PhytoWorx for a while (read the review here) and can tell you that the added vitamins and minerals and is all-organic with a great scent. It really helps damaged and stressed hair and boosts hair growth a lot. You can get it here.
The hair loss shampoo from re:line adds, in addition to the DHT blocking ingredients, a great volume boost to your hair and caffeine for faster hair growth. If you have thin hair, this is a great choice for you.
No SLS (Sulfates). No Parabens. No Harmful Chemicals. Gluten Free. Hypo-Allergenic. Cruelty-Free – that’s the benefits PURA DOR offers with their Anti Hair Loss Shampoo.
What Foods can block DHT?
As a matter of fact, yes. Topical DHT blockers have their place. They are the immediate action items for preventing male pattern baldness. However, they are shadowed by the long term gains, of taking supplements that can regulate and balance your natural state of hormones. Having hormonal balance will be more beneficial to your long term health. These internal DHT blockers are found in some of our everyday foods and beverages. I’ll describe some of the most potent of them.
Lignans and omega fatty acids, are what mostly make up the composition of flaxseed. It is suggested to be used as a beneficial supplement for adding fiber to your diet. But there is a much larger benefit to flaxseed. It is a major player in restoring hair loss. Not only does it inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, but it also helps grow thick, wide, and heavy hair!
Presented usually in a ground-up form, flaxseed is easy to incorporate into your diet. Due to its somewhat subdued flavor, you can add it to almost anything. It works incredibly well when paired with peanut butter, and most smoothies. If anything, it has a subtle hint of a nutty flavor. Don’t let this mention of flavor detract you from being able to sprinkle some over a salad. It can be mixed into the dressing, or seasoned into anything you’re planning on eating.
As we have heard before, green tea is truly a cure-all supplement. In this instance, the EGCG has proven to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase. But, not all green tea has this benefit. Avoid mass-produced commercial green tea products. Generally, the things that you don’t cook or prepare yourself. Most mass-produced green tea products aren’t what we would consider helpful. Unless you’re looking for an efficient way to fill a bucket full of sugar.
Thankfully, because of the popularity of green tea, there are many healthy ways to include it in your diet. Matcha powder is a preferred way to harness the power of green tea. Interestingly enough, it is nothing more than a powdered form of premium green tea. It is very easy to use! You can stir it into a cup of yogurt, in the morning. You can brew it as a tea, or even make a smoothie with it.
It also has a decent amount of caffeine, so don’t use too much if you are sensitive. Hint: It’s a great way to start the morning!
Pygeum powder is sourced from the bark of a Pygeum Africanum tree. There have been studies showing pygeum bark having a significant role in reducing DHT levels. Men who had an enlarged prostate. That study revealed there was a 2:1 success rate in men who used pygeum powder versus a placebo.
As a powder, it is easy to include in a cup of yogurt or a smoothie. Recommended doses are typically around 100mg/day.
Another proven source of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, sesame seeds are a lignan that blocks the production of DHT. Along with flaxseed powders, sesame seed extracts are incredibly effective. You should not be surprised, as they are full of essential acids, polyphenols, and sterols. These are great for fighting cholesterol and as antioxidants as well.
Being quite common, it is very simple to include this DHT blocker into your diet. Especially if you’re using it in oil form. A dropper full of this in a smoothie will go unnoticed to the palate, but appreciated later. The same goes for adding it to soups and salads. Cook your meals with the oil, or sprinkle the seeds in with your favorite foods.
Did you know that pumpkin seed oil extracts are a rich source of minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Pumpkin seeds and oils, can be a great addition to any topical solutions, but work best when ingested. Recently, there was a study of 76 men who were subject to a 24-week study. At the end of the study, the pumpkin seed oil subjects had made a 44.2% increase in hair growth. In comparison, just 7.7% of the group utilizing the placebo had an increase in growth.
Because pumpkin seeds by themselves are a great snack, it is easy to snack on them throughout the day. You can also put them in salads. You can blend small amounts of the oil into smoothies, for tasteless additions to your daily diet.
When it comes to saving your hair, you’re right. There are initially a few things that will be incredibly difficult to get used to. Luckily, you can take any of the supplements that are internal, and mix them together. You may also develop a plan to use them separately, throughout the day, for an all day effect.
Topically, the preparation is more involved, and more tedious. Although, once you start seeing results, you won’t mind the extra work.
The road to regaining your natural hair growth is a long one, but one that can usually be reversed. Remember, your hair didn’t fall out overnight. The road to recovering those luscious locks won’t be an overnight miracle either.
Be strong. Be consistent. Believe.