About DHT, the hair killer
DHT is the hormone known to be the responsible cause of Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as Male and Female Pattern Baldness.
DHT is a testosterone by-product that is produced by the conversion of free testosterone in the body, via the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This conversion is known to happen locally in many areas of the body, and is the most important bodily function to take place during male puberty. DHT interacts with androgen receptors around the body to perform its functions. In the case of Pattern Hair Loss, the DHT interacts with androgen receptors at the base of your hair follicles, causing the shrinkage of hair follicles.
Over time, if untreated, the result is that the DHT will alter the growth cycle of the hair and the size of the follicle itself. DHT causes each growth phase to shorten and resting phase to lengthen with each passing hair growth cycle. Eventually the result will be a dormant hair follicle, that can no longer grow a hair. Once a hair follicle has become dormant, it is unable to ever regrow a hair follicle in the future and is lost.
The rate at which DHT is cause hair loss is determined by your own genetics, which is why pattern baldness is also known as genetic hair loss. The position and amount of androgen receptors that you have at the base of your hair follicles are determined by the genetics you inherited from both parents. The sensitivity to DHT, is determined by the androgen receptors you have inherited, as DHT is present in everyone. For some people even, a small amount of DHT is enough to start the hair loss process, such is their sensitivity to it.
Medications, such as Finasteride, and natural remedies, such as Saw Palmetto, can be successful at preventing the conversion of testosterone to DHT and preventing any further hair loss. Treating genetic hair loss as soon as possible is the key to keeping a hold of your hair.