Most hair loss in men is caused by the action of dihydrotestostrone, or DHT. DHT is produced from testosterone with the help of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Since men have higher levels of testosterone than women, men tend to suffer from greater hair loss as they age. Once created, DHT binds itself to the hair follicles, causing them to shrink in size. It thickens the scalp, reducing blood flow. The hair follicles atrophy, and, when each strand of hair reaches the end of its natural life cycle, it falls out and is not replaced by new growth as it normally would be. This cycle leads to male pattern baldness.
Less frequently, hair loss can be caused by other factors. Certain medical treatments cause hair loss as a side effect. Chemotherapy, radiation, and blood thinning medication are the most frequently encountered. Hypothyroidism and fungal infections can also cause hair loss. Extreme emotional stress or sudden changes in diet can be factors that produce hair loss in some people. And ongoing stress can slow hair growth. If you have ruled out the above causes, however, chances are the cause is male pattern baldness due to the action of DHT. Clinical studies have shown that 95% of hair loss in both men and women is, in fact, caused by DHT.
The good news is that male pattern baldness can be halted and even reversed. Effective hair loss treatments work by inhibiting DHT. Some also work directly on the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. For a hair loss product to be effective, it must significantly effect the DHT levels in your body. When this is achieved, hair follicles begin to regenerate and new hair growth begins to appear where the hair follicles were previously in atrophy. Hair loss treatments must be used consistently to maintain a lower level of DHT in the body over time. Treatment should also be continued even after hair loss has been halted. Discontinuing treatment allows DHT levels to spike once again, beginning the process that leads to hair loss.
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