What Causes Hair Loss – DHT?

John Maddock

John Maddock

Hi, I'm John. About age 30 my hair started receding. After trying lots of products I eventually decided on a hair transplant. And now I have my hair back.

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What Causes Hair Loss – DHT?

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Easily the best choice I’ve ever made!​

What causes hair loss? There are different forms of hair loss but the most common is Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as Male Pattern Baldness in men (MPB), or Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) in women. For 95% of male hair loss sufferers the type of hair loss experienced is MPB. FPHL accounts for approximately 50% of female hair loss sufferers. It’s varied more in women due to different hormonal factors or influences, such as contraception for example. For men MPB is a fairly safe assumption. For women, especially younger women experiencing hair loss I would advise speaking to your doctor. FPHL doesn’t usually present itself until your 50’s or 60’s. Whether you are male or female it does no harm to consult a doctor and have your prognosis confirmed before starting to treat your hair loss. Knowing your type of hair loss is essential before beginning treatment.

What does Androgenetic Alopecia look like?The hair on the top of your head is genetically predisposed to being vulnerable to hair loss. Men see the effects in the crown or at the hairline first. Your hair becomes thinner and your scalp may become more exposed, you may even notice hair falling out. You may see your hairline recede, or a bald patch starting to form at the crown. For some men a small amount of hair loss is completely natural as you age and it may stop. For others it may continue eventually leading to full baldness on top. 25% of men may see issues start to form around age 21. 60% of men see issues by their mid 30’s. Women normally retain their hairline, but notice tinning or short hairs that won’t grow past a certain length all over the top of the head. For women this doesn’t typically start until your 50’s or 60’s, but it can occur as early at your 30’s or 40’s.

Male-Hair-Loss-Chart
Female-Hair-Loss-Chart

What causes Androgenetic Alopecia and how do I treat it? The most widely acknowledged cause of Androgenetic Alopecia (MPB or FPHL) is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). You will only make progress when you accept this and start to address the root cause of the issue, DHT. I spent nearly 3 years wasting time and money on other theories, such as diet, supplements, lifestyle changes, when and how I would wash my hair etc. This was a complete waste of my time and money. And I missed my window of opportunity to reverse my situation with products, leaving surgery as my only option to restore my hairline.

What is Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT? DHT is simply a by-product of your testosterone. Both men and women have testosterone and the body converts and uses it for different things. It plays an essential role in your development in your teen years for example. Testosterone is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5-Alpha Reductase (5AR). Your skin produces an oily substance called Sebum, which protects and moisturises it. Sebum contains DHT. DHT attacks and weakens your hair follicles. First it weakens the follicles making them look thinner. Then the hairs start to fall out and not grow back. And then eventually the follicles die and are unable to grow hairs anymore. This process is called Miniaturisation. The hair on the top of your head is genetically predisposed to being more susceptible to the negative effects of DHT.

How can you combat DHT? Testosterone is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5-Alpha Reductase (5AR). You can supress the action of 5AR with oral medications like Finasteride (Propecia tablets). Finasteride is said to lower your DHT levels by 60-70%. Lowering your DHT stops it attacking you hair follicles, giving them a better environment to grow in. This has been the most effective product I have used to date. Another option is to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles with topical products such as Minoxidil (Regaine or Rogaine foam). Stimulating the follicles is said to prolong and promote hair growth. However it is important to note that products like this do no address the root cause, which we know is DHT. So whist Minoxidil is highly rated it is said to become less effective over time. Another option is to use supplements to either lower your DHT levels or increase your blood flow. Saw Palmetto for example is said to lower your DHT levels. I’ve seen some success with supplements, but so far I’ve found this method to be the least effective.

What is Miniaturisation? Miniaturisation is when hair follicles reduce in diameter and therefore produce finer, thinner looking hairs. The follicles will also have a shorter Anagen (growth) phase. So the hairs will also not grow as long as they used to. Miniaturisation continues making the hairs finer and finer until the follicles cannot grow hairs anymore. If you catch your hair loss early enough you can reverse Miniaturisation. If the follicles have stopped producing hairs though you may have missed your window of opportunity.  

Follicle Miniaturisation

What are the phases of hair growth, and what does this mean?

Phase 1 – Anagen (The Growing Phase). This phase lasts between 2 and seven years. As you age the Anagen phase can reduce.

Phase 2 – Catagen (The Transition Phase). This lasts about 10 days. The hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papilla.  

Phase 3 – Telogen (The Resting Phase). The resting phase lasts around 3 months. At any given point between 10 – 15% of our hairs are in this phase.

Phase 4 – Exogen (The Shedding Phase). Exogen is a part of the resting phase where the old hair sheds. You can shed between 50 and 150 hairs daily. This is normal and you may not even notice it.

Phase 5 – Kenogen (The Empty Phase). Between Exogen and Anagen the follicle can appear empty for a period.

Follicle Growth Phases

What this means is that if you start to treat your hair loss with products you will not notice a difference overnight. You may start to see improvements around 3 months. But it will most likely take a year for you to see the full effect of the product you are using.

I got my transplant at the Hair Palace in Budapest. Get a free assessment with their experts today!

John talked me through his experience in Budapest. This gave me the confidence to go there too. I’m so glad a did!

I’ve just got back from Budapest. I’m really happy with my transplant. I can’t wait for it to start growing. Thanks John

Top 5 Reasons to go abroad for a Hair Transplant

1. Save at least 60% on the cost

A hair transplant in Europe is at least 60% cheaper than in the UK. And most packages are all inclusive, including your accommodation and airport transfers.

2. Europe has some of the most experienced surgeons in the world

Europe has more clinics, which have been established and running for much longer than clinics in the UK. The price is also lower, making it more accessible for people. Surgeons in Europe will have carried out hundreds, if not thousands more procedures than UK based surgeons. Because of this some UK clinics will bring in surgeons from Europe to carry out your procedure.

3. Hair restoration clinics in Europe are state or the art

Many facilities in Europe are dedicated hair restoration clinics. They only perform that type of treatment. As such all equipment, facilities, techniques and staff are specialists in hair restoration. Hair restoration is only now becoming more popular in the UK, so many UK clinics are general cosmetic facilities that carry out various procedures.

4. Get even more value by making your transplant into a holiday

Europe is such a popular holiday destination for many reasons, the culture, history, sights, cuisine, shopping, great weather, your money goes further, it’s widely English speaking, and it’s just 2 or 3 hours away by plane. The list goes on! So why not travel a few days earlier, grab a low cost Airbnb or hotel, take a friend or partner and enjoy the city for a few days before your transplant.

5. Hassle free process

It’s so easy to get an assessment and price. Contact the clinic, arrange an initial consultation in the UK with your surgeon, or do an online consultation by sending a few pictures and answering some basic questions. Once you’re happy, pick a date and you’re done! The clinic will send you all the paperwork and itinerary so you know exactly what’s happening. You don’t pay until you go for treatment. You just hop on the plane. Your transfer car will meet you as you get off the plane and take you to the clinic. It’s such an easy process. Easy!

I got my transplant at the Hair Palace in Budapest. Get a free assessment with their experts today!

Top 5 Hair Transplant Tips

1. Know your post-op timeline – The key dates!

  • You need to take the upmost care in the first 7 days
  • You can leave the house after 7 days, but I advise you take at least 2 weeks off work.
  • You won’t be able to wear a hat or exercise for up to 4 weeks after.
  • Around 2 – 4 weeks your new hair will fall out, you’ll look a little red and sore – similar to sunburn.
  • Around 4 months your new hair starts growing and looking good.
  • By 6 months you can’t tell you’ve had a transplant.
You can get a haircut after the first month, or you can keep it short yourself with clippers until it starts to grow back.

2. Pick the right time to schedule your treatment

Good clinics will be busy, so you may have to wait 2 months to get an appointment – this is a good thing. So knowing that and knowing your post-op timeline (above) means you can plan the perfect time around your social or work calendar. If you have important social events coming up, particularly if you know you’ll be photographed then you may plan your transplant 6 months in advance, or wait until your calendar is free.

3. Set your expectations

If your hair has receded at the front you’ll want the clinic to draw an expected hairline on your head or on pictures of you as soon as possible. They’ll then also talk about the number of grafts or hairs you’ll need and how thick the result will look. The sooner you can establish this, the sooner you’ll know exactly what to expect. A good clinic will also take into consideration a natural looking hair line for your age and your face and head shape. Have an honest conversation and be open to their expert feedback.

4. Knowing what the journey home looks like

There’s no way around it, you’ll have to go out in public to travel home. The worst part is sitting at the airport for 2 hours or so whilst you wait for your plane. I found it was best to embrace it. People are nice for the most part and won’t stare, and if one or two do who cares – you will never see those people again! You may even be at the airport with other transplant patients, I wasn’t the only one! Take a travel pillow and have someone pick you up if possible, so you can exit swiftly and get back home as soon as possible. It’s natural to be self-conscious, but it’s over fast and well worth it.

Tip! Just take carry-on luggage to keep your check-in and wait time down.

5. Choosing the right clinic

  • Pick somewhere you can travel to and from easily
  • Check their reviews online, not just on their site!
  • Do they have a good quality website and professional looking emails?
  • Can you see actual case studies of previous patients online?
  • Do they have an address? Can you see it on Google street view?
  • Can you meet your surgeon for a consultation beforehand?
  • Do you know someone who’s been there before – first hand opinion is amazing!

Speak to a hair restoration expert - It's Free!

A hair restoration expert from the Hair Palace in Budapest will be in touch to arrange a free assessment. You can meet a doctor face to face, or get a quote by email – It’s simple, easy and free! I’m more confident and outgoing than I’ve ever been.

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