How To Reduce DHT Hair Loss & What Are The Treatment Options?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS
Written by Arshiya Syeda

Androgenic alopecia (1), also known as female pattern baldness, occurs due to the conversion of testosterone (male sex hormone) to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) (2). Before understanding how to reduce DHT hair loss, it is important to know more about the condition.

Female pattern baldness is characterized by the thinning of hair in an “M” shape from the frontal region of the head (3), and over 30 million women in the US have this condition. However, there are treatments to help combat this condition (4). In this article, we have listed them all and their side effects. Read on.

What Is DHT? How Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?

DHT or dihydrotestosterone is a potent version of the male sex hormone, testosterone (5). Excessive production of DHT results in facial hair in women and female pattern baldness, which is characterized by gradual hair thinning. It may not cause complete baldness, but it can certainly affect the quality of life.

Testosterone gets converted to DHT by an enzyme, 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) (6). DHT binds to the receptors in the hair follicles and makes them shrink. When the follicles shrink, the growth cycle of the hair reduces and leads to premature hair fall. DHT also prevents the quick growth of new hair.

Hair loss due to DHT is also common in men as they have more testosterone than women. However, overproduction of testosterone in women can lead to a deep voice and thick hair on the face, chest, abdomen, arms, and legs.

Various DHT blockers and inhibitors can help reduce hair fall caused by the overproduction of DHT. Let’s find the treatment options in the next section.

DHT Hair Loss Treatment Options

There are two ways to reduce hair loss due to DHT:

  1. Blockers –Block the DHT from binding with the 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) receptors.
  2. Inhibitors –Inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Note: Although these are non-surgical treatments, consult a dermatologist before using them.

Here’s a list of the medications your doctor may suggest.

  • Minoxidil – Minoxidil is an FDA-approved topical solution for androgenic alopecia. It affects the hair cycle by terminating the telogen phase and prolonging the anagen phase(7). A study shows that 44% of women who applied 2% minoxidil solution achieved new hair growth (8).
  • Spironolactone – Spironolactone is prescribed for women with androgenetic alopecia and hirsutism (facial hair). It blocks the androgen receptors and ovarian androgen production. A dose of 200 mg/day of spironolactone helps restore hair growth and prevents hair thinning (7).
  • Cyproterone acetate– Cyproterone acetate helps treat hyperandrogenism and hirsutism. It inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone (the hormone responsible for the secretion of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and blocks the androgen receptors(7).
  • Flutamide– Flutamide is an androgen receptor blocker. It is a new treatment for female androgenic alopecia. A study showed that the intake of 250 mg/day flutamide for a year led to a greater reduction in hair loss compared to cyproterone acetate and finasteride (7).
  • Finasteride –Finasteride inhibits the 5-alpha reductase II enzyme, which converts testosterone to DHT. However, it is not prescribed for women of childbearing age as it increases the risk of external genital deformity in male offspring(9). Learn more about it Finasteride hair loss.

You should also be aware that these drugs may have a few side effects.  The next section lists the  possible side effects of these treatment options.

Possible Side Effects

  • Propylene glycol in minoxidil formulation may cause scalp irritation(10).
  • Spironolactone may cause menstrual irregularities, fatigue, breast tenderness, hematological disturbance, and electrolyte disturbance (2).
  • Finasteride increases the risk of birth defects. Thus, it is not recommended for women of childbearing age.

Your doctor will suggest whether you need medication or a cosmetic procedure. Scroll down to know the cosmetic procedures for reducing hair loss in women.

Other Options To Reduce Hair Fall

  • PRP Treatment

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment is a regenerative treatment for hair loss. It harnesses the power of platelet-stimulated hair growth to make your hair thick and healthy. Platelets from your blood are separated and injected into your scalp where the hair is thin. Research shows that localized platelet injections increase the number of hair without any adverse reactions (12). Check out the before and after results of women who tried PRP treatment here.

  • Laser Light Treatment

Laser treatment helps reduce hair fall and stimulates hair growth. It is a non-invasive and painless method to rejuvenate the hair follicles and enhance blood flow to the scalp (13). The low-level laser irradiates photons into the scalp tissue. These photons are absorbed by the hair follicles, stimulating blood circulation. Increased blood circulation leads to increased nutrient supply to the hair follicles, which increases cellular activity. You can avail this option at a laser treatment center or buy a laser cap that you can use at home. Here’s how much each would cost.

  • Hair Transplantation

Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure where a skin graft containing viable scalp follicles is transplanted into the bald areas. It may leave scars and can be painful. This procedure also requires sufficient downtime for recovery. It is costlier than other hair treatments.

Apart from taking medicines and going for cosmetic procedures, you can also consume foods that help control DHT levels.

Foods That Block DHT

Key Takeaways

  • Overproduction of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent form of testosterone, may result in facial hair and androgenic alopecia in women.
  • Your dermatologist may prescribe DHT blockers or inhibitors such as finasteride to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
  • Using these medications may result in side effects such as scalp irritation, fatigue, or breast tenderness.
  • You can always consume spinach, kale, watermelon, banana, and whole grains to reduce hair fall caused by DHT.

Hair thinning can occur due to a hormonal imbalance or high DHT levels. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a highly strong form of testosterone, the male sex hormone. DHT production is excessive in women, resulting in facial hair and female pattern baldness, marked by gradual hair thinning. If DHT causes hair loss, see your doctor to determine the right treatment method. You can control DHT levels by eating certain foods that help manage its levels, taking medications, and having aesthetic operations. In addition, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and get enough sleep. You will notice a difference in hair density far sooner than you expected.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I reduce DHT in my scalp?

Consult a dermatologist and take the prescribed medications to block/inhibit DHT production. You can also opt for cosmetic procedures to restore the hair growth.

What causes DHT to increase?

The enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) converts testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone).

Which vitamins help block DHT?

Vitamin B or biotin helps block DHT. You can consume biotin supplements or biotin-rich foods like egg yolk, whole grains, and nuts.

Does exercise reduce DHT?

No, exercising may increase DHT levels. However, exercise increases serotonin levels (feel-good hormone), which reduces inflammation. This, in turn, may help reduce stress and protect the hair follicles.


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Dr. Shruti Chavan

Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee... more