What Hormone Causes Hair Loss?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Hair loss can be a distressing experience for both men and women, and understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective management and treatment. While there are various factors that contribute to hair thinning and shedding, hormones play a significant role in regulating the hair growth cycle. In this article, we will explore the hormone responsible for hair loss and provide insights into managing this condition.

What hormone causes hair loss?

The hormone primarily associated with hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is a derivative of the male hormone testosterone and is known for its role in promoting male pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia.

How does DHT contribute to hair loss?

DHT is formed when an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into its more potent form. This hormone can bind to receptors in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and eventually stop producing new hair. The process occurs gradually, and the effects are typically seen in a distinct pattern, such as a receding hairline or thinning at the crown of the head in men, and diffuse hair thinning in women.

The sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT varies from person to person, which explains why some individuals experience more severe hair loss than others. Genetics plays a crucial role in determining an individual's predisposition to DHT-related hair loss.

Other hormones and their impact on hair loss

While DHT is the primary hormone implicated in hair loss, other hormonal imbalances can also contribute to thinning hair or excessive shedding. Some examples include:

  1. Estrogen and progesterone: Fluctuations in these female hormones can lead to temporary hair shedding, particularly during pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.
  2. Thyroid hormones: Both an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can disrupt the hair growth cycle and cause hair thinning.
  3. Cortisol: Chronic stress and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can trigger hair loss by interfering with the hair growth cycle.
  4. Insulin resistance: Imbalances in insulin levels, often associated with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can contribute to androgen-related hair loss.
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Managing hormone-related hair loss

Addressing hormone-related hair loss often involves a multi-faceted approach that includes lifestyle modifications, medications, and/or supplementation. Here are some strategies that may help:

Medications and treatments

  1. Finasteride (for men): This prescription medication works by inhibiting the production of DHT, reducing its effects on hair follicles and promoting hair regrowth.
  2. Minoxidil: An over-the-counter topical treatment that can stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss in both men and women.
  3. Anti-androgen medications (for women): In cases of androgen-related hair loss, medications like spironolactone or oral contraceptives may help regulate hormone levels.
  4. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): For menopausal women, HRT can help balance hormone levels and potentially improve hair growth.

Lifestyle and nutritional interventions

  1. Stress management: Practicing stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or exercise can help regulate cortisol levels and promote a healthy hair growth cycle.
  2. Balanced diet: A diet rich in essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, zinc, and vitamins, supports healthy hair growth and overall hair health.
  3. Supplements: In some cases, supplements like saw palmetto, biotin, or specific vitamin and mineral formulations may be recommended to address nutritional deficiencies or support hormonal balance.

Consult with a healthcare professional

It's important to note that hormonal imbalances and hair loss can be complex issues with various contributing factors. If you are experiencing significant hair thinning or shedding, it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist or an endocrinologist. They can evaluate your specific situation, order relevant tests, and provide personalized treatment recommendations to address the underlying hormonal causes and promote healthy hair growth.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when managing hormone-related hair loss, as it may take several months to see noticeable improvements in hair regrowth and overall hair health.

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Target the Right Product:

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Hair Strength Shampoo | For Men
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Men
Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.