Getting To Know Your Hair And Why DHT Causes Hair Loss

The worldwide hair care industry sector is expected to grow to $87 billion in 2023. It comprises a wide variety of products such as shampoos, masks, conditioners, hair dyes, oils, and serums. What's more, consumers' behavior has shifted towards organic, natural, and eco-friendly products. People are always searching for "the right" hair care products. 

When it comes to products for hair loss, there are literally thousands of companies peddling products claiming to prevent hair loss, fill in the thinning areas and regrow new hair.  Unfortunately, almost all of them won't do anything to halt or reverse hair loss.  

Why? 

Because they do not contain ingredients that actually address the factors that scientists have identified that cause male and female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenic alopecia).  Without these ingredients, these hair care products will, at best, provide, for a few hours, an artificial "hair thickening" effect.  At worst, such products can actually harm your hair, increase hair loss or shedding and "burn a hole in your pocket."
 
To help you understand what types of hair care products are right for you (particularly, if you are attempting to conquer hair loss), read below about the hair's components, its growth stages and how a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for male and female pattern hair loss.

Hair's Structure

Hair has a complicated structure comprising two main components, respectively the hair's follicle and its shaft. Hairs are made of a special protein called keratin, which is very strong. It's also the protein, which forms nails. Like the other proteins in your body, keratin is made up of amino acids. These amino acids are linked together in strings. What's more, the diameter size of a hair fiber is different from one person to another, but it usually ranges between 0.05 and 0.09 mm. And each hair sprouts through an indentation in the skin's outer layer called the epidermis.
 
The hair follicle is the active component of the hair. It's a tight structure, which contains different cells and connecting tissue. At the base of the hair follicle is the papilla, which includes very small capillaries that feed the cells. Moreover, the follicle also comprises the germinal matrix. That's where the cells develop new hairs.
 
The bulb surrounds the germinal matrix and the papilla and the capillaries nourish it. It contains a variety of stem cells, which multiply every 3 days. That's faster than any type of cells in your body. The bulb also comprises hormones, which determine hair growth and the structure throughout the various principal stages of life.
 
Inner and outer casings surround the follicle to protect it and promote the shaft's growth. The inner cover follows the hair's shaft up to the sebaceous gland's opening. And the outer sheath reaches the sebaceous gland. You'll also find a small collection of muscle fibers attached to the outer casing. When the tiny muscle contracts, the hair stands up.
 
The sebaceous gland provides the body with sebum, which is like a natural conditioner. During puberty, the body produces high levels of sebum. Left untreated, excessive sebum can cause severe acne. But as you grow older, sebum quantities reduce and can cause very dry skin.
 

The Hair Shaft

The hair shaft is the part you can see. In fact, it's the dead section of the hair. The shaft comprises three keratin layers such as the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle. The medulla is the innermost layer and it exists only in thick hair. The cortex is the middle section of the shaft and it contains keratin fibers. It's responsible for the hair's texture, color, and strength. Whereas the cuticle is the exterior layer of the shaft. It's colorless and comprises 6-10 overlapping layers of cells, which protect the cortex.
 
The medulla is the supporting structure of the shaft, located in the center of the hair fiber. It doesn't exist in all hairs on your body, but it's found in the hair on your scalp. To understand the role of the medulla, you should picture a tree. In the center of the tree, you'll find moisture, which is protected by a tough bark. But if the bark is stripped, the center is exposed, and the tree is damaged. The same happens with your hair. The medulla contains the shaft's moisture and holds it.
 
The cuticle together with other factors, adjust the moisture levels in the medulla. It also protects the medulla from various environmental factors such as sunlight, wind, and other pollution toxins. But when the cuticle is damaged, the medulla can't maintain moisture and dehydration sets in. In addition to the damaged state, the medulla is more likely to break and become affected by harmful chemicals and environmental factors.
 
The cortex is the middle section of the hair's shaft, which protects the medulla. It contains proteins, which are twisted like a telephone's cord. For example, if you stretch a piece of hair, you'll notice that it stretches before breaking. That's because you're straightening the twisted proteins. Once you release the hair, these proteins re-coil. Also, you'll find that the pigments, which give your hair its natural color, are in the cortex, where they're protected by the cuticle's cells.
 
When split ends occur, the cortex is in its worst state. Split ends result from severely damaged cuticles on the tip of your hair due to harsh chemicals, over-brushing, and excessive sun and water. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate split ends is by trimming your hair.
 
The cuticle is the outermost layer of your hair's shaft, which protects both the cortex and the medulla. It comprises both overlapping and tiling cells. And a healthy cuticle gives hair a shiny and healthy appearance. On the other hand, if it's damaged, your hair will become brittle and dull because the cortex's cells may break.
 
Strong chemical treatments, environmental factors, and hot temperature blow drying can severely damage your hair's cuticle. It leads to the cuticle lifting away from the medulla and the cortex, which causes moisture evaporation, leaving your hair coarse, dehydrated and brittle.
 
Your Hair's Growth Cycle

The hair on your scalp grows around 0.5 mm every day, which adds up to about 15.24 cm a year. Additionally, hair growth and hair loss in humans is unlike other mammals. It's random, not cyclical or seasonal. You'll find that your hair is in different stages of growth at any given time such as the anagen phase, the catagen phase or the telogen phase.
 
The anagen stage is when your hair is growing. The average duration of this stage is around 3-4 years. After this period, a new hair strand grows and pushes the old hair out of the respective follicle. During this stage, hair grows at a rate of about 1 cm per 28 days. Also, because some people have a short anagen period, they find it difficult to grow their hair more than a specific length.
 
The catagen phase is transitional. About 3% of your hair is in this stage anytime and it usually lasts up to 2-3 weeks. During this phase, your hair's growth will slow down and the outer layer of the root shrinks and attaches to your hair's root, forming a club hair.
 
Finally, the telogen phase is a resting stage, which can last up to 3 months. About 10-15% of your hair is in the telogen phase. This is when the hair follicle is resting, and the club hair is formed. If you pull out a strand of hair in this phase, you'll notice a dry and solid white material attached to the root. 

What Is DHT?

Male and female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenic alopecia) is the most common reason that men and women lose their hair.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone in the body that is the most significant  factor behind pattern hair loss. DHT is derived from testosterone.  It's a hormone that’s present in both men and women.  While it is necessary when you go through puberty, as you get older, it is fall less important.  Men typically have more testosterone present in their bodies.  About 10% of testosterone in all adults is converted to DHT with the help of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR).

Once it’s freely flowing through your bloodstream, DHT can then link to receptors on hair follicles in your scalp, causing them to shrink and become less capable of supporting a healthy head of hair. 

High levels of androgens, including DHT, can shrink your hair follicles as well as shorten this cycle, causing hair to grow out looking thinner and more brittle, as well as fall out faster (this process is called "miniaturization"). DHT can also make it take longer for your follicles to grow new hairs once old hairs fall out.

Some people are more susceptible to these effects of DHT on scalp hair based on variations in their androgen receptor gene. Androgen receptors are proteins that allow hormones like testosterone and DHT to bind to them. This binding activity typically results in normal hormonal processes like body hair growth. But variations in the gene can increase androgen receptivity in your scalp follicles, making you more likely to experience pattern hair loss. While there is one FDA-approved medication that can help reduce the amount of DHT in your body (finasteride, also known as Propecia), it is only approved for men and can result in serious side effects.

What Can Be Done About DHT?

There are hundreds of topical products that claim to block DHT and help reverse hair loss. However, almost none of them contain ingredients that are clinically-proven to help block DHT from binding to the androgen receptors, which is necessary in order to reverse hair loss. Thus, they are of little to no value. Should you choose to treat hair loss or thinning with a topical product, you need to ensure that it contains ingredients clinically proven to help block DHT. By blocking DHT, the miniaturization process can be prevented, halted and/or reversed, allowing thicker, fuller and healthier hair to regrow.

When we block the effects of DHT on the hair follicle and hair growth cycle, we will start seeing results such as improved hair growth and hair thickness. 

What Ingredients Can Help Block DHT? 

If you decide not to use oral drug treatment for your hair loss (Propecia), you will most likely find yourself turning to alternative treatments.

There are many plant extracts and ingredients that studies establish can potently and effectively block DHT.  At Hair Restoration Laboratories we only use ingredients that have been clinically-proven to safely block the harmful effects of DHT. Our formulations contain a combination of these ingredients and others that are clinically-proven to help prevent hair loss and promote the growth of stronger, thicker and healthier hair.

The table below is a summary of certain of the key ingredients in our proprietary DHT Halting Technology®, a critical part of Hair Restoration Laboratories' Hair Restore products: 

 

Ingredient

Effect on hair and hair loss

Caffeine

Promotes hair shaft elongation, prolongs anagen duration and stimulates hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation. Acts as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor

Saw Palmetto

Non-selective inhibitor of both forms of 5-alpha reductase, inhibits DHT

Astragalus (Fo-ti)

Promotes hair growth by blocking DHT

Stinging nettle

Anti-androgen properties. Promotes regrowth by restoring hair follicles

Sea Buckthorn

Anti-androgen properties. Oil form helps unclogging hair follicles to promote growth

Peppermint oil

Promotes hair growth through anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Ketoconazole

Anti-fungal properties, disrupts DHT pathway

Lycopene

Inhibits DHT 

Pea Extract

Extremely nutrient rich, loads of antioxidants that promotes hair growth, contains isoflavones

Niacin

Promotes hair fullness

Ginger

Anti-inflammatory, promotes hair growth

Argan oil

Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, moisturizes and promotes hair growth and hair thickness

Hops Extract

Vitamin and nutrient rich, contains oils and antioxidants that promotes hair growth

Rosemary Extract

Has 5-alpha reductase inhibitory properties, blocks DHT

Pygeum bark Extract

Anti-androgenic properties, DHT blocking properties

Pumpkin seed oil

Has 5-alpha reductase inhibitory properties, blocks DHT

Green tea Extract

Rich in polyphenols, strengthen hair follicles and promotes hair growth

Cayenne fruit

Vitamin and nutrient rich, stimulates hair growth and improve blood supply to the hair follicles

Black cumin oil

Contains unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, improves hair regrowth and hair thickness

Biotin

B vitamin promoting hair restoration by strengthening the hair follicle and hair shaft

Reishi mushroom

Inhibits DHT in the scalp and hair follicles

 

All Hair Restoration Laboratories' products are cruelty-free (not tested on animals), color safe and free of parabens, sulphates, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals that can be damaging to the hair. Our products aim to promote the growth of healthier and thicker hair by using out potent DHT Halting Technology® to block the effects of DHT on the hair loss process.

DHT Halting Technology® is a proprietary blend of extracts, amino acids, oils, and nutrients that help fight hair loss, reverse hair thinning and encourage healthy hair growth.

Our Hair Restore Shampoo works to dramatically improve the appearance of thinning hair with a blend of plant extracts, amino acids, essential oils, and antioxidants. These powerful nutrients deeply nourish hair follicles, leaving hair feeling stronger and more voluminous while promoting healthy hair growth. In this shampoo you will find a combination of ingredients that make up our DHT Halting Technology®, working to reduce your hair loss without any unwanted side effects. These ingredients include saw palmetto, biotin, pumpkin seed extract, caffeine, green tea extract, black cumin oil and pygeum africanum bark extract.

Like our Hair Restore Shampoo, our Hair Restore Conditioner works just as hard for you with a combination of saw palmetto, biotin, pumpkin seed extract, caffeine, green tea extract, black cumin oil, pygeum africanum bark extract, pisum sativum (pea) extract, cayenne fruit extract and oils of jojoba, sunflower and shea butter for luxurious, silky and shiny hair. When used in combination with our Hair Restore Shampoo, you are giving your hair a potent boost to recover and grow, leaving you with fuller and thicker hair. The combination is safe to use daily and one of our best sellers.

Our Professional Strength Hair Restore Shampoo has been developed for men and women who require an even stronger and more powerful shampoo to help prevent hair loss and thinning, support hair growth and promote healthier, thicker and stronger hair. This powerful formula contains Hair Restoration Laboratories’ proprietary DHT Halting Technology® in even greater concentrations compared to our Regular Strength Hair Restore Shampoo. This is to maximize nourishment of hair follicles, healthy hair growth, and improve the strength, thickness and quality of your hair. No shampoo leaves your hair appearing fuller and feeling stronger than the Hair Restoration Laboratories’ Professional Strength Hair Restore Shampoo.

Ingredients in the Professional Strength Hair Restore Shampoo includes ketoconazole, green tea extract, biotin, black cumin seed oil, saw palmetto, caffeine, pisum sativum (pea) extract, pygeum africanum bark extract, pumpkin seed oil, cayenne fruit extract.

The Ultra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment uses a formula with FDA-approved 5% minoxidil which helps prevent and reverse the progression of hair loss and thinning. Additionally, the Ultra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment contains a number of powerful DHT-blocking ingredients that, when combined with 5% minoxidil, significantly improve the quality of your hair and scalp. This includes ingredients like caffeine, green tea extract, biotin, black cumin seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, saw palmetto, vitamin E and vitamin C.

The Maximum Hair Thickening Serum is a powerful leave-in treatment, packed with clinically-studied ingredients to immediately provide maximum thickness to existing hair, minimize hair loss and maintain the scalp and hair follicles in optimum condition to promote the growth of thicker and stronger hair and reduce hair loss. Our Serum contains the highest levels of our proprietary DHT Halting Technology® with ingredients like green tea extract, saw palmetto extract, azelaic acid, pumpkin seed oil, black cumin seed oil, caffeine, biotin, hydrolyzed pea protein, cayenne fruit extract and ginseng that work synergistically to stop hair loss and help regrow and thicken hair.

The Serum also contains vital hair strengthening, building and anchoring ingredients, such as keratin, hydrolyzed collagen and caprylic triglyceride to dramatically maximize the thick appearance of your hair from the very first application. Ingredients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, argan oil and jojoba seed oil provide intense nourishment to your hair, noticeably improving the strength, natural shine and vibrancy.

Any of Hair Restoration Laboratories’ products will be an excellent choice if you are looking to start treating your hair loss with a topical product containing only the best ingredients in the field. Our products can be used alone or in combination. 

The Bottom Line

It's not easy to choose the right hair care products. With so many formulas on the market, if you don't know how to identify the specific features of your hair, you can't use the right products. So, by understanding the basics of your hair's structure, its growth cycles, and what ingredients to look for if you wish to help prevent hair loss, you can easily pick out the best products to make your hair healthy, thick and strong.

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