In this post, we will explain how testosterone causes male pattern baldness and debunk some myths about balding and testosterone levels in men.
You must have heard that balding specifically male pattern baldness is specifically caused by facial hair hormones namely testosterone and more potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone.
Since testosterone that is freely available in the bloodstream is blamed for androgenic alopecia does it mean that men who go bald actually have more of this hormone?
Do bald guys have higher levels of testosterone? No, most men have the same levels of testosterone bald or not. What determines whether a guy will become bald is how sensitive a guy’s genes are to dihydrotestosterone. The more sensitive a guy’s genes are dihydrotestosterone the higher the chances of becoming bald. The amount of testosterone freely available in the bloodstream is also a cause of balding.
Balding is also hereditary, you can predict whether you will suffer from androgenic alopecia by checking your family line.
How the balding and testosterone myth came about
Since balding is caused by testosterone there has been a myth that bald men have high levels of testosterone, Doctor James B. Hamilton in 1960 studied a group of boys who had been castrated for about 18 years.
The doctor realized that these boys did not show any signs of male pattern baldness even after they age.
However, when he compared them with men of the same age who had not been castrated. He realized that they were already experiencing receding hairlines.
Therefore Hamilton concluded that higher levels of testosterone may cause baldness.
However, the level of testosterone does not necessarily mean that a guy will become bald.
On the contrary, a guy may become bald even if they have low levels of testosterone.
Male pattern baldness is caused by how sensitive a man’s genes are dihydrotestosterone. As long as a man’s genes are highly sensitive to this hormone even little testosterone will result in male pattern baldness.
How does male or female pattern baldness occur?
Now that we have already established that male or female pattern baldness is caused by dihydrotestosterone. Let’s discuss how dihydrotestosterone causes androgenic alopecia.
Testosterone exists in various forms inside your body. The free testosterone is freely available in the blood and is not bound to any protein in the body, and then there is one that is bound to proteins in the body and is not freely available.
There is a protein in the blood called albumin where most of the inactive protein is bound to.
This type of albumin is called sex hormone-binding globulin.
Low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin in the blood mean high levels of free testosterone in the bloodstream.
Dihydrotestosterone is synthesized from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Dihydrotestosterone is about five times more potent compared to testosterone.
Different parts of the body react differently to dihydrotestosterone, for instance when exposed to the face it helps grow facial hair and when exposed to the scalp t causes androgenic alopecia.
So how does testosterone cause baldness?
Once testosterone available in the blood is converted into dihydrotestosterone it attacks scalp hair follicles and makes them shrink, cutting blood circulation to them.
As the scalp hair follicles shrink, the hair growing from them becomes finer and finer and eventually, the hair follicles shrink to a point that they cannot grow hair at all.
The shape of the male pattern baldness in men
When guys go bald it happens in a distinctive shape. The first step is the receding hairline of the front part of the head.
The receding hairline starts from the sides and creates an M shape and is commonly called frontal baldness.
With time the crown of the head goes bald as well, eventually, the crown and the receding hairline join and form a U shape.
Why is baldness more common in males?
The reason baldness is more common in males is due to high levels of testosterone as compared to women. Despite the fact that women have testosterone in their bodies it is not as high as men’s.
Secondly, the sensitivity of the hormone dihydrotestosterone a synthesis of testosterone which is the real cause of baldness may be higher in men than it is in women leading to high cases of male baldness as compared to women.
What happens if testosterone is high in males?
High levels of testosterone may lead to the following effects both positive and negative.
First is that high levels of testosterone and highly sensitive androgen receptors leads to increased growth of facial hair.
Secondly, high levels of testosterone in males and high sensitive scalp genes will lead to male pattern baldness.
Lastly, high levels of testosterone in males will lead to increased sexual activity and high libido.
Can you prevent male pattern baldness?
Yes, male pattern baldness can be treated or prevented by preventing dihydrotestosterone from binding into the hair follicles in your scalp.
There are natural oils such as rosemary that have been found to restrict this hormone from binding into the hair follicles.
There are also hair care products that inhibit dihydrotestosterone from binding into the scalp hair follicles hence prevent baldness and increase blood circulation hence promote hair regrowth.
However, it is not advisable for women to avoid it especially if they are pregnant or wish to become pregnant.
Does baldness mean low testosterone? No, balding does not mean low levels of testosterone it only means that your genes in the scalp are highly sensitive to dihydrotestosterone a more potent form of testosterone.
Can low testosterone cause hair loss in males? Yes, low testosterone can also cause hair loss in men as it’s not the levels of testosterone that causes hair loss but the sensitivity of the genes in males body to dihydrotestosterone.
Is testosterone hair loss reversible? Yes, several research studies have shown that testosterone hair loss is reversible by inhibiting the binding of the dihydrotestosterone to the scalp hair follicles.
Does the injection of testosterone cause hair loss? Yes, if the injected testosterone results in high levels of testosterone in the bloodstream. This will eventually lead to male pattern baldness.
Does hair grow back after stopping testosterone? Yes, studies have shown that hair can grow back after stopping the binding of dihydrotestosterone in the scalp hair follicles in both men and women.
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