I understand that blocking DHT can help prevent hair loss. When I read the ingredients in alot of products that help prevent hair loss, they claim to reduce testosterone. Is reduction of testosterone safe? How does that effect the libido? Is reducing DHT the same as reducing testosterone and I’ve just misunderstood?
In adults, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) plays its greatest role in mediating the testosterone effect in hair follicles (essentially causing hair loss in genetic hair loss conditions), and in bringing on nose and ear hair. It also plays a role in producing prostatic swelling and some feel it plays a role in causing prostate cancer in those people genetically prone to it.
Reducing DHT is not the same as reducing testosterone. In fact, if you reduce DHT, you may get a very slight transient increase in testosterone. There may be products that claim to, or actually do reduce testosterone levels, but none are approved for the treatment of hair loss. In any case, use caution and be sure to consult your physician prior to use.
If you want to get into the bio-chemical details: testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Finasteride (Propecia), the only FDA approved oral hair loss drug, works by blocking this enzyme, effectively decreasing the amount of DHT, thus decreasing hair loss. Testosterone can still act on other tissues without being converted to DHT.