Does anti-DHT shampoo really work?

There are a lot of shampoos that claim to combat hair loss, but it can be difficult to determine which of them actually work.

Unlike Finasteride and Minoxidil, which are both prescription medication that have been subjected to rigorous clinical trials to determine their efficacy, shampoos aren’t subject to the same regulatory oversight.

The good news is that there are many studies which have tested ingredients that are commonly used in anti-DHT shampoos, and some have been shown to support hair growth in men suffering from male pattern baldness.

DHT and male pattern baldness

The most common form of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness. It’s caused by the sensitivity of hair follicles to a hormone called DHT, which is a by-product of testosterone production. DHT builds up as we get older. For those suffering from male pattern baldness, hair follicles are sensitive to DHT and this causes them to shrink over time.

Whilst genetics, specifically DHT levels in scalp tissue and hair follicle sensitivity to DHT, are usually to blame for hair loss, there are sometimes other causes such as serious illness, nutrient deficiency, excessive alcohol, smoking, stress and a lack of exercise.

What ingredients actually combat hair loss?

In order to determine whether a shampoo will be effective in combating hair loss, you should check the key ingredients used in the formulation.

Most shampoos contain one- to four- core ingredients, alongside a blend of others that help enhance the shampoo’s overall texture and smell.

There have been studies for the below ingredients which have supported their anti-DHT properties:

  • Sophora Flavescens: Several studies have shown this herb to be effective at reducing DHT levels in the scalp. It's believed it does this by inhibiting the enzyme, 5alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT. This means it combats male pattern baldness in a similar way to Finasteride.
  • KetoconazoleStudies have also shown Ketoconazole is linked to the disruption of the DHT pathway in the scalp. A study in the late 1990s compared Ketoconazole and Minoxidil and the results showed that 2% Ketoconazole shampoo had a similar efficacy as Minoxidil in increasing the size and proportion of anagen (growth-stage) hair follicles.
  • Saw Palmetto: Studies have shown that this plant with small berries reduces DHT levels in the scalp to a mild degree. One study of 25 participants showed positive results for men treated with topical saw palmetto as close to half increased their hair count by 12% after four months of treatment.

Anti-DHT shampoos often contain other ingredients aimed at supporting strong and healthy hair. These include i) Biotin, an important vitamin for ensuring hair follicles grow strong and healthy, ii) Copper Peptide, effective at reducing hair loss by increasing blood flow (oxygen and nutrients) to the scalp, and, iii) Ginger, which contains vitamins and minerals that serve to strengthen hair strands and follicles.

Man Behind The Mirror offers anti-DHT shampoo which contains Sophora Flavescens as well as Copper Peptide and Ginger. It can be purchased standalone or as part of the Early Prevention Plan along with Biotin Gummies.

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