It’s common for men to worry about going bald, especially a lot younger than they had hoped. Male pattern baldness affects a whopping 50 million men in the US alone, so it comes as no surprise that links are made between losing your locks and your testosterone levels.
The shrinkage of hair follicles results in hair loss, impacting the growth cycle. As new hairs become finer and finer (hair thinning) until eventually there’s no hair left and the follicles become inactive. This hair loss is caused by certain genes and hormones, but is testosterone to blame?
Related article: Are you ready to kick low testosterones butt this year?
Your testosterone levels are an important part of being a man. It can aid your libido, mood, focus and ability to build muscle. But we totally understand you might have concerns!
So before you go blaming testosterone for causing hair loss, we’ve taken a closer look into whether testosterone and baldness really do go hand-in-hand.
Different types of testosterone
Believe it or not, testosterone actually lives in your body in different forms. But what does that really mean? Well, firstly, there’s “free” testosterone. This form is unattached, which means it isn’t bound to your body’s proteins.
This form of T is the most available and ready to act within the body. However, most of the testosterone in your blood attaches to two different proteins: sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin. Most of your T is bound to SHBG and isn’t active. So if you have a low level of SHBG, the chances are, you may have a high level of free testosterone. This free form of testosterone is also often referred to as bioavailable testosterone. As the name suggests, this is the form that is easily accessed (and used) by your body.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen, made from testosterone by an enzyme. This sex hormone contributes towards male characteristics, such as body hair. Predominantly used by the body in hair follicles, skin and the prostate, DHT is five times more potent than testosterone.
Baldness and shape
When it comes to male pattern baldness (MPB) there is a distinctive shape that makes it so recognisable. As the front hairline recedes – often more noticeably at the sides – this forms an M shape. Due to its obvious starting point, this M shape is usually referred to as frontal baldness. Gradually, as the hairline continues to recede, the vertex (or crown) of the head becomes bald, too. This is when men enter comb-over territory!
Eventually, the two combined form a U shape. While many see MPB as simply something that affects head hair only, it can actually extend further as you age. So a once hair chest can actually start to thin as you get older. Although we all respond differently to hormone changes, some men have actually found that facial hair growth has enhanced while other areas start to lose their growth.
What hormone causes hair loss?: DHT
Made from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone that causes hair loss. This hormone is found in hair follicles, your skin and the prostate. So, how does this hormone cause hair loss? Well, it’s actually to do with the sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT.
However, there is more to DHT than your hair, as it also acts in the prostate. DHT plays an important role, as, without it, the prostate wouldn’t develop properly. There is such a thing as too much DHT, too. If you have a little too much, you can develop benign prostate hypertrophy – aka, an enlarged prostate. Ouch.
DHT and other health conditions
While there’s definitely room for further research, links have been made between baldness and prostate cancer and other diseases. A Harvard Medical School report showed that men with vertex (the crown) baldness were 1.5 times at risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those without crown baldness. Research also showed a 23% higher risk of coronary artery disease in men with vertex baldness.
Studies remain very much ongoing in regards to the relationship between DHT levels and diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other health conditions.
So, does testosterone cause hair loss?
Nope. It’s not necessarily your hormones causing hair loss. It’s not testosterone’s fault, either. DHT isn’t the hormone causing your hair to thin, or quickly disappear. The only link it has with DHT is the sensitivity of your hair follicles. And how is that sensitivity determined? Your genetics.
The AR gene is responsible for making the receptor on hair follicles, which interact with DHT and your testosterone. If these receptors are especially sensitive, they can be triggered by even the smallest amount of DHT – resulting in hair loss more easily. Of course, other genes can play a part, too.
Age, stress and other factors can all play a role when it comes to experiencing baldness. However, genetics play a huge part in whether you experience male pattern baldness. If you have a close male relative with MPB, you will naturally be at a much higher risk of developing MPB.
Virility and hair loss: A myth?
There are so many myths out there regarding baldness. Many blame specific hormones for hair loss, with little support of their impact. Another common myth is that men with male pattern baldness are more virile, with higher testosterone levels. This isn’t quite the case.
Men with MPB could be more inclined to have lower circulating levels of testosterone but higher levels of the enzyme that converts your T to DHT.
Levels of testosterone and enzymes aside, it could be that your genes have caused you to have highly sensitive hair follicles.
As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, we totally understand you may have concerns regarding testosterone and baldness. While there are several treatments available, several include medications which can carry a range of side effects. Or, more drastically, laser treatments and surgical hair follicle transplants.
If you’re considering taking a natural testosterone booster, you can rest assured that raising your testosterone levels won’t lead to hair loss. It’s all about your genetics!
TestoGen uses all-natural, proven ingredients to deliver a natural boost to your T levels – all with no side effects. Our powerful formula can help you increase muscle size, strength and stamina, as well as reverse a flagging libido and improve your performance in the bedroom.