Fact or Fiction: Do my Testosterone Levels Actually Contribute to my Hair Loss?

Even those not undergoing hair loss have heard the rumor that male pattern baldness is related to the levels of testosterone in your body. It is believed that men with high levels of testosterone have a higher risk of hair loss. This rumor has permeated society, but is it true? While it is true, you have to have a deep understanding of the body’s hormones to understand what is happening during the balding process.

Testosterone, as most people know it, is the type that flows throughout the body and is most free to act. However, this form of testosterone has nothing to do with hair loss. The kind of testosterone linked to hair loss is called Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.

DHT is a hormone that is created from testosterone by the body. It is five times more potent than testosterone in its original form and is used in the prostate, skin, and hair follicles. Hair follicles are extremely sensitive to the level of DHT in the body, and depending on the type of hair follicles you have, it can induce hair loss.

This is because pattern baldness isn’t linked to a certain level of DHT in the body, but instead the sensitivity of the hair follicles to the hormone. That sensitivity is entirely dependent on genetics. Something called the AR gene creates a receptor on each hair follicle, which interacts with DHT. If your receptors are sensitive, they will shut off the follicle in the presence of even a small amount of DHT, causing widespread hair loss.

Because hormonal hair loss is linked to the sensitivity of follicles to DHT, women are susceptible to this kind of balding as well. Although female-pattern baldness is less severe, it occurs for the same reasons.