When you live in a world dominated by branding for products like “Hair Club for Men”, and terms like “Male Pattern Baldness”, it can be easy to forget that hair loss effects women. Research shows that the number one demographic searching for hair loss solutions online belongs to women.

This can be confusing to understand, since dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the main culprit for hair loss. A derivative of the male hormone testosterone. Females don’t have as much testosterone in their systems, so how is it that they can be so affected by hair loss?

Hair Loss Can Happen To Anyone

Although women do produce less testosterone than men, studies have shown that it’s not the amount of testosterone in the system that affects hair loss. Testosterone turns into DHT after coming into contact with an enzyme called Type II 5-alpha reductase. That enzyme is found specifically in the oil glands of hair follicles.

Women may not have a lot of testosterone, but they do have some. And when that testosterone comes into contact with the scalp, it bumps into that nasty enzyme which turns it into that nasty DHT.  The DHT then has the effect of shrinking the hair follicle until it cannot maintain healthy hair growth.

This is true whether we have a lot of testosterone, or very little.

Are All Hair Loss Treatments Equal?

Since we know that DHT is the hair hating hormone that works against everyone, we might consider the idea that a single product will work for everyone. This may be true, but in reality no one can give you that answer yet.

Because DHT is tied to our natural body chemistry, every person will have different needs. Inhibiting the formation of Type II DHT (the kind specifically found in the scalp) has been proven as a very effective means of promoting healthy hair growth, with little to no side effects. This is extremely exciting stuff, but we need to exercise caution when it comes to altering our body’s chemistry. DHT is actually quite useful for our growth while we are in the womb for the full development of gender. Again, it helps us in puberty. After this, the science isn’t established on what we use it for.

For this reason, hair loss medications are rarely prescribed for women undergoing a pregnancy, or who may be trying to become pregnant. It would also not be a very good idea for boys or girls in the middle of puberty. Thankfully, the idea of pubescent boys and girls using DHT inhibitors is relatively unheard of.