Testosterone, a male androgen hormone, can be found in men and women though men generally have more of them. In a man’s body, testosterone regulates sex drive and sperm production. More importantly, it’s considered a representation of a man’s masculinity and virility.
It’s thus understandable that when age and other factors lower men’s testosterone levels, it can become a stigma for them, especially if they pride themselves on these two traits. It can also cause worsen sexual problems, lead to a loss in bone strength and muscle mass, as well as other health issues.
When this happens, some men look for ways to replace their testosterone using artificial methods, one of which is testosterone boosters.
Testosterone boosters are known to work well, but many men worry that overly high testosterone levels can lead to hair loss. Is there truth in the matter? Let's explore.
Do Testosterone Boosters Play a Role in Hair Loss?
Testosterone boosters are medications and supplements that increase testosterone levels in the bodies of men and women. They’re used by bodybuilders to gain more muscle mass and by people whose bodies produce insufficient levels of hormones on their own.
Testosterone is linked to improving sexual function, mood, physical endurance, and muscle strength. It also has its fair share of downsides such as impacting bone density, insulin resistance, obesity, and heart conditions, but it does not cause hair loss.
What does cause hair loss is androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
What is Male Pattern Baldness and How Does It Affect Our Hair?
Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. It begins in men’s twenties, though they may not notice it until it's too late. Hair follicles gradually thin and continue to wreak havoc until men are either left with a horseshoe-shaped pattern of hair or no hair at all.
The hair loss is caused by a product of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is formed from testosterone, particularly by an enzyme called 5α-reductase. It accumulates on your hair follicles and inhibits the flow of nutrients and proteins to your hair. So, if your 5α-reductase levels are high or your hair follicles are particularly sensitive to DHT, getting testosterone injections may not be the wisest choice.
This is because testosterone booster injections lead to higher DHT levels, and higher DHT levels can shrink your hair follicles, which can cause your hair to grow thinner and more brittle in the long run. It can also impact your hair’s natural regrowth cycle and cause your hair to fall off faster.
In essence, while testosterone does not cause hair loss on its own, the hormonal imbalance can indirectly influence the process.
If you see your hair thinning or bald patches on your scalp, see a trichologist as soon as possible. Trichologists will examine your scalp, find out the root cause, and prescribe a suitable medication or topical treatment to encourage hair regrowth.
How To Treat (And Prevent!) Hair Loss
To keep your hair follicles from shrinking, you have to make sure that testosterone isn’t converted into DHT. Many medications can inhibit the enzyme, but androgenic alopecia is known to work best with these three:
- Finasteride blocks the action of the enzyme that converts your testosterone into DHT. When taken in the right doses, it can reduce hair loss, and may even increase hair growth.
- Minoxidil is a topical solution that can boost hair growth in cases of male pattern baldness. It helps treat thinning hair and slows balding but it will not work on receding hairlines.
- Saw Palmetto is a popular supplement that can block the enzyme from converting into DHT, which will provide your body with the support it needs to combat hair loss.
If DHT-blockers doesn’t work for you, you can go for more targeted approaches.
- PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, is a non-invasive approach to hair regrowth. It uses microneedles to inject protein-rich plasma (which is derived from the patient's blood) into the upper layer of the scalp to facilitate hair regrowth.
- Surgical hair follicle treatment restores natural hair growth in affected areas. Depending on the procedure you opt for, a doctor will either remove a small piece of skin from the back of your head or shave the back of your scalp entirely to graft new hair. You’ll be able to see hair regrowth with time.
- Scalp reduction involves removing bald patches of the scalp, then stretching the healthy part of the scalp and stitching the flaps together to make hair loss less prominent.
It’s easy to see why testosterone is generally associated with virility and manliness but too low levels can also cause other health problems. If you’re considering undergoing testosterone boosters or are experiencing testosterone-related issues, talk to a healthcare professional to learn more about what you’re going through and what can be done to remedy the situation.
Knowledgeable specialists can present you with treatment options based on your personal medical history and health condition. They’re also better positioned to determine if testosterone boosters are a viable treatment plan for you or if there are better ways to address your concerns.