Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-blocking shampoos are hair loss products that aim to improve hair health and make it appear fuller. The best options include well-researched ingredients with proven results.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen hormone that is especially important in male development during puberty. In males, it promotes prostate growth, sebaceous gland activity, and the development of body, facial, and pubic hair. The sebaceous glands create sebum, which helps protect the skin. However, increased levels of DHT can cause male pattern baldness — called androgenetic alopecia — in later life.

A quick look at the best DHT-blocking shampoos

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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How does DHT cause hair loss?

Research is yet to find conclusive evidence for why increased DHT can cause hair loss. However, scientists know that DHT can cause hair follicles to miniaturize and change the hair’s growth phases.

A person’s hair follicles can stay in the growth phase — known as the anagen phase — for several years. DHT can shorten this growth phase and stop the hair from growing. It can also shift follicles into the telogen phase, a resting phase that can cause hair to fall out more easily.

Learn more about DHT and hair loss.

5 of the best DHT-blocking shampoos

Comparing DHT-blocking shampoos

Here, we compare the products in this article on main ingredients, quantity, and price.

Main ingredientsQuantityPrice
Himssaw palmetto6.4 fl oz$19
Keepsbiotin and saw palmetto8 oz$24
Romansaw palmetto and caffeine8 oz$24
Happy Headbiotin and saw palmetto8 fl oz$72
Ultrax Labscaffeine, menthol, and saw palmetto8 oz$79.99

How we chose

Medical News Today chooses shampoos that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNTchooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: MNTchooses products that clearly list all ingredients and have scientific research backing up their use.
  • Safety: MNTchooses products that contain ingredients safe for topical use.
  • Reputable: MNTselects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
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What to look for in a DHT-blocking shampoo

People need to consider the following factors when shopping for a DHT-blocking shampoo:

  • Research-backed ingredients: Finding a product full of well-researched DHT-blocking ingredients can be challenging. Despite this, many shampoos are available that contain one or two ingredients with some scientific backing. These can include saw palmetto, biotin, finasteride, and minoxidil.
  • Side effects: Some DHT-blocking ingredients can cause side effects, such as skin irritation. Prescription ingredients, such as minoxidil, can cause unwanted hair growth in other areas of the body.
  • Health claims: People need to consider the validity of the health claims brands make about their products. Some companies may claim their shampoos aid hair loss when they may only make the hair appear thicker or fuller and do not help regrow hair or slow hair loss.
  • Hair loss goals: While some people want to regrow their hair, others may just want to slow or stop hair loss. Unless they choose a prescription topical treatment, such as finasteride or minoxidil, it is unlikely that a DHT-blocking shampoo will regrow lost hair. Considering their overall hair loss goals can help a person choose the most suitable product for them.
  • Cost: Specialist shampoos can be expensive, and people need to consider how effective they may be and how often they would like to use them to ensure they buy a cost-effective product.

How to use DHT-blocking shampoo

Typically, a person will use DHT-blocking shampoo in the same way as regular shampoo. This may involve lathering and rinsing off the product once or twice during a hair wash. Companies should provide directions on the product packaging, and users need to avoid exceeding the dosage advice the company provides.

A doctor will explain how a person should use prescription hair loss products.

Side effects of DHT-blocking shampoo

Nonprescription DHT-blocking shampoo does not have a reputation for causing many side effects. However, if a person has any known allergies or skin sensitivities, they need to check the ingredient list. They could also conduct a patch test on their skin before using it on their scalp or hair.

If someone’s skin reacts to an ingredient in the shampoo, they may experience symptoms of an allergic skin reaction, such as an itchy, red, or discolored rash, burning, blistered skin, and hives.

If a person reacts to a DHT-blocking shampoo or prescription product, they need to stop using it and contact a doctor.

When to speak with a doctor about hair loss

It is typical to lose around 50 to 100 hairs daily. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a person needs to speak with a doctor if they have concerns about their hair loss. The NHS also advises people to consult a doctor before going to a commercial hair loss clinic.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) urges individuals to speak with a dermatologist early on, as the sooner someone starts treatment, the better the outcome may be. Understanding the cause of a person’s hair loss is important for determining what treatment they should try.

Frequently asked questions about DHT-blocking shampoo

Some DHT-blocking shampoos contain ingredients, such as saw palmetto, with have research backing up their effectiveness. However, research overall is limited, and prescription hair loss treatments, such as topical minoxidil and finasteride, are FDA-approved and well-known to treat hair loss successfully.

Generally, a person should not experience side effects from DHT-blocking shampoo. However, if someone is allergic or sensitive to any ingredients in the product, they may experience a skin reaction.

Shampoos containing saw palmetto or nettle can block DHT, but scientific research definitively proving they are effective is limited. People may wish to try prescription hair loss treatments such as finasteride or minoxidil instead.

Biotin is not a DHT-blocking ingredient. It helps build keratin, a key component of the hair, skin, and nails.

DHT is an androgen hormone, and too much of it can cause hair loss. Therefore, DHT-blocking shampoos may help prevent hair loss and promote growth, although they will not be as effective as medications such as minoxidil and finasteride.

Summary

Increased DHT levels can cause hair loss, particularly in males. DHT-blocking shampoos may help slow hair loss, make the hair appear thicker, and improve the condition of the hair. However, shampoo alone may not be enough to stop hair loss or regrow lost hair.

A person needs to look out for a few key ingredients that are DHT blockers, including finasteride, minoxidil, saw palmetto, and nettle. If a person has concerns about their hair loss, they need to consult a doctor.