There are many myths attached to hair loss. Wearing of hats, decreased blood flow to the scalp and frequent shampooing are among some of the causes that are attributed to it. They are however totally false and none of these instances can actually result in hair loss.
Perhaps one of the most persistent myths that have been attached to balding is that it is the result of high testosterone levels. This may be true to a certain extent though it is not a direct cause. A large amount of testosterone is also not a determining factor. It is only the testosterone being used as a component in the entire process that eventually leads up to the cause of balding.
Androgenic alopecia is a hair loss condition that is brought about by genetics. It is known to occur in about seventy percent of men and sixty percent of women. This is also the most common among all the hair loss conditions. Male pattern baldness is characterized by a receding hairline followed by loss of hair in the vertex region of the scalp. This will result in the top of the scalp being without hair while only the lower sides and back of the head having coverage. Female pattern baldness on the other hand will not result in a receding hairline although the vertex region will exhibit diffuse thinning. This will slowly progress outward and rarely results in a totally exposed scalp.
A particular process that occurs only in androgenic alopecia causes the hair loss. It begins with testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase binding together to form a more potent hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The DHT then fuses with the androgen receptors found at the ends of the hair follicles. This union causes a barrier between the hair follicles and the nutrient rich blood supply. As a result, it does not receive the vitamins and minerals essential for its growth. It causes its slow shrinkage until the hair strands decrease in length and circumference with every hair growth cycle that occurs. Wispy hair will eventually result before it stops producing hair altogether.
This is the reason why testosterone is but an isolated factor in hair loss. It is only a component required to create DHT. Testosterone by itself does not lead to balding. The real cause of androgenic alopecia is the rate of attraction between the androgen receptors of the hair follicles and DHT. In fact, no hair loss will occur even with high DHT levels in the body if it cannot attach itself to the androgen receptors. What more if testosterone cannot bind with the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme? There would be no DHT produced that could effectively block the passage of nutrients to the hair follicles.
The kind of balding that has any relation to testosterone is confined to androgenic alopecia. There are numerous other circumstances that lead to hair loss. This further debunks the myth that testosterone can actually influence balding. It is not even found in the other balding conditions nor is it the main reason for hair loss but only a component.
A popular medication to treat androgenic alopecia is finasteride. It is classified as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor drug that blocks testosterone from binding with this enzyme. As a result, DHT formation is minimised. The rate of attraction between it and the androgen receptors however remains the same. Though proven effective, finasteride can also cause adverse reactions. Known side effects are impotency and a low sperm count that can continue to persist despite stopping the use of this medication.