Let’s cut to the chase: Is there a relationship between testosterone and hair loss, male pattern baldness (MBP) or whatever term you want to use?
The answer is yes, but, as always with important things, it’s complicated too.
So, stay calm, high testosterone won’t make your precious hair thinner (not necessarily, at least) and you can have low testosterone and go bald anyways, because life has an infinite repository of bad news.
Baldness is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a man. I know it sounds shallow, but it’s true. 30% of the men will suffer some kind of hair loss in their thirties, about 50% will see the bathroom sink full of hair in their fifties.
And the reality is that testosterone has a role in male pattern baldness, especially, DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, that is formed when testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase get in contact.
If you remember, DHT is a special form of testosterone, with more androgenic effects.
In fact, castrated individuals, or those who have a 5-alpha reductase deficiency, don’t suffer from male pattern baldness.
Ironically, your hair (on the head) grows without DHT, but hair on other parts of your body, like your beard, your armpits and, yes, shoulders, back (and other inappropriate places) cannot grow without androgens.
How is that? Well, it’s not been fully explained, but DHT seems to attach to androgen receptors on hair follicles, and, in conjunction with a genetic predisposition, the receptors become smaller and smaller. In time, you thinning hair just falls and never grows again.
Follicles and skin of balding men contain higher DHT levels, as demonstrated by several studies.
When they get older, men increase their DHT levels, although that DHT increase in later years doesn’t mean more androgenic effects. I know, it sucks, but such is life. Because of that increase and our screwed ratios of hormones, many men lose their hair and their virility.
The treatments against hair loss and how they lower testosterone
Hair loss does not have a cure, god knows why, because we put things on the moon and we are creating Artificial Intelligences that will destroy the world, but it seems that we are going to see the Armageddon without a hair in our scalp.
Although there is no cure, we have some promising treatments. We use Propecia and the like, that work inhibiting 5-alpha reductase in our bodies. That tends to stop hair from falling, and some times you can even grow new ones. The problem is that it comes with nasty side effects, at least that’s true for a good percentage of men.
Less 5-alpha reductase means less testosterone converted to DHT, and there is no shortage of men complaining of, primarily, loss of libido, because, remember, DHT is the kind of testosterone with more androgenic effects.
Probably it will affect other areas (like mood, muscle creation, fat burning and the like), but loss of libido and weak (or disappearing) erections are the first things that every man notices.
It’s a matter of luck and it sucks
So, are we screwed and if we increase our testosterone will just make things worse? Well, not necessarily.
As I noted before, there is a genetic predisposition to baldness, so, if you are a lucky winner in the genetic lottery, no amount of DHT is going to do anything, because it won’t trigger that genetic predisposition that you don’t have (lucky bastard).
If you are one of those with good genes, you can increase your testosterone through the roof and no hair will be lost.
And yes, it sucks, because the relationship between baldness and testosterone is one of those things in life that we can not control. If you don’t have a genetic predisposition, increasing your testosterone won’t do anything, if you have it, increasing DHT can accelerate your hair loss, but you are not doing anything that won’t happen by itself, and you are not accelerating too much, probably.
As you probably know, one of the side effects of steroids is, no surprise, baldness, because of the surge in unnatural testosterone that happens in your body. But those are artificial levels way above the natural limits. You are not going to get the same increase following the testosterone book and you are not going to cross that natural threshold, so you won’t accelerate too much the unavoidable hair loss written in your genes.
Bottom line: I hope you have the lucky lottery ticket, if not, don’t worry too much about increasing testosterone or not regarding your baldness.
Life is much better with higher levels and you will have, more o less, the same hair.