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Low T FAQ: Is Testosterone The Reason I am Balding?

balding and testosteroneIf you are currently receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), or are considering this type of treatment for low testosterone, then you might be concerned about the potential effects of testosterone on your hair.

One of the most common low testosterone myths is that too much testosterone can cause balding. However, the evidence shows that whether or not you will go bald is actually determined by your genes.

The Relationship Between Testosterone and Balding

Men with male pattern baldness, which is scientifically known as androgenic alopecia, often have unusual hormone levels compared to people who do not suffer from this type of hair loss.

Overall testosterone levels of testosterone are usually lower in these men, although they typically have about the same amount of a type of unbound testosterone known as dihydrotestosterone, often abbreviated to DHT.

Does this mean that testosterone is responsible for male balding?

This is one of the low testosterone myths that keeps on circulating, but studies show that it is probably not true. Although DHT has been shown to shrink hair follicles, the amount of shrinkage that occurs depends primarily on the follicles’ sensitivity to DHT, rather than the amount of this chemical in the body.

Follicle sensitivity is determined by your genes. If your father went bald, then you are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from baldness yourself compared to someone whose father kept his hair. It is also possible, although slightly less likely, that you will inherit the baldness patterns of your maternal grandfather.

Why Do Men Go Bald More Often Than Women?

Many low testosterone myths arise from an observed difference between men and women. Because it is rare for women to lose their hair, many people think that balding must be caused by testosterone.

The real explanation lies in human genetic code. The gene that controls the sensitivity of hair follicles lies on the X chromosome.

This gene comes in two types – known as alleles – one of which causes baldness and the other which does not. The balding allele is recessive, which means that it will not be expressed if there is a non-balding allele also present.

Men only have one X chromosome, so if they inherit the baldness allele, then it will inevitably be expressed with the result that the man loses his hair. In contrast, women have two X chromosomes, so they would have to inherit two copies of the baldness allele in order to lose their hair.

What Does This Mean for Me?

The bad news is that if your father or grandfather went bald, then there is a strong chance that you will too, and there is not much that you can do to prevent it. The good news is that treating your low testosterone levels with testosterone replacement therapy will not cause you to lose your hair.

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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

25 Comments

  1. Arjan Broekman on 07/29/2015 at 6:04 am

    There is a wrong statement there. You said you can only inherit the balding from your father. That is not correct. Like you said, the allele gene which is inheritied with the x-chromosome.

    Males semen are in two type. X and Y chromosomes. If you are getting bald and you are a male, you have inherited the X-gene from your mother. If you got an X-chromosome you would’ve become a female.

    So, if you the male ejaculates the Y-chromosome into and egg with an X. You get a male. So the assumption is, XY (recessive balding gene from the mother). The mother on the other hand has two XX genes. Apparently one of them with the balding gene. (or both).

    I hope you guys understand me, but english is not my first language (more like my 4th.)

    • Augie Galindo on 07/29/2015 at 8:41 am

      Wow, kudos on you linguistic mastery! I’ve had the misfortune of communicating with folks whose first language was English who weren’t even half as polished as you.

      You are correct that a man’s X chromosome is contributed by his mother, and that the key gene is on the X chromosome. However, recent study shows that this single gene is not the only genetic influence on balding. Therefore, there can be balding “risk” that is inherited from your father.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and thank you for your comment as well!

      Augie Galindo, PA-C
      Founding Partner

      • james booker on 04/22/2017 at 5:49 pm

        Just look around, almost 100 % of the bald or balding persons I know ( me including ) have their fathers bald ( I am in my 30s ) . It is extremly hard to find a person who father is bald and he have a great head of hair by 30s or viceversa.
        By the way, My grandpa from my mom had great head of hair by 60s, he just tarted to thin after his 70s ! My dad started in his 18-20 , exactly same than me. There is not a think like just one gene that cause the balding process.

        • Antonymous on 06/01/2017 at 5:59 am

          I know a family of severely balding genes, where one sister was severely thinning but all the guys have the Nw7+ with low and thin sides. The sons of the thinning mother inherited the severely balding genes despite the father is much later balding still retaining at almost 70, despite mostly bald on top, the Nw6 pattern with thick and high sides.
          One of the brothers, also with said Nw7+ has a son which is mostly bald in his 30’s, although slower, Nw 7 but thicker, definitely inherited by his father. I dunno, very strong balding gene.

  2. arjun bhanushali on 11/06/2015 at 3:21 pm

    Hi
    M just 22 years old m loosing my hairs from last three years my hairs are became brown and very thin and m loosing it every day my mom and her whole family has same problem it can be solved ?

    • Augie Galindo on 11/10/2015 at 7:51 am

      Arjun,

      Unfortunately, this issue seems hereditary and testosterone therapy is unlikely to have any impact on it.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas – Founding Partner

  3. dinanath on 11/24/2015 at 1:19 pm

    Hello.. sorry for my bad english. A am 25 year nd i lost my hairs nd front line. No one bald in our family. What i should do?. Is low T is cause of male baldness ??

    • Augie Galindo on 11/24/2015 at 2:21 pm

      Dinanath,

      Unfortunately, I think it would be unlikely that significant balding in a young patient is the result of low testosterone. Certainly though, a blood test could help shed some light on the issue.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas – Founding Partner

  4. Jennifer on 06/19/2016 at 6:17 pm

    Hi, I’m a 43 yr old female. I was on Loestrin (high androgen) for years and complained to my gyno of tons of hair shedding. I eventually lost half of my hair. I stopped the Loestrin and eventually the shedding stopped. I didn’t realize the pills were causing the shedding until I stopped them. It’s been several years and no regrowth. My hair loss looks just like male pattern baldness. I have very low testosterone. I’m wondering if my testosterone could be converting to dht. While I’m glad the shedding stopped, I can see my scalp through what’s left of my hair and would like to get it growing back. It may have been too long and the follicles may have been destroyed. Do you think treatment for low T may help? I hate to disrupt my Estrogen/Progesterone balance, they look great. But my DHEA-S and Testosterone are super low. My doc commented my T is the lowest she’s ever seen. I was considering trying a DHT Blocker, but wanted to get some advice first. Thanks!

    • Augie Galindo on 06/20/2016 at 4:16 pm

      Jennifer,

      There is quite a bit going on here. The main issue will be the initial cause for hair loss. While DHT is what pulls the trigger, it isn’t what “loads the gun”. Genetics are the leading factor, but other illnesses like hypothyroidism could be at fault. Also, simply blocking DHT may not have any effect. I would recommend starting with a visit to your dermatologist, they may even start out with something as straightforward as OTC Rogaine. TRT won’t make you lose hair that you aren’t already genetically predisposed to losing, but it is unlikely to help you regrow scalp hair as well.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

  5. Ray Flores on 07/22/2016 at 7:33 am

    I have recently noticed hair loss greater than usual with small white dots at the tips. My hair seems more course and is turning from brown to red just a little. I am currently taking testosterone cypionate but I ran out and went longer than usual. I am now taking test propionate. could the hair loss be due to hormone imbalances and is it permanent?

    • Augie Galindo on 07/28/2016 at 3:27 pm

      Ray,

      Unfortunately, its near impossible for me to say. Many hormonal changes can lead to hair loss, but not all is permanent. With male pattern balding, your genetics will decide whether you will bald or not, but androgens do play a role. The cause is genetics, but its DHT (an active metabolite of testosterone) that pulls the trigger. Propionate has a shorter half-life, but in this scenario should behave very similarly to cypionate.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

  6. Doggy Dog on 08/12/2016 at 11:14 am

    Hello, I’m a 24 year old man and I just found this interesting site. I am currently sexually active so I believe that my testosterone levels are normal, right? Anyway…I have male-pattern baldness (frontal) and it’s just making me depressed to be honest. I am currently trying a possible DHT blocker called: Saw palmetto. It’s a standardized extract which has 85%-95% fatty acids. I wanted to know if this might reduce the amount of hairs I’m currently losing from male pattern baldness? many people within articles claim that research done on saw palmetto is limited but promising and that it blocks DHT and allows for new hair to grow over the course of maybe 4-9 months.

    Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that almost everyone in my entire family line has no record of baldness, NO ONE. The only people that I know of that have little to no hair is my grandpa, but he’s 85 years old.

    Is there any truth to DHT blockers? Do they really help reduce the amount of hair and possibly even reactivate dormant follicles? A lot of people on one health related website claim that within 4 months of constant usage of saw palmetto saw brand new hair follicles and about 40%-60% less hair loss.

    Oh and Saw palmetto has been theorized to have the same effect as the drug finasteride, but to a lesser degree.

    Another herbal supplement which has been popping up lately is called ‘Ecklonia cava’ I’m considering ordering the 400mg version because studies claim that it “reactivates hair follicles over time from constant daily usage” with its anti-oxidation properties and anti-inflammatory.

    If DHT blockers don’t do much to stop the effects of male pattern baldness, would natural oil treatments like Almond and coconut oil help reactivate hair follicles? Many participants claim that it moisturizes the scalp and brings dormant follicles back to life within the course of around 5-6 months of weekly usage.

    • Augie Galindo on 08/22/2016 at 4:22 pm

      Doggy Dog,

      The heart of the problem is deeper than hormones alone. Your predisposition to MPB is genetic in origin. DHT may pull the trigger, but it pulls the trigger of a gun loaded by nature. Furthermore, many nutraceuticals can mimic the effects of more potent prescription drugs, but only in a fraction of the efficacy. Also, you don’t want to block DHT too strongly as it’s presence is necessary for the expression of many of the androgenic and anabolic effects of testosterone.

      Just keep in mind that copy on a supplement website is pure marketing and little to no science. The “reactivation” of dead hair follicles is always unlikely. It is possible to remove and offending trigger and have previously suppressed activity return to normal, but to expect that as a rule rather than an exception is going to leave you disappointed.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

      • prince khan on 11/14/2016 at 12:32 am

        Hi every one with great respects my question is that,
        (I have a lot of hair on my face and body like on my arms,chest abdomin,legs and feet)so what is this problem with me and what is the cure or recipe for it while it finished or reduced. Plz tell me plz

        • Augie Galindo on 11/22/2016 at 11:24 am

          Prince,

          This is likely genetically driven, so unfortunately I don’t have a solid answer for you on this one.

          Best regards,
          Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
          Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

  7. Rijkard96@gmail.com on 11/17/2016 at 8:01 pm

    Before all that , my hair was full but I started masturbating a lot now I’m 20 , by the way none of my parents is bald but now I have this little thin hair on the side of my forehead , everytime I get a brushcut you can notice it , but when I grow my hair out it’s all good . I’m taking Biotin . Can you give me the reasons what could cause my hair loss & i’m trying to visit a dermatologist pretty soon .

    • Augie Galindo on 11/22/2016 at 11:53 am

      Rijkard,

      Unfortunately, that is something I really can’t do with incomplete information and without seeing you as a patient. I definitely recommend following through with your plan to see a dermatologist.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

  8. Peter Renardo on 02/17/2017 at 3:01 pm

    Back in 1985 I had a surgical procedure called the ligatures of the superficial scalp arteries. I had both my temporal and both my occipital scalp arteries ligated. My hair loss completely stopped, and at age 56 I still have 90 percent of my hair. The testosterone has to be reduced

  9. Peter Renardo on 03/15/2017 at 4:11 pm

    Male pattern baldness is inherited from either the father or the mother. If there’s a double X chromosome present when a male child is conceived and he goes bald, he inherited it from his mother. If there’s a single X chromosome present, and he goes bald, he inherited it from his father.

  10. Peter Renardo on 04/29/2017 at 8:14 am

    I had ligatures of my superficial scalp arteries back in 1985 and I stopped losing my hair. I did not regrow lost fronal hair, but the loss completely stopped, and at age 56 I still have about 90 percent of my hair. Testosterone DOES cause male pattern baldness, and I am living proof

  11. J.KenDavis on 09/13/2017 at 5:06 am

    Im baldheaded,how can I get back my hair.

  12. Stuart on 12/01/2017 at 8:25 am

    Question is how HRT would affect the efficacy of Propecia? I understand Propecia blocks about 60-70% of DHT. If you’re increasing the testosterone in the body, aren’t you also increasing the amount DHT? If so, wouldn’t that increased 30-40% of DHT that isn’t blocked by P, in effect speed up hair loss?

    My concern is I’m on Propecia and while it has greatly helped stem my hair loss these past so many years, I don’t want to increase the hair loss rate by increasing my testosterone if the DHT component is also increased.

    Thanks

    • Stuart,

      You are correct. You would effectively increase DHT’s effect. Keep in mind, however, that with Propecia you are also limiting the androgenic benefits of the testosterone you currently make. There is always a trade off.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner

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