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Say Hello—and Goodbye—to DHT, the Culprit Behind Hair Loss

Oh, would it were that we could all age gloriously into silver fox status. For many of us, however, the reality is more Bruce Willis than George Clooney. If it's looking Willis for you and you want to fight back with a vengeance, the first step is figuring out what’s to blame for the baldness. —Michael Beck

That chemical is dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT, and it’s the biggest culprit behind male pattern baldness or androgenic appropecia. DHT is basically regular testosterone that gets converted into an altered form of itself in the bloodstream. It’s thought to lead to baldness by signaling your hair follicles to cut back their growth, which in turn thins out the hair. DHT can rob you of your mane—unless you take action.

If your hair loss has already reached an advanced stage:
• It’s probably best to see a specialist. They might put you on a prescription like Propecia (it typically starts to regrow hair within 3 to 12 months). Your doc might even recommend surgery, if you just can’t live without a full head of hair. Heck, there may even be a cure in the works.

If you’re in the beginning or middle stages of hair loss:
• Two big environmental contributors to hair loss are poor diet and stress, so try to cut back on processed foods and eat more stuff that has just one ingredient, like meats and vegetables. • Also: Chill out. Take up yoga, meditation, curling, whatever puts you at ease. Stress won't help your case.
• Think about using a hair-strengthening shampoo that thickens and volumizes while protecting hair from DHT. It’s also a smart move to use Rogaine about once or twice a month—especially once hair loss becomes noticeable.

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