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Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
- Best overall: Hims Thickening Shampoo | Skip to review
- Best subscription option: Keeps Thickening Shampoo | Skip to review
- Best DHT-blocking shampoo and conditioner: Happy Head Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner | Skip to review
- Most affordable: Maple Holistics Biotin Shampoo |Skip to review
- Best sulfate-free: ProBliva DHT Blocker Hair Loss & Hair Re-Growth Shampoo |Skip to review
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a sex hormone that plays a few different roles in the body — some hairy, some helpful. Unfortunately, hair loss is one of DHT’s less helpful qualities.
However, there are certain shampoos and treatments that work to block DHT to help prevent hair loss. We combed through (pun intended) dozens of shampoos to find the best options out there.
Keep reading to see our list and learn more about DHT.
|Hims Thickening Shampoo
|Keeps Thickening Shampoo
|$24 for one-time purchase; $8/month subscription
|saw palmetto and caffeine
|Happy Head Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner
|$72 for one-time purchase; $55/month subscription
|biotin, saw palmetto
|Maple Holistics Biotin Shampoo
|ProBliva DHT Blocker Hair Loss & Hair Re-Growth Shampoo
While there are lots of products out there with ingredients that companies claim block DHT, not all of them are supported by research.
We looked for products from reputable brands that contain DHT-blocking ingredients with the most significant research behind them, including:
- Saw palmetto: Saw palmetto is an extract from the berries of a palm found in the southeastern U.S. Shampoos designed to thicken hair with saw palmetto may help lower DHT levels, unclog hair follicles, and boost hair regrowth. Although more research on saw palmetto is needed, a
2020 reviewof existing research found that it can offer modest enhancement of hair regrowth.
- Finasteride and minoxidil: Finasteride is a generic form of Propecia, a prescription treatment for male pattern baldness. Minoxidil is a generic form of Rogaine, a well-known topical treatment targeting the crown of the head.
Researchhas shown these ingredients are helpful in slowing the progression of male pattern hair loss, but they only help with partial regrowth.
- Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole is most popular for its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s usually used to treat infections or certain conditions, like seborrheic dermatitis. A
2011 pilot studyof 15 people with alopecia found that ketoconazole may be able to enhance hair regrowth.
- Pumpkin seed oil: Pumpkin seed oil is a natural oil that may have a positive effect on hair growth. It works by stopping testosterone from creating DHT. A
2014 studyreported that men who took 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil daily for 24 weeks saw a 40% increase in hair growth.
We also included some products with potential DHT blockers, like certain essential oils. These don’t have as much research behind them, but they may be helpful.
Finally, we looked carefully at customer reviews, choosing only products that reviewers mostly rated highly.
Androgenic alopecia — also known as male pattern baldness — is one of the more common culprits behind hair loss for older men.
Testosterone is converted to DHT thanks to an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). After it gets rolling through the bloodstream, DHT is able to connect to receptors on the scalp’s hair follicles, making them shrink.
- less dense hair
- inhibited regrowth
- overall appearance of a less-than-full head of hair
You’ll notice this lineup of ingredients in most of our picks. These have the most evidence behind them as DHT-blockers:
- saw palmetto
- finasteride and minoxidil
- pumpkin seed oil
Other ingredients, which don’t have as much research behind them, include:
- green tea extract
- tea tree oil
- rosemary extract
Beyond DHT-blocking ingredients, keep an eye out for strengthening ingredients, like biotin and keratin, and moisturizing ingredients, like coconut and argan oil.
If you have dry or curly hair, you may want to choose a shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates, as these can be drying.
You’ll use DHT-blocking shampoo much like you would any other shampoo: lather, rinse, repeat.
However, always read the directions on the label. Generally, you can expect to leave the shampoo in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing. It’s also important to follow up with a conditioner.
Use caution with shampoos with preservatives, parabens, sulfates, or other potentially irritating ingredients.
DHT-blocking shampoos are generally considered to be safe.
However, if you have sensitivities or allergies, be sure to perform a patch test before applying the shampoo to your entire scalp. To do this, dab some shampoo on the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours to see if you experience any signs of irritation.
Keep in mind that even natural ingredients can lead to irritation or allergic reactions.
It’s also best to keep a lookout for formulas without harsh chemicals and ones that are free of sulfates and parabens.
Hair loss is common as we age, but it has many other potential causes. Stress, hormones, illness, infections, and medications can all play a role in thinning hair. It’s important to seek advice from a medical professional if you’re concerned.
If your hair loss is sudden, patchy, or involves body hair, it could be due to an underlying medical condition that needs a diagnosis and treatment.
Likewise, if you have other symptoms along with hair loss, such as itching, burning, or pain, consider talking with a doctor for their advice.
Hair loss can also be a side effect of certain medications. If you’re taking meds or have recently started a course of treatment, check with your doctor or a pharmacist to see whether hair loss is a possible side effect.
Because stress and anxiety can also contribute to hair loss, speak with a healthcare professional if you’re having trouble coping with any mental health challenges. They can rule out underlying medical causes. They can also refer you to a therapist or counselor who can help you manage your mental health.
In most cases, hair loss is not a sign of a serious health problem. But talk with a doctor if you’re worried about hair loss, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms or affects your quality of life. They can help determine the underlying cause and recommend treatment options.
DHT is thought to be the culprit behind shrunken hair follicles and hair losing its density and quality. This leads to hair loss known as male pattern baldness.
If this is the type of hair loss you’re experiencing, consistently using a DHT-blocking shampoo may help enhance the appearance of thinning hair.
It’s best to start using a product like this as soon as possible. But these products may take months to even a year to see full results.
It might be a good idea to combine a DHT-blocking shampoo with a prescription treatment plan for hair loss if your doctor thinks this may work for you.
If your hair loss isn’t related to DHT, these shampoos might not work for you.
It may take a few months of consistent use, alongside a prescription treatment plan, to see results.
People experiencing male pattern baldness can chat with their doctors about preventive treatments like:
- Rogaine (minoxidil)
- Propecia or Proscar (finasteride)
- follicular unit transplantation (a hair transplant including underlying tissue)
- follicular unit extraction (a hair transplant including only follicles without using connecting tissue)
There are also other options for hair loss prevention at home, such as:
- trying scalp massage, which may encourage hair growth
- using essential oils for hair growth, like peppermint, Chinese hibiscus, ginseng, and jatamansi
- using a soft brush made of natural fibers
Low-level light therapy has also been shown to stimulate cell growth and repair.
There are also a few things to avoid, such as:
DHT is a sex hormone associated with male characteristics. It’s also a common reason for hair loss. Shampoos that work to block DHT may help improve hair loss.
Always perform a patch test before applying any new product.
Consider talking with your doctor to see if a hair loss treatment plan may be a good idea to use alongside a DHT-blocking shampoo.
Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, OH. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.