Best DHT Blocker Review for December, 2021 for a Hair-Raising Experience with Buying Guide
A well-publicized study in 2014 reported a somewhat-surprising conclusion: men worry more about their appearance than about their family, health or career success. The only thing they worry about more than the way they look? Money, and not by much.
At first, a man’s concern about his appearance may center on his weight or his abs. But as he gets a little older, his focus often moves a couple of feet higher – to his head.
Why do men worry about losing their hair? Experts have lots of theories.
In truth, it doesn’t matter why men fear losing their hair. They simply do, particularly if male pattern baldness (medically known as androgenic alopecia) runs in their family. And while most guys don’t know the actual statistics, they know that they may start losing hair before they’re 40. (If you’re curious, about two-thirds of all men begin experiencing some hair loss by their mid-30s.
Some men just accept the fact that they’re growing bald as a natural sign of maturity, or go to the other extreme and shave their heads at the first sign of hair loss. Others try any type of hair loss prevention technique they can find: shampoos, additional vitamin D, diet changes, even helmets with lasers in them. (And many of those treatments do help, even the helmets, for some types of hair loss.)
The DHT blocking medication finasiterde (generic Propecia), and the vasodilator minoxidil (generic Rogaine), are the only proven treatments for male pattern baldness that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Minoxidil, now available over the counter, is better at promoting hair growth than preventing its loss. And you need a prescription for finasteride.
There are other non-prescription products, though, which will block DHT and prevent alopecia from raiding your scalp. There is a wealth of “DHT blocking” alternatives on the market; some are worthless, but some really do help stop hairlines from receding.
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These products come in all sorts of forms: shampoos, conditioners, creams, pills and powders. The Groom+Style review team has checked all of them out, tossing the useless and ranking the very best DHT blockers on the market.
Two notes before we start. First, while we’ve primarily addressed male baldness, women can suffer from androgenic alopecia as well and the treatment is generally the same. Second, not all hair loss is caused by male pattern baldness. We’ll address this in more detail in the buyer’s guide below our reviews, but before going crazy with DHT blockers you might want to check with your doctor, who can tell you if there’s another cause for your hair loss.
Let’s comb through the review team’s results.
Best DHT Blockers
1. Ultrax Labs Hair Surge Shampoo
If you’re going to use a DHT blocking shampoo for hair loss, you ideally want one with ketoconazole, the most effective non-prescription substance for blocking the attachment of DHT to hair follicles on the scalp. And this pricey choice from Ultrax Labs has the greatest concentration of ketoconazole, 2%, that you’ll find in any shampoo. It also contains other active ingredients considered likely to be good DHT blockers like saw palmetto and caffeine; saw palmetto in combination with ketoconazole is a particularly effective combination.
Hair Surge is designed to keep the active ingredients in the scalp, rather than allowing them to wash away. It also contains other ingredients to nourish and revitalize hair, including niacin, peppermint oil and mango butter. This shampoo can be used in place of regular shampoo for as many as five times per week, or as an addition to your hair care regimen. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this product is used in many hair salons.
The company also manufactures a companion conditioner, Ultrax Labs Hair Solaye. Like Hair Surge, it’s expensive, but the review team thinks that saving your hair may be worth the extra cost.
Hair Surge is the hair loss shampoo with the highest concentration of the most powerful DHT blocker available without a prescription. It’s also the highest-priced, but it’s a lot cheaper than hair transplants.
Facts and figures for Ultrax Labs Hair Surge Shampoo:
2. Propidren by HairGenics DHT Blocker and Hair Growth Supplement
Groom+Style is a big believer in ketoconazole as a DHT blocker, but you’ll only find that ingredient in shampoos or topical creams since it’s not meant for internal use. So those who wish to take a vitamin or supplement will have to rely on other DHT blocking ingredients to do the job, and the G+S review team believes that Propidren is the best choice.
Saw palmetto, pygeum bark powder, zinc and green tea extract are among the primary ingredients used in Propidren to slow the attachment of DHT molecules to hair follicles. Working in combination they do a very good job of it, with biotin added to the mix to strengthen hair. (Many companies also add biotin because a deficiency of that vitamin can actually cause some hair loss).
This supplement isn’t cheap, but it’s less expensive than Hair Surge. If you like what you’ve read but prefer a topical hair serum instead, Propidren also comes in that form for around the same price.
It can take as long as 90 days to see significant effects from Propidren so you’ll have to take two capsules per day – and be patient. The wait should be worth it.
More details for Propidren by HairGenics DHT Blocker and Hair Growth Supplement:
3. L’emarie Hair Growth Shampoo And Anti-Dandruff Treatment
This product with the weird brand name is our runner-up choice for a DHT blocker shampoo. It only contains 1% ketoconazole (compared to the 2% in Hair Surge), but it’s quite a bit less expensive and still does a good job slowing or stopping hair loss. Some of the credit also goes to the other DHT blocking ingredients in L’emarie like saw palmetto, zinc and pumpkin seed oil. As with most of these products, biotin is included as well.
The manufacturers promote this as a “hair growth” shampoo, but you won’t see new hairs sprouting out all over, all of a sudden, after using it. What it does is use ingredients like pea peptide, which are said to stimulate hair follicle growth, so over the long term L’emarie creates conditions which can help with the production of new hairs. What was more interesting to the review team was the inclusion of tea tree oil, an essential oil often combined with ketoconazole to treat and eliminate dandruff.
We like the L’emarie shampoo a lot, particularly at its price point, and it does double-duty as a DHT-blocking and anti-dandruff product.
Looking closer at L’emarie Hair Growth Shampoo And Anti-Dandruff Treatment:
4. Dr. Formulas HairOmega DHT Blocker Supplement
Our second choice for a DHT blocking supplement comes from another oddly-named company, Dr. Formulas (without an apostrophe). Their HairOmega product is not only all-natural but vegetarian as well, and it contains a nice assortment of ingredients known or believed to block DHT from attaching to hair follicles: saw palmetto, pygeum bark, zinc and green tea extract. (As we’ve already mentioned, you won’t find ketoconazole in products you consume internally.)
A number of other vitamins and minerals beneficial to hair are added to the Dr. Formulas formulation (we wanted to write that phrase ever since we saw the brand name). They include 5,000 milligrams of biotin (of course), the antioxidant lycopene to support hair growth, and various B, C and E vitamins to keep follicles healthy, nourish hair and prevent scalp itch. Dr. Formulas capsules are taken three times a day, and it can take a month or two for results to begin showing.
This is a good mix of ingredients not to just block DHT, but also to keep hair healthy, nourished and growing. It’s priced reasonably, too.
A deeper dive on Dr. Formulas HairOmega DHT Blocker Supplement:
5. Pura D’Or Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo With Ketaconazole
Scientists aren’t able to identify how much or whether most natural ingredients are able to block DHT from binding to hair follicles – so it’s hard to know how Pura d’Or was able to specifically count 17 different DHT blocking agents in their Gold Label shampoo. Even so, it has a number of ingredients which are definitely believed to block the hormone and its effect on hair loss: saw palmetto, pumpkin seed, pygeum bark and zinc are among them. And this version of Pura D’Or also includes 0.9% ketoconazole (other, similar versions do not); if that concentration had been higher, the shampoo’s ranking would have been higher as well.
Nevertheless, this shampoo is also quite good at increasing the volume and health of hair, thanks to red Korean seaweed that supports growth, argan oil and aloe vera which moisturize, vitamin E which locks in moisture, and niacin and cumin seed for scalp health. Add in the many DHT blockers which work to prevent hair loss, and you have a well-designed anti-thinning shampoo that’s reasonably priced.
If Pura D’Or included more ketoconazole it might be the perfect DHT blocking shampoo. Even with a smaller amount, though, it’s pretty darned good.
Key details for Pura D’Or Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo With Ketoconazole:
6. Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker Supplement With Immune Support
Advanced Trichology has a full line of hair growth products including Hairstem shampoo and Nutraviv serum, but the team feels this vegetarian nutritional supplement is the best of their products at blocking the DHT that causes hair loss in those with male pattern baldness.
Just about all of the non-ketoconazole DHT blocking ingredients are found in this supplement: saw palmetto, pygeum bark, zinc, green tea leaf extract and pumpkin seed extract. Other antioxidants and digestive aids included in the Advanced Trichology supplement do something very different; they support the body’s immune system to address other health issues like poor diet, malabsorption, fungus and bacteria, all of which can also cause hair loss.
It can take up to 90 days to see results from taking two Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker capsules twice a day, but it’s worth the commitment not only for hair health, but body health.
The scoop on Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker Supplement With Immune Support:
7. Lipogaine Hair Stimulating Shampoo For Hair Thinning and Breakage
We take a short break from our look at DHT blockers, to look at what may be the best overall shampoo on our list. Yes, Lipogaine’s shampoo does have its share of DHT blocking ingredients to combat hair loss, including saw palmetto, green tea and caffeine. Since it doesn’t contain ketoconazole, though, we don’t consider this to be as good at preventing thinning and loss as our top shampoo choices when it comes to preventing thinning and loss.
What it does have is a wealth of ingredients like biotin, argan oil, vitamin E, cedarwood oil and niacin that help nourish and strengthen hair, rebuild its fullness and thickness, and make hair more manageable and lustrous – while also having enough DHT blockers to somewhat help battle male pattern baldness. The G+S team thinks that’s a combination well worth considering if your hair loss isn’t extreme.
Lipogaine has been a mainstay in the “hair stimulation” world for years, and this shampoo is a terrific “default” choice for anyone not happy with the health, strength or fullness of their hair.
More about Lipogaine Hair Stimulating Shampoo For Hair Thinning and Breakage:
8. Nutrafol Hair Loss And Thinning Supplement
One unique feature of this vitamin supplement is that it comes in three versions: one for men, one for women, and one for women who are of menopausal age. We decided to review men’s Nutrafol, since they’re the ones who would benefit most from the “extra DHT support” provided by saw palmetto and zinc. Those are the only easily-identifiable DHT blockers in the ingredient list, however, so Nutrafol only makes #8 in the Groom+Style rankings.
There’s something else unique about this product: it received Esquire Magazine’s “Grooming” award for 2018, largely because the many other hair health ingredients included in the formulation work so well together to strengthen hair, encourage growth and help with its overall health. Of course, Esquire didn’t have to pay the big-time price for Nutrafol (nearly $100 per container of capsules, which is one month’s supply), so it’s a bit easier for them to give their top award to this supplement. We like it better down here.
Nutrafol packs a punch with lots of ingredients that are beneficial to healthy hair, but with only two DHT blockers in there we’ve decided it doesn’t quite rank with the best.
Digging deeper on Nutrafol Hair Loss And Thinning Supplement:
9. Wick & Strom Anti Hair Loss Shampoo
You’ve probably noticed that there are more shampoos than other types of DHT blockers in these rankings, and here’s yet another shampoo to add to the list. The G+S review team’s reasoning is simple: ketaconazole is the DHT blocker with the most research and proof behind it, and the ingredient is only found in shampoos, not vitamins or supplements.
Wick & Strom uses a 1% concentration of ketaconazole, like all of the other shampoos we’ve reviewed with the exception of our #1 choice, Hair Surge. When combined with the saw palmetto and caffeine in this product, that’s a pretty decent DHT blocking force arrayed against hair loss. They’ve added other active ingredients like biotin, aloe vera juice, mango butter and niacin for hair health, strength and moisture, making this a good all-purpose DHT blocking shampoo at a very nice price.
1% ketaconazole isn’t the strongest weapon for battling hair loss, but it ain’t bad, and Wick & Strom’s other ingredients make this an excellent shampoo at its price point.
Key details for Wick & Strom Anti Hair Loss Shampoo:
10. Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Our budget choice is marketed primarily as an anti-dandruff shampoo, and the active ingredient promoted most heavily as a dandruff-fighter is ketoconazole. That antifungal does indeed do good work against dandruff, but as you know by now, it’s also the best non-prescription DHT blocker to use in shampoo. It’s only included at a 1% concentration, but that’s enough to make this another very good double-barrel product, effective at preventing dandruff and hair loss at the same time.
The bad news: there are no other active ingredients in Nizoral, so it’s not going to provide the moisturizing function of oils or the hair health benefits of biotin that some of the other products we’ve reviewed. The good news: this is the lowest-price shampoo with ketoconazole we’ve found, and that alone make Nizoral noteworthy.
Nizoral doesn’t have all of the DHT blockers found in Groom+Style’s #3 choice, L’emarie, but it’s a very good anti-hair loss and anti-dandruff shampoo at a budget price.
Key details for Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo:
Best DHT Blocker Buying Guide
The term “DHT blockers” has become almost synonymous with the phrase “baldness treatments,” but the two are definitely not the same.
The #1 cause of male baldness, far and away, is androgenic alopecia. It’s more commonly known as male pattern baldness (MPB), it’s inherited, and it’s the primary culprit for hair loss in about 95% of men. About half of all men over the age of 50 suffer from male pattern baldness to some degree.
It’s important to know, however, that there can be other reasons that men lose their hair. Some diseases, reactions to some medication, and even high stress can be responsible for hair loss in men (and women). The important takeaway: before you start treating what you assume is male pattern baldness, see your doctor. A medicine cabinet full of prescription and over-the-counter treatments for MPB won’t do a thing to stop you from going bald, if something else is causing you to lose your hair.
What is DHT, and Why Should It Be Blocked?
DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a male hormone that’s created by the body from testosterone. (Women have it as well, but usually in much smaller amounts.) DHT is important to men’s development in many ways, most importantly because it’s responsible for creating male genitals in fetuses. It also stimulates the growth of hair on the chest, under the arms and in the genital region, and the amount of DHT that boys have in their body can determine how early or late they go through puberty.
The hormone has a very different effect on the head, however. In men who inherit the genes that cause male pattern baldness, DHT can attach itself to receptors in the head’s hair follicles (but scientists aren’t exactly sure why this happens). What happens next is complicated but usually described as “miniaturization” – the follicles shrink and their lifespans shorten. Eventually, they stop growing hair completely.
The follicles in men’s hairlines and the crowns on their head are apparently affected the most by DHT. That’s why baldness usually appears first as a receding hairline, and progresses to the horseshoe hair pattern we associate with men who have “gone bald.”
This brief explanation provides the answer to the second half of the question we asked at the start of this section. Blocking DHT prevents it from attaching to the hair follicles in the head, slowing down or even stopping baldness if the process begins early enough.
Finasteride and Minoxidil
The first drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat male pattern baldness was minoxidil, often referred to by the brand name Rogaine. However it is not a DHT blocker; in fact, it doesn’t interact with hormones in any way. The drug’s ability to slow down hair loss and – at times – stimulate new hair growth was discovered accidentally.
Scientists think minoxidil helps hair follicles grow larger, prolongs the length of time that the follicles produce hair, and reactivates inactive hair follicles.However, minoxidil is viewed as a second-line treatment for MPB, or best used in conjunction with a DHT blocker.
The gold standard for DHT blockers is finasteride, often known by the brand name Propecia. This drug was approved by the FDA a short time after minoxidil, and its ability to stop the progression of hair loss (and stimulate new growth in some men) was also discovered by accident. The way that it works, though, is pretty well understood.
Finasteride lowers the body’s DHT levels by as much as 60% when the standard dose is taken daily, by inhibiting the process that turns testosterone into DHT. Fewer DHT molecules means that fewer hair follicles are “attacked” by the hormone, slowing or stopping the advance of male pattern baldness. The effectiveness of finasteride against MPB has been proven over several decades, although it has also caused sexual side effects in some men.
There’s another drug like finasteride, called dutasteride, which does much the same thing. In fact, it’s even more promising; it is said to block 90% of DHT, compared to 70% for finasteride. It hasn’t been approved yet in America to treat hair loss, though, where it’s only prescribed for prostate enlargement right now. It is available in a number of other countries as a treatment for male pattern baldness.
There’s a slight catch to Finasteride. It isn’t sold over-the-counter; you need a prescription for it. Many men prefer to find an easier solution to their thinning hair problem, want a less-expensive solution, or don’t want to risk the side effects, so they turn to other products that can also block the production of DHT or its tendency to go after hair follicles on the head.
DHT Blocking Products
A number of commercially-available products rely on natural ingredients, which may not be as effective as finasteride at blocking DHT but still do a good enough job that they show good results for many users.
The most common of these products are shampoos, but you’ll also find supplement pills, conditioners, creams and orally-consumed powders that claim to be able to block DHT and stop hair loss. Many of them don’t actually have any effect on DHT at all; they attack other hair and scalp issues like dandruff or psoriasis. However, those problems can also cause hair to fall out or stop growing, so even though they’re not DHT blockers, they can help solve the actual problem of hair loss in some men.
Are there any products which do block DHT? Yes, and the key to their effectiveness is the ingredients they use.
DHT Blocking Ingredients
One active ingredient in DHT blocking products has been shown to have at least some effect in disrupting the attachment of DHT to hair follicles in the scalp. That ingredient is ketoconazole, an antifungal which has also been shown to somewhat block the production of the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.
Other natural ingredients which have had DHT blocking properties shown in some studies are pygeum bark (commonly used as a natural treatment for prostate issues caused by DHT) and pumpkin skin oil (shown in a scientific review to reduce baldness and increase hair growth, although the study sample was small).
Several other common ingredients in DHT blocking products are either thought to inhibit product of DHT, or have other properties which have been shown to increase hair growth. They include:
Buying the Best DHT Blocker
The three major considerations in choosing a DHT blocking product are its ingredient list, how convenient it is to use, and naturally, its price.
When shopping, don’t ignore the label or the list of ingredients on a website. Look for the active ingredients (which are most important) and determine whether they’ve been actually been shown to block DHT and stop hair loss – it’s easy to be fooled by sales puffery and testimonials, but the actual ingredients will always tell the tale.
Also remember that the best way to use any of these products is in conjunction with either finasteride or minoxidil, proven to be the best treatments for hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
Frequently Asked Questions About DHT Blockers
Q: Will DHT blockers definitely stop hair loss?
Q: Is there any harm in taking DHT blockers?
Q: Which is better, DHT blockers or Rogaine?
Q: Do DHT blockers just slow down hair loss, or cause new hair growth?