Which Steroids Cause Hair Loss?

When one hears about steroids, the first images that come to mind are huge bodybuilder athletes à la Schwarzenegger in the ’70s. If you ever have seen career bodybuilders, either young or middle age, you’d have noticed that many of them sport bald heads. 

What might initially seem like an aesthetic trend among them could pretty well be actual baldness caused by steroids use. But there are different kinds of steroids, so which steroids cause hair loss? 

The answer requires a little in-depth knowledge of what steroids are, their types, and how they act.

Two Types of Steroids

Not only athletes use steroids without prescriptions, but some are also actually prescribed by doctors. And you might have even used one yourself during your lifetime. 

Corticosteroids are a class of steroids used for medical purposes. They mimic the function of many hormones that our bodies naturally produce. Their effects treat a variety of ailments ranging from tumours to immunological disorders.

Anabolic steroids, however, are the ones with the effects we described previously. Athletes use them to gain increased sizes of muscle mass more easily than would be otherwise.

The way they boost performance unfairly has led to banning their use in official competitions. Nevertheless, people still use them for personal use even when some substances are illegal or have grey status.

Anabolic steroids are the type of steroids that can cause hair loss. They do not necessarily cause it for everyone, but rather, the effects tie into the reasons for hair loss instead.

How Steroids Cause Hair Loss

Anabolic steroids work by mimicking the functions of androgen hormones in our bodies, which leads to muscle gain. The body recognises them as androgen hormones and adds them to the ones you naturally procure, increasing the quantity, which is something that should not happen.

The injection of anabolic steroids alters the hormonal balance within your body. And this leads to a variety of effects, hair loss among them. This happens because of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), the one responsible for hair loss. And DHT also happens to be an androgen.

DHT comes from testosterone, the main androgen, which an enzyme called alpha 5 reductase converts into DHT. Since steroids increase androgens, testosterone included, it gives the enzyme more to convert to DHT.

Once produced, DHT attaches itself to your hair follicles and makes them shrink progressively over time until they no longer grow. That is the actual cause of baldness. And since anabolic steroids increase testosterone, it will inevitably increase DHT and make the process a lot faster.

Note that baldness is hereditary. You inherit the genes that cause it from either or both of your parents. If said genes are active in you, you will be more sensitive to even small quantities of DHT and, thus, bald faster when using steroids. Some steroids also claim to be DHT-free, but they do not stop production of DHT despite the claims.

People that do not have those genes or have them as recessive genes can also have hair loss triggered by increased DHT from anabolic steroids. That is not always the case though. Some lifelong steroids users can maintain a headful of hair their whole lives. 

It is different for each individual, but if you do have the baldness genes, chances are you will go bald from steroids use.

Hair Transplant for Hair Loss Caused by Steroids

If you used steroids and already went bald from them, it is not a lost cause. You can get a follicular unit excision (FUE) hair transplant to restore your hair.

FUE extracts healthy hair follicles from the back of the scalp and grafts them into the balding area with microincisions. The hair from the back of the scalp is thinning-resistant so, even if you were bald, there’s a chance they are still viable for extraction.

Our surgeons can examine your scalp to assess the viability of your donor hair for a possible hair transplant. If so, they’ll deliver natural-looking results that blend in seamlessly once grown. Contact us to see if you can reclaim your hair’s looks via this procedure. 

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