Can steroids cause hair loss?

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If you’re reading this then you probably already know that using anabolic steroids can have a wide range of side-effects on someone’s body. We’ve talked about a few of these before on this site. On one hand steroids might get you more swole and give you that added boost to push your body to the next level. On the other hand, you might find some side-effects that you wish you had been privy to beforehand. One of those side-effects is potential hair loss. So the question this article is going to answer is simple – Do steroids cause hair loss?

How do Steroids affect your Hair

As we’ve said, using steroids can trigger a lot of different reactions so it’s important to be as well informed as possible about their possible effects. Additionally, steroids are considered illegal and we don’t endorse using them in any way. However, we do believe in having all the information out there. So if you are planning to use any kind of steroids, you should know all the facts.

Explaining the Science of Hair loss

So, male pattern baldness. What is that exactly? How does it happen?

To first understand how steroids affect hair loss, you first need to understand how hair loss happens naturally. First off, you may not realize it, but in reality our hair follicles are falling out all the time. Most people lose more than 100 hair follicles every single day both from our head and from the rest of our body. We simply don’t notice most of the time because our bodies normally replace the lost hairs so quickly that it doesn’t make a difference. The keyword there is normally.

 

Steroids can trigger hair loss from the scalp or temples

Example of male pattern baldness from the scalp

Technically speaking, male pattern baldness is when the hair on a man’s scalp stops replacing itself after it falls out. Doctors might also call this androgenic alopecia and this normally only affects the hair on a man’s head. 

Typically male pattern baldness can show itself in two different ways. The process can start from the temples. This looks like a receding hair-line or like a widow’s peak. Androgenic alopecia can also start on the crown of the head and then move outwards. Men most often start losing their hair in these to places because we have the most androgen receptors on the crown of head and at the temples. We’ll explain that part in a little while.

Steroids cause accelerated hair loss from the temples and scalp

balding from the temples

Overall, male pattern baldness is incredibly common amongst men. Normally the process hits at about age 50, although some guys start to loose their hair earlier. At that age, men have more or less a 50-50 shot of losing their hair or holding onto their dos. By far, genetics play the largest factor in determining hair loss. However, other factors are at play which can significantly alter your chances.

So now let’s dive into the science of going bald.

Most scientist agree that a chemical called dihydrotestosterone (also known as DHT) is one of the main causes of hair loss in men. DHT is an androgen hormone that helps promote male characteristics like muscle mass, body hair, deeper voice, etc. Overall dihydrotestosterone is much more potent than testosterone. Sometimes doctors will prescribe DHT to men who have a low testosterone levels. In men, the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme (5-AR) converts the bodies testosterone into DHT. Some scientist estimate that up to 10 percent of men’s naturally occurring testosterone converts into DHT, but remember, it’s different for everyone.

 

The presence of DHT from testosterone contributes to hair loss

Testosterone converting into dihydrotestosterone

So why is DHT a problem? In addition to promoting male characteristics, DHT also has the side-effect of shrinking  down our hair follicles. When the hair follicles get smaller, it reduces their growth phase, which means that the hair we normally loose every day isn’t being replaced as quickly. In a nutshell, it’s really the slow-down or lack of hair replacement that causes male pattern baldness.

Do Steroids Cause Hair Loss?

As we’ve discussed before in our beginners first steroid cycle guide, any use of anabolic steroids will change the dynamic of your body’s hormonal chemistry and can offset your body’s naturally established balance of testosterone. Steroids imitate your body’s own natural testosterone hormones which is important to remember since these are what effect your chances of male pattern baldness. Some of the testosterone in men converts into dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss. Because steroids add more testosterone to you body, it results in having more DHT.

In short, normally genetics normally determine hair loss, but using steroids can definitely make hair loss more likely for anyone who already has a genetic predisposition to it. Anabolic steroids introduce more testosterone into the body and  the more testosterone there is in the body, the more that gets converted into DHT. With higher concentrations of DHT, the chances of hair loss go up. So, for men who’ve already begun to lose hair, anabolic steroids can quicken the natural rate of male pattern balding. Likewise, they can also trigger the condition in men who don’t have the genetic predisposition.

You should also know that steroids don’t need to be anabolic to affect production of DHT and the subsequent hair loss. Other varieties of commonly prescribed steroids can also offset a man’s DHT levels and trigger or spur on hair loss. It all depends on what the steroid does to the body’s testosterone levels. If it increases your testosterone levels, then it will likely have an affect on hair loss.

If hair loss starts after using steroids, the only way to really prevent it from continuing is to stop taking steroids. Continued of anabolic steroids can result in permanent hair loss.

Which Steroids Cause Hair Loss

Now that you know that steroids have a strong correlation with hair loss, you’ll probably want to know which steroids will affect you the most. Everyone’s reaction to new chemicals in their body is different, so it’s hard to predict exactly, but we’ll get you as informed as we can. As a generally rule of thumb to remember is – the more testosterone you add, the higher the risk of balding. And remember, your chances of male pattern baldness only go up the more you use them, so stacking steroids only raises the odds against keeping your hairline intact.

We’ll start with the bad. Nearly all steroid-users report that Winstrol is the worst steroid around in terms of hair loss. Considering how strong Winstrol is, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Other common steroids like Deca Durabolin, Dianabol, Anabol, Trenbolone can also cause hair loss. Trenobolone actually derives from DHT, so it has a pretty high chance of setting off hair loss. In a similar vein, Anabol metabolizes into dihydrotestosterone super quick, so it also has a reputation for causes hair loss.

Among the most common steroids, Anavar  and Turnibol stand as the least likely to cause hair loss. Remember though, the words ‘least likely’ still mean that it’s possible. Moreover, using Anavar is doses of more than 100mg significantly increases the chances of triggering off hair loss. Turinabol has an androgenic ration of 0. In theory this means that it should cause any hair loss and is the least likely to cause it. That being said, everyone’s body is different, so you might hear different experiences from other people and have different experiences yourself.

Steroids’ Effect on other Hair

As we’ve already said, higher levels of dihydrotestosterone in the body can trigger or accelerate hair loss on your head. However, the androgenic hormone can also affect hair on the rest of your body in other ways.

While high levels of DHT can lead to male pattern badness is can also cause other hair conditions, such as hirsutism. This refers to the excess growth of hair on the body and face. This means growing more hair and more thick hair where you are used to seeing it, but it also means a chance of growing body hair in places you didn’t have it before. Some steroid-users report an unexpected growth of hair on their back, butt, and neck.

Excess back hair triggered by anabolic steroids

excess body hair on the back

Safer Options are Available

Most medications you get are prescribed by a doctor. As such, you can put a lot of trust in their quality and their risks. However, anabolic steroids don’t sell quite like most medications. You can’t be sure of ingredients in steroids or about their quality. This also means that you can’t know the real quality of the product.

As we’ve discussed, using anabolic steroids comes with a lot of possible side-effects. Some of these can be pretty minor while others can be seriously risky. If you want to get in shape, make crazy gains, and look great – there are other ways than steroids. There’s a load of different supplements and products out there to help you get in shape without risking your hair or your health.

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