Experiencing hair loss can be incredibly distressing, significantly affecting self-esteem and overall well-being. While multiple factors contribute to hair loss, the use of steroids is a potential cause that should not be overlooked.
Steroids, prescribed for various medical conditions, are also present in illegal, performance-enhancing anabolic steroids utilized by some athletes and bodybuilders.
In this article, we’ll delve into the connection between hair loss and steroid use, examine different types of hair loss, and explore effective treatment options for addressing steroid-induced hair loss.
- 1 Steroid Use and Hair Loss
- 2 Causes of Steroid-Related Hair Loss
- 3 Treatment Options for Steroid-Related Hair Loss
- 4 Preventing Steroid-Related Hair Loss
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss. This genetic condition affects both men and women, causing hair to thin and recede over time.
The effects of androgenetic alopecia are often exacerbated by the use of steroids, leading to more rapid hair loss.
Drug-Induced Hair Loss
Drug-induced hair loss can occur as a side effect of various medications, including steroids. This type of hair loss typically causes hair to shed more rapidly than usual, but the extent of hair loss varies depending on the individual and the specific drug involved.
Temporary Hair Loss
Temporary hair loss may be triggered by factors such as illness, stress, or hormonal imbalances. In some cases, steroid use can contribute to temporary hair loss.
Fortunately, once the underlying cause is addressed, hair usually begins to grow back within a few months.
Permanent Hair Loss
Permanent hair loss is typically the result of irreversible damage to hair follicles. Prolonged steroid use can contribute to permanent hair loss by damaging the hair follicles, making it difficult or impossible for hair to regrow.
Treatment options for permanent hair loss are limited and often involve hair transplantation or other surgical procedures.
Steroid Use and Hair Loss
Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances designed to mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones, particularly testosterone.
They are often used illegally by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance performance and muscle growth.
The effects of steroids on the body can be significant, and their illicit use can lead to a range of side effects, including hair loss.
Systemic steroids are a type of steroid medication prescribed to treat various medical conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.
Although they can be helpful in treating these conditions, systemic steroids may also contribute to hair loss when used for an extended period or in high doses.
Effects of Steroids on Hair Growth
Steroids can have a significant impact on hair growth, particularly when used in excess or over a long period. The hormonal changes caused by steroids can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, leading to hair shedding and, in some cases, permanent hair loss.
It is essential to be aware of the potential effects of steroids on hair health and to use them responsibly under a doctor’s supervision.
Hormonal Imbalances and Hair Loss
Hormonal imbalances can play a significant role in hair loss, particularly in cases where steroids are involved. Steroids can disrupt the body’s natural hormones, leading to hair loss and other side effects.
Managing these hormonal imbalances can help mitigate the effects of steroids on hair growth and overall health.
Causes of Steroid-Related Hair Loss
Genetic predisposition plays a significant role in determining how an individual’s hair will react to steroid use. Some people may be more prone to hair loss due to their genetic makeup, which can make them more susceptible to the negative effects of steroids on hair growth.
Understanding one’s genetic predisposition can help predict the likelihood of steroid-related hair loss and inform decisions about steroid use.
Inflammation and Hair Follicles
Inflammation can be a contributing factor to hair loss, particularly when steroids are involved. Steroids can cause inflammation of hair follicles, disrupting the normal hair growth cycle and leading to hair shedding.
Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the inflammation can help mitigate the effects of steroids on hair health.
As mentioned earlier, hormone imbalances play a significant role in hair loss. Steroids can disrupt the body’s natural hormones, leading to hair loss and other side effects. It is crucial to maintain a healthy hormonal balance to minimize the risk of steroid-related hair loss and other complications.
Duration of Steroid Use
The duration of steroid use can also contribute to hair loss. Long-term use of steroids can lead to more severe side effects, including hair loss.
It is essential to use steroids responsibly and only for the duration prescribed by a healthcare professional to minimize the risk of hair loss and other side effects.
Treatment Options for Steroid-Related Hair Loss
One of the most effective ways to address steroid-related hair loss is by discontinuing steroid use. Stopping the use of steroids can help restore the body’s natural hormonal balance and alleviate hair loss symptoms.
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before stopping any medication, including steroids, to ensure a safe and effective transition.
Several medicines for hair loss can help treat steroid-induced hair loss. Some popular options include:
- Minoxidil: This topical treatment is applied directly to the scalp and can help stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles.
- Finasteride: A prescription medication taken orally, finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone known to cause hair loss.
- Corticosteroids: In some cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation in the hair follicles and promote hair regrowth.
Hair Transplant Surgery
For those who have experienced significant hair loss, hair transplant surgery may be an option. This procedure involves transplanting healthy hair follicles from one part of the body to the affected area. Hair transplant surgery is often used as a last resort when other treatments have proven ineffective.
Topical Treatments and Shampoos
There are various topical treatments and shampoos available to help manage hair loss related to steroid use. Some popular options include:
- Caffeine Hair Growth Shampoos: These shampoos contain caffeine, which has been shown to stimulate hair growth by extending the hair follicle’s growth phase.
- Steroid Creams: Topical steroid creams can help reduce inflammation in the hair follicles and promote hair regrowth. It is essential to use these creams under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Preventing Steroid-Related Hair Loss
One of the keys to preventing steroid-related hair loss is reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation can harm hair follicles and contribute to hair loss.
Implementing lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, stress management, and an anti-inflammatory diet can help minimize inflammation and protect hair health.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
A healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is crucial for maintaining hair health. Consuming foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, biotin, and zinc can support hair growth and help prevent hair loss.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting enough sleep can also contribute to healthier hair.
Monitoring Steroid Use
Monitoring your steroid use is essential in preventing hair loss related to steroids. Only use steroids as prescribed by a healthcare professional, and avoid using illicit or performance-enhancing steroids.
Keeping track of your steroid use and its effects on your body can help you identify any potential issues early on and address them before they lead to severe hair loss.
Seeking Medical Advice
If you suspect that your hair loss is related to steroid use, it is essential to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional. They can help determine the cause of your hair loss and recommend appropriate treatment options. By addressing the issue early, you may be able to prevent further hair loss and promote hair regrowth.
Steroid use, particularly anabolic steroids, can contribute to hair loss in susceptible individuals. Understanding the various types of hair loss, the impact of steroids on hair health, and available treatment options can help individuals manage and potentially reverse steroid-related hair loss.
By taking steps to maintain overall hair health, monitoring steroid use, and exploring treatment options when needed, individuals can minimize the negative effects of steroids on their hair.
Which Steroids Cause It?
Unfortunately, almost every single anabolic steroid on the market converts to DHT at rates ranging from extremely slow to extremely fast. All of the variants of testosterone readily convert to DHT, and derivatives of testosterone (almost every anabolic steroid known to man) do, too.
In fact, Anadrol and Winstrol are very similar to DHT, and they do not need the 5AR enzyme to convert to DHT. They simply bind directly to the hair follicles.
Deca Durabolin is usually the safest option for men concerned about hair loss since this steroid converts to DHN (dihydro-nandrolone) instead of DHT.
Who Is at Risk?
Shockingly enough, the same studies that show the mechanisms by which usage can lead to hair loss also point out that only men who are predisposed to male pattern baldness should worry. This simply means that if men in your family are bald, there is a very good chance that using will cause your hairline to recede – and quickly, at that.
If your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, your uncles, and your brothers all have a full head of thick hair, then you probably have nothing at all to worry about in terms of hair loss, even with Winstrol or Anadrol.
Can Users Prevent Hair Loss?
Although the jury is still out on whether certain products can protect users from hair loss, there are two different products that athletes and bodybuilders recommend.
The first, finasteride, is a prescription medication given to men who experience male pattern baldness. It blocks the DHT and stops it from binding to receptors in the follicles. Another is Nizoral shampoo (for dandruff), which many believe helps to stop the process at the scalp rather than through the bloodstream.
Some men also use Rogaine twice per day throughout their cycles. No studies yet exist to determine whether these products actually work, but many people swear by them.
Hair Loss Due to Low Testosterone
Aside from the notion that they could make your hair fall out if you have a genetic predisposition, there is also evidence to suggest that you may lose your hair if you have low levels of testosterone.
Oddly, this does not just affect the hair on your head; over time, it can also affect the hair all over your body. Remember that men have more body hair than women due to higher levels of testosterone and that testosterone’s presence spurs the hair follicles to produce hair.
Back in ancient times, this hair was necessary for keeping warm during cold winters, allowing men, who were the primary hunters, to go out into the wild to find food. Though this is no longer the case, the male body is still designed to produce more hair, and this is all thanks to testosterone.
An article published in the Journal of Andrology has linked baldness in the front of the head to a lack of free testosterone, though the study on which the article was based was quite small and the only one of its kind.
Of course, there is also evidence to suggest that hair loss isn’t just linked to manmade steroids. Even high testosterone can cause baldness, and this means men who are sensitive to DHT must tread carefully if they are concerned about a receding hairline or a thin spot on the backs of their heads. In fact, it may be in these men’s best interests to avoid elevating their testosterone levels beyond the normal mark.
What about Rogaine, Hair Plugs, and Other Treatments?
Men who have already experienced hair loss are constantly on the hunt for a way to reverse the problem. Rogaine is an over-the-counter shampoo product that may help men regrow hair, but it only works for about half of all men, and of those, very few regrow a full head of hair.
Hair plug surgery is another option, and it simply involves transplanting follicles from one location to another to hide bald spots. This can work for a time, but if those follicles shut off in the future, hair loss will occur again.
Today, there is a laser treatment called iRestore that may help men regrow their hair naturally. The therapy is FDA-approved, and studies are quite positive, though the procedure is quite expensive and not covered under most insurance policies.
It’s a helmet that men wear at home for 25 minutes every other day, and on average, it takes 12 to 24 weeks to see noticeable, visible results.
The company offers a six-month money-back guarantee, so men are jumping on the bandwagon to give it a try. If you have a genetic predisposition for male pattern baldness, then you should carefully consider the risks involved with using.
Although there are some precautions you can take, there are no guarantees, and for most men, once the hair is gone, it is gone.