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Steroids and Hair Loss

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Many hair loss physicians and experts believe that androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) is generally caused by DHT (dihydrotestosterone), as well as other hormonal factors.  Though, DHT is considered the primary cause.  This occurs when DHT attaches to the hair follicles that are not genetically programmed to withstand certain levels of the hormone.  This causes the inflammatory process to shed hair and eventually begin shedding as the process continues.  In short, DHT can cause hair loss.  This generally only occurs if a person is actually prone to hair loss, it's not something everyone should be worried about.

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As  many of you know, one of the possible side effects with many types of steroids is hair loss.  Not all steroids carry this as a possible side effect, but many do.  If hair loss is something that you are concerned about then it is a big decision that you are faced with.  Having a full and accurate understanding of possible side effects is important in anything that you do.  Understanding how hair loss occurs is extremely important and will be explained in detail below.

How do steroids cause hair loss?

When a person is genetically prone to male pattern baldness, steroid use will likely accelerate probable hair loss due to higher levels of DHT being present in the body.  There is a prevalent misconception that steroids actually cause hair loss themselves, this is completely false.  Steroids will only cause potential hair loss to follicles that are genetically prone to male pattern baldness.  Meaning, if you're not prone to hair loss, you have nothing to worry about when you cycle.

dihydrotestosterone dht chemical structure

Fig 1. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Chemical Structure

Which steroids cause hair loss?

There are certain steroids that are notorious for causing hair loss, while others do not carry these risks.  Mainly, androgenic compounds cause DHT side effects, such as accelerated genetic pattern hair loss.  They are the ones that would need to be avoided if you are concerned about your hair.  Unfortunately, many of the cutting steroids are DHT based; thus, one of the possible side effects associated with use is the possibility of hair loss.  The higher the androgenic rating, the more probable the possibility of genetic hair loss occurring.  The following is a list of the most commonly used steroids that have the highest probability of causing hair loss:

Less likely but still possible hair loss steroids:

  • Testosterone
  • Turinabol
  • Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate)
  • Nandrolone Phenylpropionate (NPP)
  • Boldenone (Equipoise)

As you can see from the list, the highest probability of hair loss occurs with DHT based steroids.  The only non DHT steroids on the higher probability list are trenbolone and dianabol.  Although they have a less probability than other steroids, they still belong on the higher probability list as they have shown to cause or induce hair loss among several users (small percent %).  There is no guarantee that hair loss will occur when you use these anabolic steroids.  However, these are the steroids that will possibly speed up or enhance the process, especially in individuals with pre-existing genetic conditions.

losing hair bodybuilder

Fig 2. Bodybuilder Losing Hair

How to prevent or control steroid related hair loss

To prevent or lower the probability of steroid related hair loss, you need to lower existing DHT levels that are circulating through the body.  It is important to block the DHT from attaching to hair follicles that are prone to male pattern baldness.  This can be a problem for steroid users because there can be excessive amounts of DHT moving throughout the body when cycling.  There are several options for treatment and control of possible hair loss.  I am simply going to provide a list of possible treatment methods:

  • Finasteride
  • Minoxidil
  • Dutasteride
  • Proscar
  • N2Shampoo
  • Azelex (Anti-DHT cream)

These are the most commonly used for treatment of hairloss.  Choose wisely and research thoroughly for side effects before use of any of these products.


Knowing possible and/or probable side effects with anything you are putting into your body is of the utmost importance.  It is vital to understand problems that could arise as well as possible treatment methods.  If you are prone to, or concerned about, hair loss, then extra care should be taken when opting to use any steroid, especially any that are contained in the above list.  Proceed with caution and always be prepared before making a decision.


Want to read about hair loss on our forums? check out these threads:

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Dylan Gemelli is a Certified personal trainer and Coach. He has over 15 years of experience in bodybuilding, fitness, training and coaching. He's worked with multiple movie stars, IFBB pros and fitness celebs on their training and diet. He's helped set up cycles for the greatest in our industry. He holds the following qualifications: NASM Personal Trainer NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist AFAA Group Fitness NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist NASM Weight Loss Specialist

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