DHT Blocker Shampoo | Side Effects & Review

Using a DHT blocker shampoo has become increasingly popular amongst men in recent years. Those with a fear of going bald have decided to opt for using a DHT shampoo to try and help mitigate their hair loss, and perhaps even grow back some of their lost hair. But, the verdict is still out on whether a DHT blocker shampoo is actually an effective way to use a DHT blocker, or whether there are other ways that you can deal with the hair that you’re losing.

DHT Blocking Shampoos do have the potential for some subtle side effects that you need to be aware of. Though they aren’t particularly severe side effects, they can still effect people in different ways to it’s important to be aware of how they may affect you. 

The reality is that the research on DHT blocking shampoos is particularly thin, and it can be difficult to know whether they are actually effective. There are various different ingredients in a DHT blocking shampoo, but of course not all of them actually work to block DHT. You’ll also find

Main DHT Blocking Shampoo Ingredients


The most commonly used DHT blocking shampoo is undoubtedly Ketoconazole. You might also have heard of it being named as Nizoral, which is the most popular brands of DHT blocking shampoo around. Typically, Ketoconazole is prescribed for fungal infections – typically on your feet.

But, some clever soul decided to start using Ketoconazole to help clear any fungal infections on the scalp – another primary cause of hair loss. Because it’s used for the scalp, this makes ketoconazole an idea shampoo to use if you’re dealing with seborrheic dermatitis or even dandruff.

The side effects that you may experience from using ketoconazole as a shampoo are unlikely as severe as you would experience from taking it orally. It’s available in many different forms – orally, a shampoo or as a gel or cream – though for hair loss, you’re best off looking for a shampoo.

  • Scalp irritation – One of the most common side effects that people have when they use a ketoconazole shampoo is that it irritates the scalp. The irony is that this is exactly what a ketoconazole shampoo is trying to defend you against! Some people just don’t react well to using this type of shampoo, and if you experience these types of side effects then you should just stop using the shampoo.
  • Oily scalp – Not only can using this type of shampoo cause skin irritation, but it can actually contribute to an oily scalp. Sometimes, people use Nizoral to try and deal with acne – in turn, this can actually end up making the scalp oilier as your body naturally produces more oil to replace the oils you’ve taken out of it.
  • Headache – Some people that use Nizoral have actually reported that they have experienced headaches when using the product. Though this is a relatively uncommon side effect of Nizoral, it’s undoubtedly something to be aware of.

Overall, Nizoral is one of the better options to choose if you’re experiencing hair loss. It’s considered as one of ‘the big 3 hair loss products‘ that you should use in conjunction with each other, along with Finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine).


Although Finasteride isn’t generally found in shampoos (though I have seen some, for some weird reason), it’s undoubtedly the most popular DHT blocker around. It’s taken orally, but unfortunately you won’t be able to find it online easily as you need a prescription to get finasteride from your doctor. You might have heard finasteride under it’s more commonly used name, Propecia. This is just the most brand name for the tablets, though you can find generic versions of Finasteride too.

Although Finasteride is the most effective of the DHT Blockers, it does have some of the most severe side effects too.

  • Erectile Dysfunction – Probably the scariest side effect for any guy is to deal with erectile dysfunction. Although it seems to effect a lot guys at some point in their life, there’s a difference between not being able to get it up and real ED. It’s estimated that in a study undertaken, around 1 in 30 gentlemen may experience these side effects from taking Propecia. I don’t know about you, but that’s far too great of a risk for me to even consider taking Propecia – I’d rather be bald, thanks!
  • Dizziness and Lightheaded – Probably one of the most common side effects of taking any sort of medication, being lightheaded and dizzy can be part of taking Propecia. It’s not advise to continue taking Propecia if you start to experience dizziness as a side effect. It’s also important to note that this kind of side effect can develop at any time. This means that even if you’ve been taking Propecia for years, you can later develop dizziness out of the blue.
  • No libido – We’re unsure of how exactly DHT blockers can have such an effect on your libido and erection, but it’s likely due to the conversion of testosterone. It isn’t just an issue to stop getting erections – some guys report a decrease in interest from sex entirely. If you have low testosterone already, then this can be an issue – though there are a reported low amount of users that report experiencing a decreasing libido.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is another one of the main hair loss ingredients that you’ll see the majority of shampoos have decided to include. I like to think of saw palmetto as the little brother of Aloe Vera, only because it’s made found in a similar way (they’re both fruit extracts) and they look very similar.

But whilst aloe vera is great for the hair and skin, Saw Palmetto is a better choice if you’re looking to specifically target the scalp. Why? Well, saw palmetto is supposedly a way to increase the density of the hair in men experiencing male pattern baldness. The evidence and research is much more scarce than with other hair loss ingredients, however.

Originally, saw palmetto was mainly used to deal with an enlarged prostate. This is part of the reason that it works well for hair loss too – the conversion of testosterone to DHT can contribute to an enlarged prostate. But for our purpose, it’s also considered a good choice for your scalp, too.

There are some side effects that you may experience from using Saw Palmetto.

  • Migraines and headaches – Like most DHT blockers, one of their most common side effects can be headaches – it’s thought that the conversion to DHT can be a major contributor to migraines.
  • Confusion, Dizziness and Lightheaded – Although people experiencing these kind of side effects are likely to have experienced them from taking saw palmetto orally, they are still a side effect that you should be aware of.
  • Constipation – There is research that states that saw palmetto can contribute to constipation, but the majority of these studies was amongst people with enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can cause constipation anyway, so it is difficult to tell whether these studies can be considered valid.

Overall, Saw palmetto is unlikely something that you should seek out to use as a hair loss supplement. But, if you purchase a DHT blocking shampoo, it will likely contain saw palmetto as an ingredient.

Stinging Nettle Extract

Stinging Nettle is one of the unsung heroes if you’re looking for a super supplement that has an abundance of different benefits for your body. It’s a great choice for a variety of different things, from stress to pain relief. So, it’s no surprise that so many shampoos are including it as an ingredient.

It is definitely another DHT inhibitor, which is one of the reasons that nettle is used for hair loss so frequently. Again, you’re not likely to experience any side effects from using nettle as part of your shampoo, but there are a few side effects that you should be aware of.

  • Irritation – Is it any surprise that the stinging nettle may cause you some form of irritation on your scalp? It’s a pretty common side effect of stinging nettle, and you should be aware of this if you’re going to use it.
  • Kidney issues – Actually, stinging nettles are commonly used to help people clear their kidneys out. But, if you’re having issues with your kidneys already then there’s a chance that this may cause more complications for you. Consult your doctor if you have kidney issues and are thinking of using nettle extract.
  • Diabetics/Blood Sugars – Like any supplement that might have an effect on your blood sugars, you should speak to your doctor before taking this supplement if you’re a diabetic.

Other ingredients found in DHT Blocking Shampoos

As well as ingredients that actually work to help try and block DHT, there are usually other ingredients that you can find in there that contribute to helping your hair loss. Though they don’t block DHT, there are other ways that you can combat hair loss that doesn’t involve the testosterone to dihydrotestosterone conversion.

  • Biotin – Biotin is one of the most commonly found ingredients in well.. any hair loss shampoo, ever. In my opinion, this is a little bit sneaky because whilst it’s advertised as a miraculous hair loss ingredient, it’s really only effective if you’re already Biotin deficient. This means that for the vast majority of people, Biotin is going to be completely ineffective. You can get Biotin supplements to help with this, though there’s an abundance of foods that contain Biotin that can help you get enough of the B Vitamin in your diet.
  • Other B Vitamins – Biotin is undoubtedly the most common deficiency that can contribute to hair loss, but this doesn’t mean that other b vitamins won’t have an effect either. Other vitamins like Niacin (B3) are also extremely important to hair production – Niacin specifically because it helps to increase blood flow throughout the body and the scalp.
  • Keratin – It’s very likely that if you’re going to find a hair loss supplement or shampoo, there’s a good chance that it will contain keratin. Keratin is an extremely popular salon treatment, primarily because well.. your hair is made up of keratin protein. Whilst research on keratin treatments is thin, they’re a good choice.

These are the common alternative ingredients that you’ll find in many hair loss shampoos. Whilst they don’t help with DHT specifically, they’re often found as another ingredient in hair loss shampoos.

DHT Blockers to Add to your Diet

You don’t need to use a shampoo to try and minimize the conversion from testosterone to DHT. You can also try and do this orally, and there’s a variety of different foods that you can include in your diet that may have an effect on your levels of DHT. Here’s a brief looking at some of the best DHT blocking foods you can include in your diet.

Green Tea

Including Green Tea is one of the main things that you should look to include in your diet if you want to reduce DHT. This is because it inhibits the 5 alpha-reductase, which helps your body to slow down DHT production. Not only is green tea a great idea for hair loss, but it’s also a good choice if you want to improve your health.

Pumpkin Seeds

You’ll often find pumpkin seed oils in your hair loss shampoos, but they’re also a good idea to eat if you’re trying to inhibit DHT production. The main thing about pumpkin seeds though is that they’re full of other good stuff which can support healthy hair – they’re a rich source of zinc, magnesium and other antioxidants.


Why are spinach and pumpkin seeds such a good choice if you’re trying to inhibit DHT production? Well, they both include high amounts of zinc. If you’re deficient in zinc, then this can undoubtedly contribute to a higher level of DHT – zinc is an awesome regulator for testosterone levels.


Overall, there are cases for using a DHT blocking shampoo to help thicken your hair and to help slow down hair loss. The research on the effectiveness of DHT blocking shampoos is much less thorough than the research on taking DHT blockers orally, which is the main reason that Finasteride is such a popular choice – it works.

Whilst the jury is still out on whether a DHT blocking shampoo really works that well, there are people who attest that Nizoral really works for hair loss. There’s also a lot less chance of experiencing side effects if you use DHT as a shampoo s opposed to orally. We all know that Finasteride works, but the extreme side effects make some people dubious of using it.

Overall, it’s entirely down to you whether you decide to use a DHT blocking shampoo. The majority of research says they can have an effect, but likely not as much as other hair loss supplements.

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