DHT vs. Testosterone

What's the Difference?

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) and testosterone are both hormones that play crucial roles in the human body, particularly in the development and maintenance of male characteristics. However, there are some key differences between the two. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics like muscle mass, facial hair, and deepening of the voice. On the other hand, DHT is a more potent form of testosterone that is derived from it through the action of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. DHT is primarily responsible for the development of male genitalia during fetal development and plays a role in hair growth, particularly in the beard and body hair. While both hormones are important for male physiology, DHT has a more localized effect and is associated with conditions like male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia.


Chemical StructureDihydrotestosteroneTestosterone
ConversionConverted from testosterone by 5α-reductase enzymeNaturally produced in the body
Androgenic ActivityMore potent androgen than testosteronePrimary male sex hormone
Effects on HairPromotes facial and body hair growthStimulates hair growth
Role in Muscle DevelopmentContributes to muscle growth and strengthImportant for muscle development
Role in LibidoPlays a role in sexual desireImportant for sexual function and desire
MetabolismMetabolized by the liverMetabolized by the liver and other tissues
Medical UsesUsed in the treatment of androgen-related conditionsUsed in hormone replacement therapy and for various medical conditions

Further Detail


Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone are two important hormones that play crucial roles in the human body. While they are both androgens, responsible for the development of male characteristics, they have distinct attributes and functions. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between DHT and testosterone, shedding light on their effects, production, and significance.

Production and Conversion

Testosterone is primarily produced in the testes in males and in smaller amounts in the ovaries and adrenal glands in females. On the other hand, DHT is derived from testosterone through the action of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This conversion occurs in various tissues, including the prostate, skin, and hair follicles. While testosterone is the main precursor for DHT, it is important to note that DHT can also be synthesized independently in certain tissues.

Androgenic Effects

Both DHT and testosterone are potent androgens, meaning they have masculinizing effects on the body. They are responsible for the development of male secondary sexual characteristics, such as facial and body hair growth, deepening of the voice, and increased muscle mass. However, DHT is considered to be more potent than testosterone in terms of its androgenic effects. This is due to its higher affinity for androgen receptors, allowing it to bind more strongly and exert a stronger influence on target tissues.

Role in Hair Loss

One of the key differences between DHT and testosterone lies in their role in hair loss. DHT has been implicated as a major contributor to male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. It binds to androgen receptors in hair follicles, leading to miniaturization and eventual hair loss. On the other hand, testosterone alone does not have a significant impact on hair loss. However, it can be converted to DHT in the scalp, contributing to the progression of male pattern baldness.

Impact on Prostate Health

Both DHT and testosterone play important roles in prostate health. Testosterone is essential for the normal growth and function of the prostate gland. However, excessive levels of DHT have been associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition characterized by an enlarged prostate. DHT stimulates the growth of prostate cells, leading to the enlargement of the gland and potential urinary symptoms. Testosterone, on the other hand, does not directly contribute to prostate enlargement.

Effects on Libido and Sexual Function

Testosterone is well-known for its role in libido and sexual function. It is responsible for the development of sexual desire and the maintenance of erectile function. DHT, being a more potent androgen, also contributes to sexual function. However, its role in libido is not as well understood as that of testosterone. Some studies suggest that DHT may play a role in enhancing sexual desire, while others indicate that it may have a suppressive effect. Further research is needed to fully elucidate the impact of DHT on sexual function.

Medical Applications

Both DHT and testosterone have important medical applications. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is commonly used to treat hypogonadism, a condition characterized by low testosterone levels. TRT can help improve symptoms such as fatigue, decreased libido, and mood disturbances. On the other hand, DHT is used in the treatment of certain conditions, such as micropenis androgen insensitivity syndrome. It can promote the development of male genitalia in individuals with these conditions.


In conclusion, DHT and testosterone are two distinct hormones with overlapping but different attributes. While they both contribute to the development of male characteristics, DHT is more potent in terms of its androgenic effects. DHT plays a significant role in hair loss and prostate health, while testosterone is crucial for libido and sexual function. Understanding the similarities and differences between these hormones is essential for comprehending their impact on various aspects of human physiology and their medical applications.

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