One of the main reasons people use SARMs instead of AAS (steroids) is to avoid androgenic side effects like hair loss, which is an issue many men face.
While SARMs are widely considered to be very hair-safe, some are notorious for being harsh on the hair and causing excessive shedding. On the other hand, some SARMs can reduce hair loss. In any case, hair shedding from SARMs is common with some compounds, though rarely permanent and almost always 100% reversible.
This article is based on the latest scientific data on SARMs, as well as the analysis of hundreds of anecdotal reports and experiences from users online. The conclusions underlined are my own findings based on this data, and my personal experimentations in conditions deemed as controlled as possible. Enjoy.
Hair loss from SARMs is very rare, and almost always temporary. Unless you’re already experiencing hair loss, you shouldn’t worry about SARMs causing it. Though SARMs like RAD-140, S23, and YK11 are notorious for causing hair shedding, so avoid them if you are concerned. The rest of the SARMs are “hair-safe”.
Keep on reading for a more detailed answer.
Root Cause of Hair Loss
Male hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia, is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is one of the, if not the most androgenic hormone in your body. It is reduced (created) from testosterone through an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT can be found in your skin, hair follicles, and prostate, and is responsible for a variety of bodily functions, especially during puberty.
DHT causes hair loss by attaching to hair follicles and shortening their lifespan. AAS cause hair loss because they are all derived from testosterone or DHT. The more testosterone you have, the more it will be reduced into DHT by the 5-ar enzyme.
But SARMs are not hormone-based and are selective, so how can they possibly cause hair loss?
How Do SARMs Cause Hair Loss?
SARMs suppress Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), this has been proven in numerous clinical trials.
SHBG is a hormone that binds testosterone. But, it also binds DHT. Which is something most don’t know. In fact, it has a 1.2-.1.3 higher binding affinity for DHT than testosterone.
Thus by taking SARMs, you’re causing a decrease in SHBG that leads to an increase in free testosterone and DHT. This is why SARMs sometimes cause hair shedding. Fortunately, this effect is short-lived and will only last during the first few weeks of the cycle, until the suppression of total testosterone offsets it.
During this period you will also experience benefits like increased libido, motivation, and general well-being.
Is it Permanent?
Fortunately, hair loss doesn’t happen overnight and a slight spike in DHT won’t make you go bald. The timeframe isn’t large enough for it to cause substantial damage to your hair follicles and end their life cycle. But, if you are prone to it, you may experience hair shedding depending on which SARM you take.
Needless to say, if you’re already experiencing a degree of hair loss, taking the SARMs which are known risk factors, at high doses, is not a good idea.
To conclude, hair shedding and hair loss from SARMs is very rare and only a vast minority of users experience it.
Hair Safe SARMs: Ranked Worst to Best
All SARMs will lower your SHBG and cause a short-lived increase in free testosterone and DHT. So theoretically all have the potential to induce some level of hair shedding.
The stronger the SARM, the more this effect will be exacerbated. Here are the SARMs ranked worst to best when it comes to hair safety:
RAD 140 is notorious for causing hair shedding. Even though it’s only considered a moderately strong SARM, it’s known to cause more hair shedding than other SARMs of its class.
Part of it is attributed to the initial DHT spike that all SARMs cause by lowering SHBG. However, a lot of users theorize that RAD 140 is not selective enough and is capable of attaching itself to androgen receptors in the scalp and causing hair loss directly. This is yet to be proven.
Hair shedding from RAD 140 is typically not permanent and completely reversible. It always stops as soon as the cycle ends. But everyone has a different response, so if you’re already experiencing hair loss and scared that you might make it worse, avoid RAD 140 altogether and take S4 or Ostarine.
YK11 is a 19-Nor (Nandrolone) steroidal SARM and a theorized myostatin inhibitor.
Hair loss and hair shedding reports are not uncommon from YK11 (as well as other androgenic side effects). Considering its properties, this comes as no surprise.
On paper, S23 should not be androgenic, though there are numerous anecdotal reports of users who experienced hair loss and hair shedding (as well as other androgenic side effects like acne or aggression).
Hair loss or hair shedding from LGD 3303 is very rarely reported, even though it’s considered to be the strongest SARM in existence.
It should be safer than S23, YK11, and RAD 140.
LGD 4033 is often compared to RAD 140 in terms of potency, though it comes with its own set of side effects. Hair loss or shedding from it is very rare.
Ostarine & Andarine
Other Research Chemicals
Other research chemicals that are often referred to as SARMs include:
- MK 677
None of these can cause hair loss. MK 677 will even increase the quality and thickness of your hair.
Prevent & Reverse Hair Loss From SARMs
Ketoconazole shampoo during and after your cycle will greatly aid against hair shedding and hair loss.
If you are experiencing a high degree of hair loss naturally, 5-ar inhibitors will completely stop and reverse it. Namely, Finasteride or Dutasteride. Though they come with their own risks, and I wouldn’t take either one of them on a whim.
Additionally, minoxidil can help by activating dormant hair follicles, though will not address the root cause which is DHT.
Risk Factor: Fake SARMs
Rad 140, YK11 and S23 are the SARMs most likely to cause hair loss and hair shedding. Experiencing hair-related side effects from any other SARM is very rare and unlikely.
To prevent hair shedding supplement with ketoconazole shampoo during and after your cycle. If you’re already experiencing it, taking any of the above-mentioned SARMs can potentially exacerbate it.
- Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects of the selective androgen receptor modulator, GSK2881078, in healthy men and postmenopausal women
- The selective androgen receptor modulator GTx-024 (enobosarm) improves lean body mass and physical function in healthy elderly men and postmenopausal women: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II trial
- Effects of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) on androgen bioactivity in vitro