This year we’re teaming up with a number of trans-owned companies to highlight the important work they’re doing and commitment to supporting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. First up is our collaboration with DR DHT! We’re running a giveaway where the winner will get $50 gift certificates from both brands.
Check out our exclusive interview with DR DHT Owner, Zyon (he/they) to learn more about DR DHT and the role of beard care in self-expression and body affirmation.
Tell us about the person behind the brand DR DHT.
I'm Zy [he or they,] the brain behind DR DHT. I have a passion for learning, and have hyper focused on learning how and why hormones [and more] impact hair development, particularly facial, body and head hair. I'm driven by finding my own solutions when nothing quite meets my standard, or doesn't make sense from a scientific standpoint.. and I have you, DR DHT, my brain child.
So now that we know a bit more about you, can you tell us about your business?
My small business, DR DHT, focuses on creating premium facial hair, body, and hair products that consider the trans community. My science-based beard products are hormone-safe, and aid with growth without harming your DHT, so the hormone can do its job and help you establish that scruff. This is my #1 principle with my beard products. As cis-oriented products don't often consider those who are still changing on T, i.e. use notable amounts of DHT blockers in their products, which can be counterproductive in the years a person is trying to develop facial hair. I also prioritize natural, organic and vegan ingredients wherever possible, to give users the best quality and safest products I can.
Can you share a bit about your journey of figuring out how to use beard products as a tool for affirmation, self-love, self-care, and expressing yourself?
Finding the right beard product was hard for me. I could never find any out there that were DHT safe as well as 100% natural, aids with growth.. and that, well, I simply like. I got tired of reading ingredient lists and having to walk away from every product I found.
I wanted beard products to give me euphoria, so much. Yet, none were fitting the bill. I felt like I was missing out on the joy of this type of self care. That all changed when I started making my own. The joy of caring for myself and something I've always wanted, my beard, has been amazing! And it surely feels good knowing my products are helping my facial hair grow in stronger with safe, natural ingredients that are not negatively impacting the hormones I so need in order to keep developing my beard.
Can you educate our audience on what DHT is/stands for, and why it's an important part of facial hair growth/maintenance for trans folks?
DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone. DHT is a hormone responsible for facial hair and body hair growth, among other changes. It's essentially the big brother to testosterone, and does the heavy lifting that, for some reason, testosterone seems to always get the credit for!
You may be wondering, where you get DHT from. It's derived from your T, a portion of testosterone converts to DHT. DHT is much more powerful than T and has a much stronger androgenic effect to whatever it binds to, immature facial hair follicles for example. DHT is necessary for advanced facial hair development, so you can see why it's important not to block it in the facial hair follicles you're hoping to turn into full-on beard hairs.
What tips might you give someone newly on gender-affirming hormones and trying to grow facial hair/a beard?
My top tips for anyone trying to grow facial hair include using DHT safe beard products that actually help stimulate growth. Not many out there exist, let alone any that consider the trans community, that's why I started DR DHT. My products help stimulate blood flow, similar to the mechanism minoxidil uses to aid in hair growth, except mine is fully natural, DHT safe, and not a medication with potential dangers like minox. All while helping circulate more of your hormones through your face for more chance of them binding to those "baby hair's" androgen receptors and creating a thickened hair.
Another very useful tip is to use a derma roller 2 to 3 times a week on facial areas you're wanting to grow more. This also works by stimulating blood flow, bringing nutrients as well as hormones to the area. This is great to use alongside my oil to really double down on the stimulation.
Remember that these things take consistency and patience. Growing facial hair is never overnight, but the way I put it is, would you rather be going 0 miles per hour or 15 mph? For some people, depending on habitual, genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, they may be growing at 50 mph [metaphorically] when adding these things to their routine. It's not uncommon. But just keep in mind consistency is everything, and genetics DO play a role but they're not the only factor affecting facial hair.
My third tip is to TRY, if you can, to use less DHT blockers on your face. Especially ones you use daily. Unless necessary. They're very common in face washes, other brand's beard products etcetera. I have a list of common blockers on my website. A few common ones to look out for are lauric acid, coconut oil, and benzoyl peroxide, but the list goes on.
Especially try avoiding blockers in leave-in products like beard oils, balm, leave-in beard conditioners, and moisturizers, or anything you put on the skin of the theoretical "beard zone." If you already have a full beard, or a beard you're happy with then don't worry about blockers, since DHT blockers won't make your facial hair fall out. Once it's terminal, it's there. What they CAN do is slow down your facial hair progress as it develops from nothing.
As a small business owner, how do you find time to prioritize your mental, physical, and spiritual health? What are you doing for self-care and in your free/leisure time?
Being a small business owner, manager, compounder, producer, shipper and social media manager while managing my personal life is a lot! To say the least. But, I do genuinely enjoy this more than anything I ever have done. The joy of not only me being able to use my products and see progress, but others in the community feeling joy and euphoria is absolutely priceless, and I would not trade that for anything. I'm finally doing what I love.
With that being said, managing mental and physical health definitely takes a bit more out of me. For self care, I'm teaching myself discipline, something my family didn't when I was a child, and I wish did!
I allow myself the time to workout; lifting weights, and boxing for fitness to help equalize myself and prioritize my well being. Setting boundaries and a schedule is super important when your work can be 24/7.
Mental health wise, I always find time to be with my partner everyday, we cook, watch silly shows, and get out and do something fun every so often, like dancing. It's important to take time for yourself, and let go of stress and worries, so you can keep doing great things!
Any advice for someone wanting to start their own business?
My best advice for anyone trying to start their own business is do your research! Not just the business-y aspects, that'll come with time, but the unique aspects of your business. Know what you're doing, be confident in it before offering it to others. Do it when you're ready. I took a few years of studying before I even started testing my products on people, I wanted it to be right. Sure, it may not be perfect off the bat, but have your baseline down and work off of that.