Does Caffeine Help Hair Loss
Does Caffeine Help Hair Loss?
Every so often an element of excitement is generated into the minds of hair loss sufferers when a new hair loss study is published in the news – for example you may ask “Does caffeine help hair loss or is that an urban myth??”
The story (or “study”) normally speaks about some herb or natural ingredient in food, such as caffeine, or a new pharmaceutical drug that is in the early stages of testing on animals that has shown positive effects on the treatment of hair loss. More often than not the excitement ends there because either the research methods used in the study are unreliable, or the sample test size was too small, or the results are unable to be emulated in humans.
In recent times people have begun enquiring about the benefits of caffeine in hair products such as shampoos and leave in conditioners and asking if is proven to help in hair loss. This all started because of some news coverage on a recent study on exactly that….
Does caffeine help hair loss sufferers – true or false?
Before discussing this study, let’s first explain what is the main cause of the hair loss experienced in men and women today. Androgentic alopecia (AGA) is the main reason most people in the world suffer from some degree of hair loss. AGA is caused by inheriting balding genes from either the Mother’s of Father’s side of the family and a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is made from testosterone. Every living person has this DHT hormone in their blood which causes hairs on the scalp to miniaturize. However, it only causes hairs to thin if the person is unluckily carrying the balding gene. If they do not carry the gene then DHT is harmless from a hair loss perspective.
Hair Loss – FDA Approved Medication Treatments
At present there are two FDA approved medications available that are used by hair loss sufferers to combat AGA which are oral finasteride and topical minoxidil. Whilst popular they can give some people side effects. This is mostly related dosage and increasing too quickly – so speak to an experienced Hair Loss Doctor others are not comfortable taking a drug and would prefer a more natural form of treatment.
So what about caffeine?
Caffeine is a well known ingested food substance to the world as it exists in energy drinks, soft drinks, tea and, of course, coffee. The coffee consumption in the world is so massive that is said to generate over $100 billion dollars per year worldwide.
Whilst caffeine is popular as an energy pick me up, little is known about its effects on the hair. Caffeine is said to promote proliferation (rapid increase in numbers) of hair by stimulating cell metabolism. This would counteract testosterone/DHT induced miniaturization of hair follicles.
Does Caffeine Help Hair Loss – The Scientific Investigation
A study in the International Journal of Dermatology tested whether caffeine helps hair loss, the health effects and growth rates of hair follicles. The study was titled, “Effect of Caffeine and Testosterone on the Proliferation of human hair follicles in Vitro.” Here is a summary of the study:
- Hair follicles were taken from the crown (vertex) area of 14 different male patients suffering from androgenetic alopecia.
- Groups of these hairs were cultivated for periods of 5 to 9 days in vitro (meaning in a test tube or dish) and separated into different groupings.
- There were control groups as well as mediums containing different concentrations of testosterone, caffeine and combinations of both within the same medium.
- The concentrations of testosterone used in this study comprised of 5ng/ml; 10ng/ml; 50ng/ml; 0.5μg/ml; 1.0μg/ml; 5.0μg/ml
- The concentrations of caffeine were 0.15%; 0.05%; 0.01%; 0.005%; 0.001%
- Amongst other things, hair shaft elongation (growth in length) was measured daily to compare the control group with the impact that varying levels of testosterone and caffeine would have on the growth lengths of these hairs.
- A minimum of 3 groups of follicles were assessed for each experimental setting to demonstrate a better level of accuracy and consistency.
The Main Results and Conclusions:
- A suppressive effect on growth of hair was noticed within the testosterone only group. The concentrations of 5, 10 and 50ng/ml were used with the 50ng/ml concentration being the most suppressive in growth. At 50ng/ml the average elongation compared to the control group was 94.3%
- Higher testosterone concentrations of 0.5μg/ml showed a suppressive level of 78.6% vs the control group. The testosterone concentration of 5μg/ml showed the most suppressive effect and therefore was the dosage used in further studies.
- Caffeine was tested in parallel with testosterone either in combination or alone. In the first 3 experiments a concentration of 0.15% was used in combination with testosterone and showed an increased level of suppression than with testosterone alone. From this it was understood that a high dosage of caffeine such as a 0.15% concentration did more harm than good for the growth of hair. Lower dosages such as 0.005% and 0.001% showed similar patterns as in higher dosages of caffeine in some experiments but stronger hair in some others.
- When growth was compared after 5 days (120 hours) between the control group and the caffeine only groups they showed accelerated elongation of hair. The hairs exposed to a caffeine concentration of 0.001% showed a 33% increase in comparable hair length vs the control group where the slightly higher concentration of 0.005% showed a 39.4% increase in growth.
- Some experiments where 5μg/ml of testosterone was used had the suppressive effect suppressed when in combination of with a caffeine concentration of 0.005%.
Caffeine and Hair Loss Study – Summary of Findings and Our Analysis
Whilst other things were tested during this study it was the above that created the most interest. Does this mean that if you a regular coffee drinker that you will suffer less hair loss?
Unfortunately the answer is no.
Scientists estimate that around 60 cups or more of coffee per day would be required in order for any significant enough amount of caffeine to reach the hair follicles. This means about 5000-6000mg of caffeine per day (each cup on average has about 70-80mg of caffeine).
So how can we benefit from this information about the effects of caffeine on hair loss?
There are shampoos out there that contain caffeine which have been used and reviewed by many clients who regularly claim that their shedding hair has slowed or stopped within 7-14 days once using such a shampoo.
Like all lotions, tablets or hair loss products they may work for the majority but not for everyone. The only way to know is to try them for yourself and to go from there. For more information simply google, “caffeine shampoos” which will list a number of popular and effective ones available on the market.
Contact us today for a genuine medical assessment of your hair loss and the treatments that are suited to your present condition. Call 1300 360 748 now.