Caffeine is the world’s most popular stimulant. Famously found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks, most adults drink at least one of these beverages every day. In the UK alone, people drink around 95 million cups of coffee every day.
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and the brain, making you feel more awake and alert. So the effects of caffeine on the mind and body are well-documented — but what about the link between caffeine and hair?
Learn more about the real effects of caffeine on your hair, and whether it can cause or prevent hair loss.
Studies suggest there are health benefits to drinking 4-5 cups of coffee every day. And fortunately for coffee lovers, caffeine doesn’t cause hair loss or baldness, either.
Most hair loss is genetic. It’s linked with high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT is a derivative of testosterone, which is why pattern baldness is more common in men than in women. There’s no evidence to suggest that caffeine intake increases DHT levels, or causes the follicles to stop producing hair. So if you’re experiencing hair loss, there’s no need to cut back on the coffee.
Lab studies have shown that caffeine can actually neutralise the negative impact of testosterone on hair growth. Applying a topical caffeinated solution to a scalp biopsy sample caused the follicle to produce longer hairs, suggesting caffeine could actually stimulate hair growth.
However, it’s important to treat these conclusions with caution. Lab study outcomes don’t always translate to real-world results, due to the controlled environment and specific conditions. In short, you can’t replicate this success by drinking a few more cups of coffee each day.
This study shows that topical caffeine application can stimulate hair growth — not caffeine consumption.
Drinking coffee may have an effect on hair growth — but this hasn’t yet been proven. In any case, you would need to consume an unsafe amount of coffee before you drank enough to see visibly improved hair growth. So it’s not possible to reverse the effects of pattern balding by drinking coffee alone.
Coffee hair rinses have also been advertised as a natural way to stimulate hair growth. A coffee rinse involves brewing and cooling coffee, then applying it to your scalp and the lengths of your hair while it’s still wet after washing. However, there’s no firm evidence to confirm that coffee rinses genuinely stimulate hair growth. Coffee can also stain your hair, so you should avoid this method if you don’t want to alter your hair colour.
Coffee rinses aren’t the only topical solution you can try. There are also many caffeinated shampoos on the market, such as Alpecin, that won’t cause your hair to change colour.
Caffeine shampoo has been shown to be as effective as Minoxidil if used for at least 6 months . It elongates the hair shafts, and naturally counteracts the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — a hormone that binds to androgen receptors in your hair follicles to prevent hair growth. Learn more about the link between caffeine shampoos and hair loss.
DHT blocking shampoos and vitamins for hair growth are also touted as an alternative natural hair loss solution — but there’s little evidence vitamin supplements promote hair growth in people who don’t have a micronutrient deficiency. So if you’re looking for a natural remedy to your hair loss, caffeine shampoo is a superior treatment option.
There are promising links between caffeine and hair loss. While drinking coffee or taking oral caffeine supplements probably won’t reverse hair loss, caffeine shampoos are effective for promoting regrowth.
However, if you’re losing hair, there are many proven hair restoration methods that are widely available. This includes:
Before you can decide on the best cause of action, you need to establish the cause of your hair loss. Talking to an expert trichologist can help you find out why you’re experiencing hair loss. They can also help you create a personalised hair restoration programme based on your needs.
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