Does Caffeine Stop Hair Loss?

Caffeine and Hair Loss

Coffee is probably the most widely consumed beverage worldwide.  It has been shown to improve attentiveness, concentration, and athletic performance. Now, the cosmetic and beauty industries are going wild over a new way to use caffeine – for hair growth.

5 Claimed benefits of caffeine products for hair:

  1. Stimulates hair growth –Through a mechanism that involves molecular, cellular, and organ level effects, caffeine can stimulate and energise hair.
  2. Enhances hair shaft elongation –Caffeine shampoo lengthens individual hair follicles, essentially stimulating hair growth from within.
  3. Extends the growth phase of the hair cycle –Caffeine shampoo can prolong the anagen (growth phase) of the hair cycle. In hair loss, a disproportionate amount of hair follicles in the resting (telogen) phase leads to hair fall.
  4. Stimulates protein production –Caffeine regulates protein expression, gene expression, and protein secretion. This allows keratin and other proteins to be produced in sufficient quantities.
  5. Increases number of keratin-producing cells– inhibits the death of keratinocytes (cells that produce keratin). Keratin is a vital protein found in hair that gives it strength and structure.

More about Caffeine…

Caffeine is considered a stimulant for hair follicles. The length and quality of your hair depends on the health of your hair follicles and hair growth cycle. Caffeine stimulates not only your body and mind, but also your hair roots.  It is often used as an ingredient in shampoos and other hair care products to improve hair growth and structure.

Men often experience hair loss due to the effects of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which affects susceptible hair follicles.  Consequently, these follicles become smaller and finally disappear, causing baldness.  This process is known as miniaturization of the hair follicles.

Caffeine, when applied topically, penetrates into the hair roots and stimulates them. However, for caffeine to be effective, studies have suggested that you should allow the caffeine-containing shampoo to stay on your scalp for two minutes so that it can penetrate the hair roots. Research by the International Journal of Dermatology indicated that topical treatment with caffeine resulted in the increase in average growth of hair follicles by around 46%.  It also extended its life cycle by 33%.  This is because caffeine can block the effect of DHT, which damages the hair follicles and is responsible for causing male pattern baldness


Unfortunately, caffeine will not stop or prevent the further progression of any genetic hair loss.  However, there have been studies to suggest that caffeine could stimulate hair growth.  Additionally, according to researchers drinking a few more cups of coffee a day will have little or no impact on continued hair fall as scientists estimate 60 cups a daywould be needed to potentially promote hair growth.

There may be some beneficial effects to applying caffeine topically according to researchers.

Additionally, researchers have noted that very little clinical data exists and further studies are needed to confirm and establish the role of caffeine in managing genetic hair loss.

Currently, there are two medications approved by the FDA to treat hair loss. Minoxidil liquid solution (5% for men, 3% for women) and Finasteride 1mg tablets (for men only). Both these medications have proven results and extensive clinical data. While the studies sound promising for topical caffeine, there isn’t enough data to prove its effectiveness.  But hair loss sufferers may add caffeine shampoos to their hair loss prevention plan as it can in some cases lead to hair growth while used with other treatments nor does it give any negative side effects.

Written by Khuram Abbas Raja for The Regrow Hair Centre.
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