Caffein is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world. A very common question that hair loss experts are asked is whether there is a link between caffein and hair loss. In this article, I will discuss both the positive and negative effects of caffein on your hair and body. I will briefly touch on the topical use of caffein, dehydration and the effects of caffein on dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
What is Caffein?
Caffeine is a bitter substance that is found naturally in more than 60 plants, including coffee beans and tea leaves. It is a powerful stimulant that has a positive effect on hair loss. But does caffein cause hair loss?
The properties of coffee were discovered long ago by an Ethiopian farmer who tried using it after seeing its beneficial effects on his sheep. Caffeinated beverages are the perfect pick-me-up after an exhausting day.
Coffee has spread like fire as people need their daily caffein fix and coffee shops have sprung up everywhere. It is consumed by people from all walks of life and in various forms and preparations. Star Bucks and Coffee Beans are internationally-known as the go-to place for coffee drinkers who want to have their caffein fix in style. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Starbucks have been competing to win over people from all over the world.
As about 85% of adults drink coffee, you need to be aware of what effects it has on your body. Though there may be some issues with drinking coffee, the good news is that hair loss is not one of them.
Drinking coffee won’t have much impact on your hair. To be effective, a person would have to drink a huge amount of coffee or tea. Scientists estimate that up to 60 cups a day would be needed for significant amounts to reach your hair follicles in the scalp. So that’s about 6000 mg of caffeine, which certainly will have a negative effect on your health !
The Mayo Clinic has stated that up to 400 mg of caffeine a day or 4 cups of brewed coffee is safe for most healthy adults. To get the best results, a topical application of hair products containing caffeine is the best option.
So instead of drinking it, there is a topical solution to consuming caffein. You need to rub a caffeine-rich solution into the scalp as caffeine contains nutrients that deeply penetrates the scalp to stimulate the reproduction of hair follicles. Caffeine is now commonly used in several hair growth treatments, including those used to stop male pattern baldness. Talk to a physician first before using them as you may be allergic to caffein.
Caffein is rich in micronutrients such as antioxidants that are known to help stimulate healthy cell production and protect cells from free radical damage that could prevent hair growth. Most of the nutrients from your coffee, comes from darker beans such as French roast or espresso, as it contains a greater amount of antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids and antioxidants which may provide protection for hair follicles and promote hair growth. So does coconut oil .
In a paper published in the British Journal of Dermatology, researchers concluded that caffeine had surprising benefits for hair follicles. Both men and women showed positive results when caffeine was used topically, but women showed more pronounced effects than men.
So caffein halts hair loss. According to the research from the international journal of dermatology, caffeine is known to be ‘a stimulator of human hair growth’.
Caffeine and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is what causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop functioning.
In one breakthrough study, scientists demonstrated that very small concentrations of caffeine are able to suppress testosterone. These results provide a possible scientific basis for the use of topically applied caffeine in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Caffeine is easily absorbed by your skin. This means that everyday hair care products like shampoos and conditioners that contain caffeine may have a positive effect on hair growth. Unlike a shampoo, a naturally-based conditioner can make hair grow faster because of the fact that it’s not washed away so easily.
Generally speaking, caffeine shampoos are not approved by the medical community to treat hair loss. Instead, most UK doctors recommend medical treatments such as finasteride or minoxidil, (included in Rogaine foam ) which have been proven in clinical trials.
In their research on baldness from participants that suffered from DHT, the areas where caffeine was applied directly, follicles showed significant growth as opposed to other areas of the scalp. Pura D’or shampoo contains herbal DHT blocking properties.
Apart from its addictive nature, caffeine has been shown to have positive effects by improving concentration, mental clarity, and athletic performance.
There are a lot of myths surrounding caffeine. These will have to be dispelled by further scientific studies.
Does Caffein Dehydrate the Body?
There is an ongoing debate as to whether caffeine dehydrates the body, including the scalp and hair. This is evidenced by the frequent visits to the toilet. But it is not as bad as people make it out to be.
A recent study found no evidence of dehydration if coffee is taken in moderate amounts. Be rest assured that moderate use is completely safe, and will not have a negative effect on your hair. Habitual, heavy coffee drinkers could be at risk for dehydration.
Still not convinced about the beneficial effects of caffein? It has been scientifically proven to stimulate the hair growth cycle. Just ask Dr. Tobias Fischer, a researcher from Germany’s university of Jena, which conducted a study to find the effects of caffeine and hair growth. He found that those who used caffeine saw the most rapid hair growth.
- Stimulates hair growth
- Makes hair manageable
- Enhances hair shaft elongation
- Extends the growth phase of the hair cycle
- Stimulates protein production
- Inhibits the death of keratinocytes (cells that produce keratin)
- Heart palpitations
- A spike in blood pressure (although this may be positive in some cases)
So coffee lovers need not worry that the caffeine in it is a contributing factor to hair loss. If you are concerned about your hair loss, it is best to talk to a qualified physician who can assess your condition and determine the underlying causes of your hair loss.
Hopefully, you will find my article on caffein helpful and interesting. If you have any comments or questions or any experience in using caffein topically, please leave your comments in the section below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.