Caffeine and Hair Growth Stimulation

In 2017, I briefly mentioned an interesting new study by Dr. Rachita Dhurat in regards to caffeine as a potential treatment for hair loss in men. The conclusion of that study was pretty unbelievable:

“A caffeine-based topical liquid should be considered as not inferior to minoxidil 5% solution in men with androgenetic alopecia.”

There have only ever been two hair loss treatments approved by the US FDA (Finasteride and Minoxidil). So how could an everyday product such as caffeine ever be as good as those two renowned hair loss treatments?

Surely there must be something wrong with Dr. Dhurat’s study methodology? Or perhaps the hairs that were being stimulated by caffeine were just existing weak hairs getting stronger? Minoxidil actually causes brand new hair growth (or regenerates miniaturized vellus hair) in many responders.

Update: June 16, 2023 — Per a number of dermatologists, caffeine could help with hair loss and receding hairlines.

Update: January 30, 2023 — A new study examines the role and mechanisms of phytochemicals in hair growth. Caffeine and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) are both covered in detail. EGCG is the most abundant catechin in tea.

Caffeine Shampoos for Hair Loss

Caffeine Shampoo Alpecin
Caffeine Shampoo (Alpecin).

Interestingly, 5 of the 10 shampoos that I recommended in my best hair loss shampoos list contain caffeine as an ingredient.

Dr. Dhurat’s study also mentions that caffeine has been shown to penetrate the hair follicle when applied via a shampoo formulation . It mentions the Alpecin brand, which currently has an average customer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars based on over 5,600 reviews.

Caffeine Follicle Energizer
Caffeine Follicle Energizer.

Also of note, BosleyMD sells a popular Follicle Energizer product that contains hair growth friendly natural ingredients caffeine and biotin. It currently has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 650 reviews.

In 2022, there was an interesting discussion on caffeine and hair growth with Dr. Kyle Gillett. He says that the stimulant probably has a weak but still clinically significant effect on hair growth stimulation.

Caffeine and Hair Growth Research

Some other studies conducted in recent years also concluded a favorable impact upon hair growth after the application of topical caffeine.

  • In 2007, German researchers found that caffeine by itself was effective at stimulating hair growth.
  • In 2011, Italian scientists found a caffeine based lotion to be beneficial in treating androgenetic alopecia.
  • A 2013 report from Poland suggested that caffeine reduced 5-α-reductase activity, the main culprit (along with dihydrotestosterone — DHT) when it comes to male pattern hair loss.
  • In 2014, scientists from Germany found growth-promoting effects of caffeine on human hair follicles in both men and women at molecular, cellular and organ levels.
  • At the recently ended 2018 International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) conference, there was a whole workshop (number 4) devoted to caffeine and hair growth. Dr. Dhurat was one of 5 presenters during this workshop.

Stimulation Effect

I doubt that caffeine can really be as effective as Minoxidil when it comes to hair growth. However, there does seem to be a decent chance that it at the very least stimulates faster hair growth. And perhaps a slight thickening of thinning hair.

We do know that the caffeine in coffee raises cortisol levels and acts as a central nervous system stimulus. It might also prolong the anagen growth phase of the hair cycle.

In a best case scenario, it could also counter the harmful effects of DHT by extending the anagen growth phase of the hair cycle. However, it is unlikely to regrow hair in totally bald areas of the scalp in those with male pattern baldness.

48 thoughts on “Caffeine and Hair Growth Stimulation”

      1. I use alcepin liquid every other day, just squirt it on, massage in and comb, first time you use it you’ll feel it but it will fade after a while, don’t get it in your eyes, sucks big time

  1. I used alpecin shampoo and alpecin caffeine liquid for short period of time. I had a lot of headaches and random spikes of increased energy but the scalp itching disappeared. I stopped using it after a couple of months because of headaches.

  2. Hi
    Wanted to throw a quick product recommendation in. The company “The Ordinary” has a very reasonable priced hair serum called “Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density” which contains caffeine (amount is a bit on the low side) but they pair it with a load of experimental peptides supposed to help with hair growth. The peptides are from other companies e.g. Lucas Meyer Cosmetics. Some of them are used by way more expensive hair serums currently on the market.

    I am trying it since two months and it removed all my dandruff as well as all the itching, slowed down hair loss (I do take topical Finasterid but since two years already, so it cant be from that) and the hair growths very fast and much thicker. Worth checking out in my opinion.

  3. I sufer from hypertension, controlled by meds to a somewhat satysfying, but not fully satysfying degree.
    I therefore avoid minoxidil AND caffeine treatments, since both might alter blood pressure.

  4. There is a lot of people drinking a lot of coffee out there. If there was anything credible in it, we would know by now.

    Academic studies don’t happen unless they are funded, which is when things get “interesting”. I suspect the researchers you cited had their grants signed by Kenco :-)

      1. Yes, that’s what I am saying. Both would end with the same result; nothing.
        The first source you cited stated “significant stimulation of hair follicle growth”. Compare this unquantifiable statement with Shiseido’s phase 1 results whereby they gave actual percentage values.
        Perhaps this shows how far we have come in the last 11 years; from exciting-but-meaningless language tricks to actual data numbers worthy of note.
        I look forward to Shiseido’s presentation of phase 2 results.

        1. There are many instances where a transdermal has different effects based on enzymes specifically located in the skin. Even different body parts have different concentrations of enzymes that can convert hormones into different metabolites.

          So while caffeine is not a hormone, there is the possibility that caffeine may interact differently with enzymes and receptors when applied locally as a transdermal instead of systematically. Other ideas may include reaching threshold in sufficient concentrations from transdermal application whereas systemic is too dilute to reach threshold and cause certain transcription factor activations.

          There are many cases of gene transcriptions only occurring when the signal is repetitive or “loud”.

          My point is that there is a lot of scientific evidence regarding unrelated topics with skin dynamics that make your posts seem too certain and uninformed.

            1. @SciGuy in the interests of science, please try it and do a before and after video. If it works let everyone know and I will raid Kenco.

        2. You are wrong.For exemple,oral zinc increase testosterone wich converts în dht so its bad for your hair.But topical zinc is Good

  5. Topical high dose caffeine versus drinking coffee with little unconcentrated caffeine in it is not comparable. Are you a troll? Drunk coffee’s caffeine part won’t ever reach your follickles.

    1. Prove me wrong then AJ. Post a video of what you look like now, put coffee on your head for a year, then show us all the results.

      1. Can you even read? He never said it works or it is the “cure”… he said that topical application is not the same as drinking coffee, dumbass

        1. Excuse the low IQ @AlexR, topical is not the same as drinking but if it does not work anyway then what is the point?

          You could sell dog food to bodybuilders if they printed Whey on the tin. For some of you, they just need to print the word “topical”.

          1. Shiseido has nothing. Don’t hold your breath man. I hate to sound like a negative nancy but they stated a 2018 release multiple times and finished their phase 2 trial almost 6 months ago. They are sitting on the data right now. If it was so magical they would have announced it Q4 right? Why not?

            I had high hopes for Shiseido but I’m convinced their dead and whatever derivative of replicel’s IP they hoped would work hasn’t worked well enough to inform investors during year end report. Unless they DO have something and just ironing out Phase3 TBA parallel market release stuff.

            Unfortuanatly I’m cynical my hope eggs are in Tsuji’s basket because follica, shiseido, and JAK are dragging their feet.

            1. I had high hopes for Shiseido. I hope you are wrong.
              The science seemed credible and the phase I results were encouraging. Guess I will be wearing the system for a bit longer, but let’s see what they present very soon.

    2. Most things you drink or eat spread through your body like nutrients through a tree. If they didnt diet would not matter at all. Drinking coffee is going to change your systemic blood amounts for a period of time. That would include hair follicles wouldnt it?

      1. Main issue is how much caffeine in a cup of coffee ends up in your hair follicles (I would guess much less than what you start with), versus how much caffeine you add via a lotion or shampoo directly to your scalp. Topical lotions and possibly shampoos too would contain much higher doses of caffeine than a cup of coffee I am guessing.

  6. Funny enough, I was just thinking about starting to dye my hair naturally with coffee and if growth is another benefit, bring it on! Though I worry if I sweat or it rains all the coffee “dye” will bleed out horrendously. Still kinda scared to try it lol.

  7. i will say I’ve dumped coffee on my head a few times lol
    i’ve done apple cider vinegar garlic before too.
    I did Tom hagerty thing for 6 months once.
    I did the full for 1.6 year (total fail) expensive lie.
    I have a twin brother to compare too also.

    It’s hard to do any of that stuff daily. topical antiandrogen extracts and topical fin is what I’m doing now, cruising diffuse n4/5 holding out for tsuji.

    Mjones if I was you I would drop the whole garlic thing and figure out if that greek forum natural regimin is legit real or not because that in all of all of all the things I have ever seen pre-Tsuji “pre-cure” – that is the only thing I’ve seen that appeared dramatic enough to do in a desperate situation.

      1. I had it bookmarked on my old computer its gone now. Mjones knows. And I dont know if its legit but a picture from a user is worth way more than none.

  8. Apologies for hammering the off-topic Tsuji train as well here Admin, but one, if not the, key question is – assuming modest commercialization of the Riken method sometime in 2020, will non Japanese visitors be eligible, or will it be restricted to Japanese citizens? It would be extremely interesting to know the answer to this one. Speculation on our part is nothing more than semi-educated guesswork really… I wonder how the question could be put forward to Riken?

    1. If it works, or any other thing works, it will be licensed worldwide for the maximum profit. Their financial backers will insist. I would not worry about it being restricted in any way. Cash is king, no exception. And if some bureaucrat tries to stand in the way of making millions, well ……… the same as what happens to people who make an alternative fuel source to oil!

      1. @Scott I agree with you broadly in that consumer demand will expedite rollout, but I’m asking a specific question about 2020 in Japan, and we can only speculate until a definite answer is given to that question. (of course so many things have to not go wrong between now and then anyway). As far as global release goes, a five year setup timeframe is pretty much the blink of en eye in a corporate sense when billions are to be made, but an eternity for those waiting for the service.

  9. admin
    We want updates on the treatments for baldness that have been completed in the second clinical trials; and the beginning of the third clinical trials, because it is considered an achievement in this treatment of baldness.

  10. A little off topic but does anyone know what carrier the brozto lotion / trinov is using?? We know the 3 main compounds in it but what else is in it?

  11. Since this thread is almost over I just wanted to state my hope for Aclaris. They are not dead yet in fact since they started trials recently long over due but they would not have started them unless they still had big hopes. Well I am still hoping Aclaris solves it with an announcement BEFORE Summer of 2019 as they stated they would give an update by that time. Not too much longer time for a new Hair Life.


  12. Adding, bye Burt Reynolds. He stated if he had to do it all over again he would have just gone natural. I have big hopes for a 100% hair regrowth announcement by a research company in 2019 by Anyone.

      1. Hey Tom Jones, open it in Chrome and it should let you click English Translate. It’s way too much stuff for me to translate. In general, he is using dermapen 2mm, once a week. He wounds and the pinkness shows for a few days. He applies all those topicals and oils to lower pgd2, counteract inflammation, stemoxodyne for regrowth and bunch of other stuff.

  13. Yeah about Greek forum only thing that concerns me is the flash before flash off after. But otherwise it would be a golden pretsuji regime.

    1. Yeah that new company looks good but they haven’t started phase 1. That’s 10 years out minimum. We’ll be too old to care at that point. We had cell based trials 10 years ago Aderans, intercytex, look at them now lol. I’m just hoping for follica or some crazy good advanced prp that can grow tons of hair. Hopefully in 2020. I’m not getting my hopes up for tsuji, replicel etc. They may very well work but I am not getting a good gut feeling plus the media is super quiet about them. Follica may be delayed again bit we know it works. Look at the reddit guy who derma wounded, greek guy, Indian study and tons of others who tried and got regrowth. Sorry but I’m just tired of waiting 16 years and seeing nothing from these cell based treatments, not one picture of growth.

  14. Also invitro doesn’t even have a website.
    They are ipsc though like terskikh the only other contender and there is unbeatable proof of that work in a Petri dish.

    Also there is proof of tsuji that it works. The only hold up is to see if it is safe.

    Shiseido replicel have no proof only “stastical significance”.

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