Category Archives: Caffeine Hair Growth

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.

Genetically Modified Epidermis Skin Replacement

Last month, I decided to stop covering medical items of interest in my once a month “brief items of interest” posts. However, this week there are two new interesting developments in the medical field that also have implications for hair regrowth.

— The first man to have his genes edited inside his body (US); and  successful skin epidermis replacement via gene modification (Germany). Both developments are major groundbreaking medical breakthroughs. Any skin replacement or skin regeneration success in humans will likely come with intact working new hair follicles.

— The world’s first head transplant between two dead people (corpses) has just taken place in China. It happened under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoping Ren (with input from Dr. Sergio Canavero), both of whom I have covered on this blog in the past. Since the procedure was undertaken between two cadavers (i.e., dead people), it is still not considered a proper head transplant. Dr. Canavero claims that the transplantation of a live human’s head to a deceased human’s still working body (i.e., a true “full body” transplant) is now imminent. Lots of coverage about this in the media today and continued skepticism (but significantly less so than in the past). Is Dr. Canavero just in it for the fame or is he for real?

And in Hair Research Updates:

Excellent effort by “Hellouser” in his updates from the recent World Congress for Hair Research. An absolute must read.

Dr. Rachita Dhurat is at it again. This time, her team makes the surprising conclusion that “A caffeine-based topical liquid should be considered as not inferior to minoxidil 5% solution in men with androgenetic alopecia“. There have been a number of studies over the years that suggest caffeine to beneficial towards hair growth. The stimulating effects of caffeine can reduce hair loss in some cases.

— Latest Aclaris patent grants covering baricitinib, decernotinib, ruxolitinib, and tofacitinib. It seems like all four can end up being used for treating androgenetic alopecia, especially tofacitinib.

— Reader “omg” posted a very interesting link today to a paper co-authored by renowned hair loss researchers Dr. Neil Saddick and Dr. Valerie Callender and others titled “New Insight Into the Pathophysiology of Hair Loss Trigger a Paradigm Shift in the Treatment Approach“. Lots of discussion in there about the role of inflammation in hair loss. The whole paper can be downloaded from the above link.

— Histogen and Dr. Gail Naughton covered in Allure Magazine. Key quote:

“The U.S. trials are planned to commence in 2018; we expect it to gain approval in Mexico first, perhaps in 2020, and then in the U.S. sometime after that”.

— UK male model Jeremy McConnell gets a hair transplant and beard transplant in Turkey.