Does Caffeine Help in Hair Growth?

Does caffeine stimulate hair growth? An in-vitro study suggests that washing hair with caffeine-rich shampoos may help in stimulating hair growth in people suffering from male or female bald patterns. Let's check out more details.
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Use of caffeine in hair growth
Did You Know?
A 2002 study reported in the 'Journal of Radiological Protection', found that cancer-stricken mice showed a decrease in hair loss after radiation therapy when they were exposed to caffeine before the treatment.
Coffee has long been known for its stimulating effects which increase alertness and help stay wide awake. The high amount of caffeine present in a cup of coffee is actually responsible for imparting that feeling of increased vigilance. However, the potential use of caffeine may also be extended to stimulating hair growth, as found out through one study. Hair follicles (sacs that contain the roots of hair) appear to show a period of growth when put in caffeine-containing solutions.

The following sections elaborate more on the in-vitro study that suggests caffeine to be effective in fighting hair loss.

Caffeine and Hair Growth

A recent study reported in the January 2007 edition of the International Journal of Dermatology observed that caffeine is beneficial in improving hair growth. The in-vitro study carried out by German researchers found out that caffeine exhibits a stimulating effect on hair growth. As a result, external application of caffeine in the form of a shampoo may work to treat hair loss problems, in both men and women.

In the study, subjects under consideration were middle-aged men diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia (AGA), a common form of hair loss. The researchers extracted scalp biopsies containing hair follicles of 14 men who were in their early stages of androgenetic alopecia. The hair follicles were grown in culture in test tubes containing different amounts of caffeine. Some of these hair follicles were cultivated in test tubes containing both caffeine and 5 ug/ml of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that is known to impair hair growth. After a period of 8 days, the amount of hair growth in the hair follicles was examined.

Study Results

The results were encouraging and revealed a positive impact of caffeine on the growth of hair follicles. Growth was highest (around 46%) in test tubes that contained caffeine only. Also, despite being kept in a DHT environment (test tube containing concentration of caffeine and DHT), hair follicles showed noticeable growth. This means that caffeine was able to suppress the negative effect of DHT on hair follicle growth. Also, there was a 37% increase in the life cycle of hair that were placed in caffeine alone. Moreover, the length of hair also increased by 33 to 40%. Researchers concluded that caffeine is strongly correlated with hair growth, and may help in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.

Coffee Intake and Hair Growth

Considering the positive impact of caffeine on the growth of hair follicles, as observed in the study, you may think that increasing the intake of coffee during the day will help in boosting hair growth. Sadly, that will not assist in any way to correct hair loss problems. One may have to drink as many as 50 to 60 cups of coffee (approximately 6,000 mg of caffeine) to get the desired result. However, after drinking so much coffee, an individual is likely to die from a heart attack. So, oral intake of caffeine cannot be used to experience the purported benefits.

Caffeine-containing Shampoos

A safe option would be to apply caffeine externally so that it penetrates the hair follicles and serves the intended purpose. Topical application provides faster absorption of caffeine through the hair follicles, which may work to boost hair growth.

Using caffeine-based shampoos is a good option. However, whether the amount of caffeine present in these shampoos work to effectively treat male or female pattern baldness has not been yet studied. However, in view of the promising results noted in the study, caffeine is likely to be helpful in managing androgenetic alopecia.

You can also make caffeinated shampoo at home. Simply mix some amount of liquid caffeine into your regular shampoo. In order to facilitate caffeine absorption, make sure to gently massage the scalp during shampooing for at least 2 minutes. These shampoos are believed to keep the hair follicles safe from the ill-effect of DHT, which help prolong their growth phase. This may contribute to increase the rate of hair growth and allow recovery from premature hair loss.

Applying cold brewed coffee can also assist in improving the health of one's hair. For usage, brew a cup of organic coffee and allow it cool. Transfer it to a spray bottle. You need to apply this cold brewed coffee after you complete rinsing the shampoo out of your hair. With the hair still wet, spray the coffee on your scalp and gently massage it. After you finish massaging, wait for a couple of minutes and then finally rinse it off in the shower.

On a concluding note, there is some evidence that suggests caffeine is possibly effective to promote hair growth. However, a larger number of controlled clinical trials have not been conducted as yet to investigate caffeine's potential promise. Yet, one can consider using these caffeinated shampoos, which may work to get thicker, fuller-looking hair.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.
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Published: August 16, 2014
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