Do you suffer from hair loss? Are there some thinning areas forming on your scalp? This problem is familiar not only to men – lots of women of all ages also struggle with hair loss.
Those affected try to avoid the situation by all means and often resort to over-the-counter shampoos. Sulfate-free, chelating, dry, 2-in-1, the options are numerous. Recently, shampoos containing caffeine have become a go-for product for those wishing to improve hair growth.
But does a caffeine shampoo actually aid hair growth? What is its mechanism of action and can it be a long-term solution for thinning hair?
What are the causes of hair loss?
Hair loss does not happen by itself. It is often caused by genetic predisposition or nutrient deficiencies. Sometimes, hair loss is a symptom of a more serious illness. It may take quite a while to get to the real root of the problem.
Unfortunately, many affected tend to avoid seeing a specialist and jump to quick solutions and buy mass-produce cosmetics that, in the end, just pile up on your shelves. In male individuals, pattern hair loss is the most common hair loss type.
Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone that triggers this condition. The hair follicles at the top of the head and the hairline are particularly sensitive to this hormone, that makes them ‘shut down’ and reverse the division of hair cells.
In women, testosterone levels are 20 times lower than in men, thus, female hair loss usually has other roots. For women, the effect of testosterone becomes more prominent with ageing that also results in the drop of oestrogen levels.
For this reason, many women experience more hair shedding after the age of 40. Some other triggers of hair fall include stress, malnutrition or treatment with certain medications.
Does caffeine stimulate hair growth ?
One study demonstrated that this chemical can act as a stimulator of hair growth in males with androgenetic alopecia by suppressing testosterone. It resulted in faster shaft elongation and wider hair roots.
Besides, it has been proven that caffeine treatment of the scalp prolongs the active hair growth phase (anagen) and facilitates cell proliferation both in males and females.
Additionally, the stimulant is widely used in the cosmetic industry due to its ability to promote the blood flow to the hair follicles and increase the rate at which your hair grows.
How effective are caffeine shampoos against hair loss ?
Caffeine shampoo, such as Alpecin, has become a popular remedy to facilitate hair growth using caffeine extract.
However, there is no clinical evidence as to whether it can be successful at treating hair fall by being used topically on a scalp. The efficacy of such shampoos is only based on anecdotal reports and online reviews.
That said, the effectiveness of these shampoos can be backed by the fact that the scalp can absorb caffeine directly when applied topically. One study has shown that it can penetrate the body faster through hair follicles and can be detected in the body already 5 minutes after its application.
That means that caffeine contained in shampoos will yield its effect if left on the scalp for a few minutes. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of a caffeine shampoo will vary from person to person.
If your hair loss is caused by a vitamin deficiency or hormonal changes, it will most likely not improve your condition.
Does caffeine shampoo have side effects ?
Shampoos containing caffeine are very safe to use. Some side effects occur rarely and include redness, a burning feeling or itchiness of the scalp. The symptoms may worsen if the shampoo also contains salicylic acid.
If you have a sensitive scalp run a test on a small patch of skin to see if any adverse reactions take place. If you have dry and brittle strands this product may not be the best choice for you, as the active ingredient can dry out the hair.
Some users may also notice hair browning 2-3 weeks after using a caffeine shampoo. That is why individuals with fair hair should be particularly careful before using it.
Does caffeine shampoo affect blood pressure ?
In theory, yes, the caffeine contained in cosmetic products can be absorbed through the skin and increase the blood pressure. However, the amount of caffeine entering the body when applied topically is very small.
Besides, you would have to leave the shampoo on your scalp for hours to receive as much stimulant as in a small cup of coffee. They are applied for 2-5 min only so they are safe to use for those with high blood pressure.
More and more often you can find shampoos containing caffeine on the shop shelves. And no wonder, since a few studies managed to prove the efficacy of caffeine for hair growth and its other benefits for the hair and scalp.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that you should buy one for yourself as soon as possible. Hair loss is caused by various factors, so the right treatment for you will depend on the underlying cause of your thinning hair.
You can add a caffeine shampoo to your hair routine to fortify the effects of other products or medications. But you cannot rely only on it in an attempt to grow healthy and thick hair.
Besides, cosmetic products cannot offer a long-term solution. Once you stop using them, you will notice that their benefits also cease to take place. If your case of hair loss is severe, you should consider more serious measures.
You might need to opt for a treatment with medications if your hair loss is temporary. Hair transplants have also proved to be an effective solution, especially for those suffering from DHT-induced hair loss.
It is a very individual problem where a doctor’s help is needed. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation on hair loss treatment methods and see if you are a good candidate for a hair transplant.