Can Caffeine Shampoo Help with Hair Loss?
If you suffer from hair loss or hair thinning, then you know the everyday struggle of trying to figure out exactly what you can do to help prevent things from getting worse. Whether that’s trying out the latest over-the-counter shampoo, serum, or pills to visiting a doctor to get prescription medication, you’re always on the lookout for something that can help you keep that full head of hair that you so passionately desire.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, genetics will overpower any outside influence that these products may have, but that doesn’t mean that these products can’t help slow down that process.
While there’s no definitive way to reverse the underlying cause of hair loss due to genetics, that hasn’t stopped people from doing whatever they can to slow their hair loss. One of the new products that people have been trying is known as caffeine shampoo.
Yes, the same caffeine you find in your morning cup of coffee or your bottle of soda. But does caffeine shampoo help with hair loss, or is this another snake oil treatment?
What is Caffeine Shampoo?
Caffeine shampoo is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a topical shampoo with caffeine or coffee extract added, aimed at helping to stimulate your hair follicles.
In 2007 there was a study conducted that showed some evidence that caffeine could help to stimulate hair follicles into growing, which caused these shampoo companies to derive a new formula that added caffeine, as well as other ingredients like zinc, biotin, and niacin, to their shampoos.
The idea behind caffeine shampoo is that caffeine helps speed up the human nervous system so it’s possible that caffeine added to a shampoo would help stimulate dormant hair follicles and cause them to being to regrow hair again.
While the idea sounds like it could work in theory, does caffeine shampoo actually help regrow hair, or help stimulate hair growth?
Does Caffeine Shampoo Really Stimulate Hair Growth?
The truth is, probably not, or at least not to the level that it would be noticeable.
The study that was performed in 2007, which lead to German shampoo company Alpecin developing their caffeine shampoo, determined that caffeine did stimulate hair growth, but only in a petri dish. Neither this study, nor any studies after it, have been able to show significant hair growth due to caffeine using a human scalp. But then again, it’s hard to do a study just showing effects of a shampoo since people put a lot of other products on their hair and scalp.
In fact, Alpecin was actually banned in the UK from using any wording or marketing claiming that their caffeine shampoo could actually slow down or prevent hair loss.
In addition to that, the studies that Alpecin provided as evidence of their claims came from privately funded research sources and used tests that most of the scientific community would not agree with. And again, the tests that were performed and the results only provided evidence that caffeine could stimulate hair growth in a controlled environment, using a petri dish, not human subjects.
If Caffeine Shampoos Don’t Reduce Hair Loss, Are There Any Benefits?
While you may not notice any benefits from caffeine in regards to hair loss, that doesn’t mean that caffeine may not be good for your hair.
Caffeine has been shown to help support strong and healthy hair growth, while also showing signs of helping to reduce the DHT hormone.
You may notice thicker and stronger hair after using shampoo that contains caffeine, which could give you the illusion that caffeine is helping with hair loss, however it is not doing anything to help the root cause of hair loss. If your hair is thin to begin with and suddenly the shampoo you’re using helps to thicken up your strands of hair, it may seem that it is reversing your hair loss, but in fact it’s just causing the hair you already have to fill in the gaps a little bit more.
The bottom line is that caffeine has not been proven to help reduce hair loss in a real-world setting. The studies out there that claim that as fact have only been able to produce results in a lab setting and not on an actual human scalp.
And while there are some benefits of caffeine shampoos, reducing hair loss is not one of them. Still, caffeine as an ingredient in your shampoo will not hurt your hair. In reality, most of the ingredients in shampoos spend a limited amount of time on the scalp and then are quickly washed down the drain so there is little time for them to exert biologic effects on hair growth. In general, Dr. Krejci recommends using a shampoo that makes your hair feel good, smell good, and easy to groom so if you find one you like that contains caffeine or other ingredients that are touted to support hair growth, by all means, use it! She also reminds patients that shampoo doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.
If you have other questions about hair loss treatments or hair transplant procedures, please contact us at the Limmer Hair Transplant Center in San Antonio for a consultation.